parenting expectations vs reality- getting honest about what's really going on with your kids

Maybe, you planned for your baby. You had it all figured out. You had the perfect furniture for the nursery. You felt supported by all your family and friends. Everything was going to be perfect. Or, maybe you didn’t plan for your baby. You had no idea how you were going to get through it.

Either way, after you had the baby you know things don’t always go as planned. You may have had many sleepless night. Maybe, your spouse wasn’t as supportive as you had expected. It took you longer than expected to recover from the pregnancy.

The best you thing you can do at this point, is let go of control. Learn to embrace the chaos. Your life has changed, drastically. Things usually have a way of working out. Try to go with the flow.

Here are 5 myths about parenting:

  1. You should let your baby cry it out. The truth is you can’t spoil a newborn. When they are born, their vision isn’t very well developed. They get used to your scent and your touch. It’s important that your baby knows you are there for them. They know this when you are holding your baby. I know this can affect your sleep, but it will make a world of difference in the future. Especially with how they attach to others. When your baby knows you are there for them, they trust you. This will help them develop trusting relationships as an adult.
  2. Women should always look beautiful. Supermodels with young children look beautiful all the time. The truth of the matter is the rest of us don’t. This doesn’t mean you can’t make time for yourself. Don’t put your hygiene last. But, give up the expectation that every hair must be in place and that your makeup must always look perfect. If you’re worried your husband will not love you, if you aren’t beautiful all the time. Then, you may be obsessed with how you look. If he really loves you, it’ll be alright. Take it one day at a time. You don’t have to lose the few extra pounds you gained overnight. They will eventually come off. Remember, you will never look like you did when you were 16. That’s alright, we all change. Hopefully, for the better.
  3. Bribing your child is always a bad idea. Overall, bribing isn’t the best idea. It can send the wrong message. It can also lose its effectiveness quickly. But, don’t underestimate it. If you are having friends over and you need your child to behave. It’s alright to promise them pizza for dinner. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do.
  4. “The terrible twos.” This can start around 18 months and last up to 30 months. It’s important to take a look at your mindset. By now you have probably rearranged the house, so your child won’t accidentally break something or get hurt. That was something that you prepared for. It’s the same way when your child turns two. It will be much better if you are prepared for it. It’s important that your child establish his/her own identity. Your child will naturally want to separate from you, but will still NEED you. It’s important to encourage your child to separate, and it’s also alright to set boundaries. I find when you are gentle, the child will feel more valued and loved. This is important in developing their self worth. As an adult they will feel more confident.
  5. The parent is always right. If you were raised this way, then I’m sorry. You may think that because you were raised that way, it’s alright to raise your child that way. You can’t always be right. And, you can’t always catch your child doing something wrong and punish them. You will eventually have to give in. You will feel much better in the long run, if you do. This doesn’t mean your child can do whatever they want. You can still set boundaries. As your child gets older, learn to accept influence from them. So what, if they stayed up an hour past their bedtime. You don’t have to go to war over it.

Truth be told, parenting isn’t always easy. But, with a lot of hard work you will raise a wonderful child. What’s most important is that your child knows that you love them, unconditionally. Be careful with your words. The wrong ones can sting.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, located in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many new parents bring a child into the world, with love and happiness. For more information, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.

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