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Joyful Musings--a weekly blog

Joyful Parenting Coaching is focused on clarity, consistency, connection, being an effective parent, finding balance as a parent, and above all being a confident and joyous parent. Topics include communication, having difficult conversations, having constructive conversations, chores, routines, family meetings, 

Confidence is Key

Elisabeth Stitt

In 2012 Pamela Druckerman wrote Bringing Up Bebé about her experience of observing the differences between French and American parents.  In 2013 Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us, offered an even wider view of different parenting approaches.  The take away from both books is that there are lots of different ways to parent—and they all have their benefits.  Thousands of students passing through my classroom over the years certainly confirmed my experience that there is a very wide range of  “doing parenting right.” 
 
I didn’t always feel that way.  I had some pretty fixed ideas about what were good parenting techniques.  In fact, in the 9th grade I even wrote a paper called “Effective Parenting.”   Don’t get me wrong.  It was researched.  I didn’t just write the paper out of my head, but I cringe when I imagine how sanctimonious I must have sounded
 
Well, the last laugh was not mine.  Growing up in India someone made my husband’s lunch for him every day of his school career, and yet, when he came to Stanford for graduate school, he had no trouble looking after himself.  With that as his experience, he rolls his eyes at me when I enforce my motto, “Never do for a child what he can do for himself.”  So who’s right?  We both are.  Children benefit from loving attention and care.  Attentive service to a child does not have to mean the child will be a spoiled brat.  In fact, just the opposite.  I’m convinced that one of the reasons my husband is so generous is that he has always trusted that he will be taken care of, that everyone’s needs will be met.  On the other hand, I firmly believe that it is human nature to want control—and one way to give children control is to make them responsible for themselves.  
 
Okay, the research is clear that there are pretty wide parameters when it comes to parenting.  Where does that leave us hand-wringing, anxious Americans?  Believe it or not, I have an opinion about that!  Teacher, mother, stepmother.  Each of these roles has reinforced my belief that the one key ingredient to good parenting is confidence.  If you can transmit absolute, calm confidence in whatever you allow or ask of your child, you will be providing the security that is essential.  For some families that might mean being absolutely certain that bedtime is at 7:00 so that the parents have time to reconnect.  For other families that might mean knowing that children who fall asleep in their parents’ arms no matter how late, fall asleep knowing they are a part of the family.
 
The short take away? Do what works for your family, and it will be right!