Should we listen to parenting experts?

Posted by Samantha on December 15, 2011 in Courage, Guilt |

It’s a tricky business trying to help parents as a so-called ‘expert’ nowadays.

Every time I read a thread following some newspaper article on some topic like baby yoga classes or cot versus co-sleeping, I get distinctly uncomfortable with the idea that I might be more of a hindrance than a help.

Certainly there’s a lot of anti-parenting expert feeling out there and it’s not hard to understand why.

If we trigger people’s guilt or shame then we run the risk of inciting them to anger – or worse – when the intention was to inform or assist.

Of course, once we’re being respectful and even loving in our communication (rather than blaming or judgmental), then we are not to blame for triggering another person’s feelings.

I wanted to say out loud so to speak, what I’ve learned about the prickly feelings of guilt and shame that seem to plague so many parents.

  1. I have quite a lot of both.
  2. I have less of both today than previously.
  3. As soon as I blame another person for triggering my shame or guilt then I’m not learning what I could from it.
  4. Once I’m keeping my communication clean (trying my utmost to speak about myself and my feelings, or speak with a feeling of love and compassion) then I cannot be to blame for another person’s feelings of guilt or shame about what I write or say.

My intention is not to make anyone feel bad about their parenting.  It’s just been my experience that changing how I parent for the better has always been accompanied by a fair amount of painful feeling.

It’s been quite painful to come face to face with the ways in which I am less than perfect, with the ways in which I have actually hurt my children.

I wish there was a way around this but my experience shows me that there isn’t.

And so I offer every other parent out there my great hope.

My hope is that we may all find the courage to change, the courage to end our suffering by embracing our pain, the courage to forgive ourselves for the mistakes of our past, the courage to believe that we are worthy of love and acceptance, the courage to know that we are all – every last one of us – doing our best.

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