5 Parenting Myths That Increase Stress and Decrease Performance
Myth #1 – Parenting is natural.
Actually becoming a parent is usually a natural act, our bodies are made to do this task and unless there is something interfering with that happening, we can become pregnant without knowing anything about the process. Parenting, however, is not natural but a learned ability that can be wonderful and baffling at the same time. The areas we need to grow in will be unique to each of us making this experience different from everyone else. If we believe parenting is natural, it becomes very hard to understand why we are so challenged by it.
Myth #2 – I am the only person who struggles with parenting.
This is a myth that is so wide spread and fully believed that it can be challenging to find people who will openly talk about it. Nobody wants to admit they are struggling with a task that has been done for eons—in some cases by people with an obvious lack of skills and ability. It often looks easy from the outside which can make us think no one else is struggling like we are. Everyone who cares about being a parent will struggle with some aspect of parenting. This job is all about growth and growth always requires adjustment and learning. The majority of parents will admit (sometimes only in private) that there are some pieces of parenting they just don’t know how to handle.
Myth #3 – Once a parenting tool is learned it will work effectively for many years and with every child.
It would be wonderful if this was the case, but unfortunately our parenting pack needs to grow with our kids and our own personal development. Barbara Coloroso says “A tool known is a tool blown,” meaning that once our kids figure out how or why a tool works it actually loses its effectiveness. When our kids present us with a challenging behaviour we typically try the tools we already know to see if one of them will work effectively with the situation. If it does, we use it a few times until either the child stops the behaviour (an effective tool will always result in a positive change, although it can take a few tries as our child checks for consistency) or the tool stops working. When the tool “wears out” many parents will simply increase the threat level that comes with this used up tool rather than switch to a new one.
Being a parent requires us to have many different tools in our parenting pack so we can use different tools with different kids and in different situations.
Myth #4 – If a parenting tool is any good it will work right away and feel comfortable right from the start.
Developing a new skill—no matter how simple it might seem—will always be hard for us to do. Change is never easy and learning new skills takes practice. As with any personal development that we do, newly acquired parenting skills and strategies will feel awkward for the first while. To make matters even worse this new skill goes from feeling awkward to feeling fake, before it moves on to a level of comfort. The results might still be positive…it’s just the feeling we have when we try something new that makes it feel strange. As a result, most new tools are discarded—not because they didn’t work, but because they feel awkward to use.
Myth #5 – Once a challenging behaviour has been corrected it will be smooth sailing for the rest of our parenting experience.
Since parenting is really all about personal development—and there seems to be no end to that in our lifetime—we should know that our kids will always present us with something new to deal with. This isn’t because they are bad people or because we are lacking as a parent, but more because growth, in the parenting experience, is constant. As our kids mature their needs change and so do the challenges.
This concept applies to far more than physical growth as our kids test us in areas of respect, communication skills, personal boundaries, etc,. The result—parents are left wondering if these challenging behaviours will ever end and perhaps even questioning their ability to parent.
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