Relationship Connection: What parenting advice should we follow?

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Question

My husband and I are the brand new parents of a little girl. Even though she’s an infant, we want to get a head start on understanding how to parent her as she grows up.

When I go online to search out parenting resources, I immediately get overwhelmed with all of the advice that is out there. Some parenting experts make it seem so complicated about all of the things we need to remember so we don’t damage our daughter’s self-esteem. We aren’t sure where to start or who to pay attention to.

We both come from divorced families and don’t completely agree with some of the ways we were parented in all of that mess. We want to do things differently with our daughter when it comes to parenting. Can you direct us to some good parenting resources?

Answer

First of all, I want to extend a heartfelt congratulation to you and your husband on becoming parents! This is such a special time as you welcome this little daughter into your lives. Even though her needs are basic right now, you’re wise to begin thinking about how you will guide her in the coming years.

As you mentioned, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the theories on how to raise children. Like fashion or home décor, there are also parenting trends that come and go. Some are harmless while other practices can actually create more problems between parents and children.

There are many voices seeking to influence how we direct our lives and the lives of our children. Everyone from your neighbor down the street to the latest best selling author have opinions on how you should raise your daughter. When faced with something as weighty as raising a child, we naturally long for direction and answers.

Even though I will suggest some helpful parenting resources at the end of my response, I first want to point you a simple principle that will help you decide what resources will be most helpful to your family.

Before you start sifting through parenting books and articles, make sure you and your husband discuss what kind of home environment you want to provide for your daughter based on your most cherished values. Formally sit down together and identify the values that are important to you.

For example, you may feel strongly that you want to teach your children responsibility. Or, perhaps you want them to care for others. Each parenting approach is based on certain values. Make sure they align with the values you want to impart in your home.

There are some approaches that use power and manipulation to get children to comply. Others are based on compassion and respect. As you search carefully through different books and articles, see if you can identify the specific value system from which they’re operating.

Please recognize there are lots of wonderful ways to structure your family and guide your daughter. Don’t believe for one minute that there is one right way to raise your daughter. She is an individual with specific gifts, a unique temperament, a personality, and other distinguishing features that will help you determine how you will help her navigate the world.

You don’t need to fret today about knowing how you will guide her as a preschooler or a teenager. Those answers will come as you need them. Trust that your values will help you identify resources and answers that will help you give your daughter the guidance perfectly designed for her life. Dr. Brene Brown reminded us that “children are wired for struggle”, so we don’t need to live in fear of making mistakes. As long as you are conscientious and seeking answers for how to direct her life, these mistakes will be repaired and help all of you grow and progress.

Here are just a few parenting resources that have helped our family over the years:

  • “Between Parent and Child” – Haim Ginott, Alice Ginott, and H. Wallace Goddard
  • “The Child Whisperer” – Carol Tuttle
  • “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, How to Listen so Kids Will Talk” – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • “Siblings Without Rivalry” – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child – John M. Gottman

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer  

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Hataalii March 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Geoff left out some important points here.
    1, Above all else, use common sense.
    2, Above all else, use common sense.
    3, Above all else, use common sense.
    4, Used discipline appropriately, and with love, using common sense.

  • Sapphire March 29, 2017 at 11:49 am

    There is no perfect answer. Children are different and will respond differently to your parenting techniques. That is why you can have many children, raise them all the same way and have vastly different outcomes. Just love them, teach them how and why instead of making demands, let them be children instead of miniature adults, do things with them instead of ordering them aroound, and follow through with consequences or they will not respect you. The best info I ever came across with all the books I read were books that tell ages and stages so you know what to expect and can be prepared to deal with their childhood situations appropriately. Being taken by surprise causes much of parental reactions that aren’t helpful or humane.

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