During a recent check-in with a colleague (hey, Rhiannon!), she brought up a way of approaching a new task that totally shifted my perspective. All you have to do is start by asking yourself if you need more knowledge, more skill, or a change of mindset. This resonated with me so deeply that I knew I couldn’t keep it just in my professional sphere and needed desperately to move this little mental test to my parenting as well. Now when I am thinking about my parenting and looking at an issue or something I want to work on or implement I ask my self what I am lacking! So simple, yet so effective.
Knowledge is the easiest to acquire when it comes to parenting. We live in an age where information is everywhere. A simple search can find us all the information we can handle and usually much more. Of course, the knowledge acquisition part comes after sifting through all of the information to find the applicable knowledge. I find it helpful to only read articles that fit with my parenting philosophy and not worry about all the rest. Parenting books are also a great way to gain knowledge. I remember how “How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way” by Tim Selden brought so much knowledge into my world when I was just beginning to discover Montessori. I also love “Simplicity Parenting” and “How to Talk so Kids will Listen & to Listen so Kids will Talk” for increasing my knowledge base and helping me shape my parenting philosophy. I also rely on my networks of fellow parents to provide me with knowledge from their own experiences.
If knowledge is the “what” then skill is the “how”. I am often the most aware of a skill deficiency in my parenting. I know I am not alone as one search of a parenting forum shows that many requests are asking for the “how”. An example might be, how do I get my kids to bed at a decent hour? The knowledge of the importance of sleep is there, but the skill (the implementation of the “how”)is lacking. We gain skill in parenting by trial and error, practice, and the modeling from other parents. The parents of a newborn may fumble with the first few diaper changes, but in a matter of weeks they will be able to change a diaper at 2am in the dark while half asleep. I love to observe other parents. I often take away some phrasing or trick when I observe a parenting moment thus gaining a bit more skill.
Now on to mindset, the most nebulous and the most important in my opinion. My parenting mindset is the “why”. The “why” I seek out the knowledge and skills that I think are best for my kids. The danger of negative or unaligned mindset is I tend to stray from my core beliefs and parenting philosophy, which is to
Build independence within defined boundaries while creating a joyful childhood.
When I approach my kids with a mindset that they can’t do something that they have never been given the chance to try or when I get lazy and boundaries go out the window, a reset of mindset is in order. Having the grounding statement above allows for me to know when my mindset is off.
I am so excited to implement this strategy until it becomes habit. I have the knowledge and mindset to make it happen, now I just need to practice to master the skill!
Where do you go when you want to increase your parenting knowledge? What skills have your picked up from other parents? Have you had a mindset shift lately? Please share your best resources in the comments or on the Whining is Closed Facebook page.