Are You An Amazing Parent? You May be Surprised to Find the Answer is Yes!Sep 13, 2023
Have you ever heard me start a social media reel or a podcast or vlog episode by saying, “Hello, Amazing Parents!” and wondered if you’re in the right place? Did you think to yourself, “What’s that about?” because you’ve never heard me talk about amazing parenting before (see What Does Amazing Parenting Look Like?). Or maybe you secretly thought to yourself, “Geez, I’m glad Dr. Lindsay didn’t hear how I spoke to my child this morning.” Don’t worry; you’re in the right place. You belong here. You are welcome here.
Amazing parenting is not the same as perfect parenting. Nobody is a perfect parent, and nobody should be expected to be perfect. What I do hope you strive for is doing the best you can with the resources you have, and if you don’t feel like you have all the resources you need to thrive as a parent, then you seek out more resources. You probably agree with that philosophy since you’re reading this right now.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll keep saying it: It is shocking to me that so few people begin their parenting journey with the necessary education and training to feel competent and confident as a parent. I was required to pass a written test and a road test before I was allowed to drive a car, yet I was handed a baby and allowed to take it home. Nobody asked if I felt competent caring for that child, tested me on important facts about developmental milestones, inquired about my parenting philosophy, or came to my home to be sure I was set up for success in caring for my baby. How wild is that! I am 100% in favor of parents seeking training and support to guide them on their parenting journey. I am so glad that you found me and that you trust me to help you navigate the challenging adventure called parenting.
Even the best parents have their ups and down and need support and advice from time to time. When I was thinking about writing this post, I was reminded of my dear group of friends from my final year of graduate school. There are 7 of us in total, all clinical psychologists, and between us, we have a surprisingly large number of 22 children. These ladies are all amazing parents. As proof of that, periodically, one of us will begin a text chain seeking advice, input, or reassurance. We all know that parenting is a journey with inevitable ups and downs along the way and that nobody can navigate it successfully alone.
I wish that parents didn’t feel so much pressure to do things “right” all on their own or find it so difficult to express when they’re stressed or frustrated and ask for help. Overall, I do feel like our culture is getting better at seeking advice, but there is still a palpable stigma around asking for parenting guidance. There shouldn’t be. How many of your parents actually sat you down and taught you how to be a good parent? Some of you with many siblings or much younger siblings may have had some experience raising young children (whether wanted to unwanted) by helping out with raising your siblings. Some of you may have extensive babysitting experience. But how many parents truly feel prepared to become parents and skilled as a parent from the very beginning? The number is very low, so why is there such a stigma around admitting you need parenting guidance?
I want to turn that stigma around for you today. Try this: Say to yourself, “Wouldn’t I be a bad parent if I didn’t try to improve my parenting skills? Shouldn’t everyone want to take a parenting course before having a child?” Free yourself from self-criticism and negative self-judgment. Embrace the idea of learning more about parenting and striving to feel more competent as a parent. Instead of turning off your screen when you worry someone will spot you reading parenting tips on Instagram, share those tips with your circle of friends. Chances are they are experiencing the same challenges and will appreciate the advice, as well as cherish your honesty and openness.
Guess what? If you can do that, you’re an amazing parent. Amazing parents in my book get intentional about their parenting. They actually take the time to think about how they parent their children; they set goals for themselves as parents; they are constantly problem-solving and being thoughtful about what strategies are working well with their kids and which might need some tweaking - or what is working well with one child but not with another. And when they feel like they don’t know how to solve a parenting problem, they seek guidance. They learn new skills, so they have more resources to work with.
Remember earlier when I said that what I do hope you strive for is doing the best you can with the resources you have? The more resources you have, the better you can feel about your parenting practice. Whether it’s reading my free parenting tips, downloading my free resources, taking one of my free bootcamps, or signing up for one of my masterclasses (link to Masterclasses page) or courses, I am here for you and want to equip you with a whole toolbox full of parenting tools you can use to master any parenting situation you encounter, feeling competent and confident.
Not everyone has a pool of psychologist moms to call on whenever parenting gets tricky. I’m so grateful to have that support system, and I hope to be a source of comfort for you in that way. What I’d encourage you to do this week is catch yourself when you’re having a tough parenting moment, and instead of letting any negative thoughts creep into your head, try giving yourself a pat on the back. Instead of being frustrated that you don’t know how to handle the situation, look at it as an opportunity to seek advice and learn new skills.
This type of thinking is called a growth mindset, a term coined by American psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck in the early 2000s. When you recognize that you have the potential to learn new skills and are willing to put a little work into that goal, you fundamentally change your perspective and open yourself up to growing as a parent. You learn to embrace parenting challenges as growth opportunities that will benefit both you and your child. You prime yourself for becoming an amazing parent. This is in contrast to a fixed mindset, where you are more inclined to think that your knowledge and skills are innate - something you either have or you don’t. You may, in turn, be less likely to challenge yourself due to fear of failure, and you may be less open to constructive feedback.
Shifting to using a growth mindset takes time. Show yourself some grace as you learn to shift your perspective into a growth mindset. Future posts will discuss how you can teach your children to use a growth mindset to help them overcome obstacles and build resilience. For now, think about the challenges you are currently facing in your parenting. Think about whether a shift in your perspective might help you to view them as solvable problems and help ease your worries while you search for the best solution. Think about whether you have the resources to solve those problems or whether you might need additional guidance.
Intentional parenting is part of the Check Yourself category in my 5 C’s parenting framework. To view more posts in this category, use the category search menu on the right of your screen. If you haven’t read my post called The 5 C’s to Amazing Parenting, definitely consider checking it out, as it introduces a classic psychology concept called social learning theory which is key to gathering information from your exposure to other parents to help you become more intentional in your parenting. Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!
P.S. To learn more about ways to continue your journey to becoming an amazing parent, please visit my Learn With Dr. Lindsay page. I look forward to educating and empowering your parenting practice.