If you’ve got children or worked with children in pretty much any arena then this may be a familiar thought.
Whilst it might seem like you’re the only parent guessing your way through family life and wondering what on earth you’re doing let me bust that myth – particularly the one that everyone else has it sorted. The reality is no matter how many children you have, what training or education you have as parents we are all “winging it” to one degree or another.
You can be a doctor, a psychiatrist, a counsellor, a coach, a teacher or any other form of expert with children, but when it comes to your own children there’s no guarantee that this means a smooth ride because your children have their own minds and personalities. You certainly can’t control all the factors that might influence them and if you tried to how would that equip them for life!
It’s the most beautiful thing that each child is unique. That individuality can also make it pretty challenging at times as the best approach for one child isn’t necessarily for another and most of it you’re learning along the way with the emotional stakes being pretty high.
So if we’re all “winging it”, is the end result in the lap of the gods?
Of the many things we may do with our lives being a parent to someone is one of the things that REALLY makes a difference. Whilst we may have to accept that there’s no formula to offer a smooth ride from birth to adulthood, there’s also a huge difference between approaching the challenges of parenthood as a complete stab in the dark, or finding ways to be positively equipped, growing our confidence, handing things well and enjoying the adventure.
How do we do this? I’d start with 3 steps:
1. Pause and notice.
It’s too easy to rush through family life without taking time to pause and notice what’s going on and miss the cues that our children are offering us.
2. Equip yourself
There’s some great books, talks and resources out there on how to raise children (there are some shockers too). Be discerning in what you choose, but take advantage of what great knowledge and information we have available in this age.
3. Connect with others
When we have support and encouragement from others, places where we can reflect honestly and be real about the challenges we are no longer facing the challenges alone.
We may always be “winging it” to one degree but let’s do our best to ensure that we “wing it well”!
Come and join other parents seeking to support each other in “winging it well” at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThinkingSpace/