If you want your kids to turn out okay, this is important …
In recent articles, we talked about styles of parenting, and how they can differ. And we also talked about how children have different personalities and temperaments so they may require different parenting styles.
But there is one factor that has a big impact on your parenting and your relationship with your kids that has nothing to do with your children.
In fact, it’s all about you.
It’s what we call ‘parenting self-efficacy’, or how confident you feel about your abilities to raise your children. If you believe that you can have a positive impact on your children’s lives and that you have the skills to raise your kids well, then you have high ‘parenting self-efficacy’.
If you don’t feel confident about raising your kids and don’t feel you have the skills you need, you have low ‘parenting self-efficacy’.
This is important because research has shown that if you believe you’re capable of raising your kids well, it’s very likely that your children will turn out well.
Being confident in your parenting skills helps you engage and respond better to your kids, and manage all the stresses and challenges that come along. It also helps you to be positive around your kids, enjoy parenting more, and develop stronger relationships within your family.
Meanwhile, parents who aren’t so confident about their parenting are more likely to struggle with raising their kids and are more likely to experience stress and depression.
There appear to be a number of issues that impact on how confident we feel about our parenting. They include:
- Your own experiences as a child: Do you feel like you were raised well or not?
- The messages you receive from family, friends, and the wider society about what is a ‘good parent’: Do you feel like you fit the ‘good parent’ category or not?
- Your own experiences of being a parent: Have you found it more challenging than you thought?
- Your preparation for becoming a parent: Did you feel prepared before you had children?
Of course, I don’t know many parents who feel they were absolutely prepared for parenting, or who are never affected by people commenting about their parenting. I also don’t know many who don’t have any issues whatsoever with the way they were raised, or who haven’t been challenged by the very difficult task of raising their kids. It’s all about the balance of things.
Raising kids can be a rollercoaster ride. One day you might feel confident and completely across being a parent, and other days you might feel like a complete failure. This is all very normal.
So what can we do to increase our confidence?
- Acknowledge what you already do well: We can be so harsh on ourselves. Give yourself a break and think about what you do really well as a parent.
- Be imperfect: Know that our kids don’t need us to be perfect parents. We’re allowed to make mistakes.
- Learn about your kids: Having an understanding of children’s development can help us feel a lot more confident about raising our kids.
- Seek support: It’s very difficult to raise kids without some form of support. Family, friends, your partner and others in the community can all help.
- Love yourself: When we love ourselves, we have much more to offer our kids.
No one experiences raising kids as a walk in the park. We all have days we would rather forget, and moments where we don’t feel like we’re doing a good enough job.
But if you love your kids, and you’re committed to keeping on learning with your children, then you can feel confident that you’re doing exactly what you need to do.
Jodie Benveniste is a psychologist, parenting author and the founder of Parent Wellbeing. You can find more parenting inspiration at parentwellbeing.com.