Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinitely learning
There's a popular parenting myth that I run into often.
It says that in order to be a good parent you need to stick to your guns. That's right--pick your stance and stand your ground.
Don't give in because then they will win; and if they win that means you've lost. And since you're the parent you must never lose.
"They" being your children, of course. And you, in that process of trying to win, you might accidentally put them in the role of the loser and...wait, what were we trying to do again?
Turns out parents are human--just like everyone else and if we use the "stick to your guns" technique across the board we're missing a lot of opportunities to teach our children what it means to be a person.
A person who makes mistakes, changes their mind and is willing to rethink a decision. A person who is humble enough to make the first move and creative enough to think outside the box of black and white, winner and loser.
There are perfectly appropriate times to stand our ground, but it's helpful to make a habit of mindfully checking in about why we're standing our ground. Because if we're doing it just because we should--because we're afraid that if we don't then they'll win--maybe it's worth reframing the situation.
Letting go of the battle mentality doesn't mean you are a pushover parent. Standing firm, while staying compassionate and open is part of the art of parenting. It takes practice, but it is possible.
When I find myself in a stalemate with my child I find that if I ease off and reframe the situation it creates a little wiggle room that brings relief. When there are times where I must insist on something, for safety for example, I try very hard to let go of the "battle" imagery that lives in my parenting DNA.
I don't want to "win," because that makes my child the loser--and really that's not what this whole parent/child relationship thing is about.
It's about taking care of each other and fostering a healthy relationship that supports growth and learning. It's not always easy to take a step back, but it models flexibility and humility. It's worth giving it our best try.
Unlike we've been told, there doesn't have to be a winner and a loser. We can just live and learn--together.
*Were you told you need to stand your ground to be a good parent? Do you think this is true?*
Hillary and her family of five seek to learn authentically while developing an entrepreneurial lifestyle. She writes about mindful family living, diy sustainability, and the new American dream on her blog, infinitely learning.