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The Push and Pull of Parenting

Every stage of raising children comes with its own challenges. From those bleary-eyed early days when you are so vulnerable to internet adds selling the next magical fix for infant sleep, to trying to divert the surging passion of a toddler meltdown. This month, I have often found myself struggling to find a balance between when to push my older children to face challenges and when to back off. Hopefully the advice that is helping me will also resonate with some of you. Finding the balance of how to support our children is an art that we are all learning as we go. We all know some hard and fast rules that can feel hard to enforce in the moment, but that we don’t question. We aren’t going to skip the carseat for infants or toddlers, even though I can recall sheepishly turning to other drivers in traffic certain they were hearing my baby crying away in the back seat. We also aren’t going to allow our children to eat candy for every meal even though eating a variety of healthy foods may feel harder at times. Other decisions may not feel as straight forward. Maybe eating foods that feel safer but aren’t quite as balanced is something to give on tonight in order to get through dinner and have time to connect and explore big feelings before bedtime? Maybe navigating friendships is feeling really hard, and an extra hour of studying takes less priority than a playdate this week in order to build confidence in the peer arena? Sometimes it is totally appropriate to back off, but it is also part of our jobs to push our children at times into spaces at the edge of their comfort zone in order for them to build confidence and grow. Although you might not be up for hours of the night at this stage of parenting, the mental fatigue can be just as taxing. Ultimately, taking time to reflect before making decisions and trusting your instincts can help. We are always here if you need advice about answering tougher questions about how to support your child or have concerns!

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