Approaching Parenting Differently!
Do you sometimes feel challenged in your attempts to be a more peaceful parent in a society that’s less than compassionate towards the differences and struggles of parents and children? Many parents are surprised about the tensions that arise amongst friends and family when they choose to parent in ways that differ from the norm. Have you sometimes felt harshly judged for your choice to be patient and supportive at a time when your child expressed their raw feelings? Did you often hide your exhaustion for fear of being judged to be your own worst enemy for not sleep training your baby? These are issues that many parents face, myself included.
I look at parenting a little differently than a lot of people in my social circle – and have come up with my not so conventional way of parenting. Before I dive in, I want to address some comments I’ve received on parenting posts I’ve made in the past. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert nor do I think I’m a PERFECT parent, in fact something you may not know about me is I’m incredible critical of myself as a mom! I constantly re evaluate the choices I make and try and determine where I can improve, monthly, weekly and sometimes daily! And that’s what I tell anyone who comes to me with parenting questions, it’s all about doing things and being contagious of what your doing and why your doing it that’s what truly matters.
Here are 3 common things I do differently.
I don’t ignore my son for fussing for attention. A lot of parents believe when your child fusses for attention you should ignore them. I disagree. I evaluate why, am I not giving him enough attention today? Is me sending off a few emails while we’re playing on the floor upsetting him. I don’t consider wanting attention, crying for no reason and to me it’s just as important as him crying for food, sleep etc.
Taking away the pacifier! Months before Kareem was even 12 months old the comments began about how I should nip the dependency of the pacifier in the butt. Even my husband wanted to give it a try and I strongly disagreed. I don’t know where the notion that babies need to be independent came from but I definitely disagree and despite a lot of comments and warnings from friends, family and strangers I never took it away… As I thought at 18 months he naturally decided he didn’t need it anymore. A few nights I would give him his pacifier and he would toss it across the room, roll over and go to sleep without it and that was that! I never had to take it away!
Sleep Training! This is tough because I do feel every family needs to do what works for them but I could never get on board with sleep training or letting him cry it out. I always say I’ll never make my child do something I wouldn’t want to do myself. I can’t even imagine being forced to sleep at the same time every nap and night even if I wasn’t tired or being forced to stay awake because I was tired before the proper ‘nap time’! Luckily Kareem has found his own routine but some nights he won’t be tired at his regular time and will stay up playing or he’ll be extra tired and I’ll put him to bed early. Most people are shocked by the fact I don’t enforce a strict bedtime but it’s funny how sometimes we except more structure from toddlers than we as adults implement for our own lives.