Parenting is a process that constantly evolves and changes. Yet somewhere along the way, parents received a memo that you must constantly be “doing” to parent well. If something is going wrong, parents assume they’re not doing enough. I’m happy to report that parents are amenable to the idea that we can do less. This indicates that parenting is heading in a healthier direction in 2023.
As we begin a new year, here are four parenting trends and healthy habits I hope all parents adopt.
Allow kids to be kids
We often place demands on our kids without realizing they are unrealistic. The good news is that parents are taking time to explore what their children need.
Instead of scheduling every minute of our kid’s day, we’re leaving room for open-ended play. We recognize the benefit of allowing our children to explore, ask questions, problem-solve and remain curious. Kids need space to be kids. Rigid schedules and step-by-step directions do not give kids the room to thrive and grow.
In short, allow your kids to make a mess. When it’s all said and done, make sure to smile because this, too, shall pass.
Say goodbye to over-parenting
Parents see the value in pulling back and observing their children as they take in the world. Instead of constantly talking and narrating, observe and witness how they work through a problem. Parents often assume they need to have all the answers or solve every problem.
When your kids come to you with a question, try answering with a question. For example, if a child asks, “where are my shoes?” you can respond by saying, “I’m not sure. Where did you see them last?” Exercising restraint while observing your child work through a challenge will help your kids become more self-reliant and independent.
Parenting will be simplified
Parents are considering a simpler approach to parenting. This means in moments when you think the answer is more, you instead consider where you could do less. As we move out of the pandemic, I see parents asking, “What do we really need?” There is value in asking ourselves this question frequently. It’s easy to assume we need to keep going or doing more. But in many instances, scaling back can be beneficial.
We’re consuming fewer toys and adopting manageable schedules. Parents are also practicing discernment with their commitments and only saying yes to things that truly matter. We’re learning how to add value to our family life by subtracting the extras.
Letting go of shoulds, supposed-tos and have-tos
For so long, parents have been policing themselves and others about the right or wrong way to parent. We adopt our definition of being a good parent and what that should look like. The minute our lives fall short of this ideal, we struggle to understand where we went wrong. Mothers, primarily, assume they need to do more and blame themselves when a challenge arises. Letting go of unrealistic expectations and constant comparisons will liberate parents.
Take the time to reflect and consider what your kids need but not at the detriment of your evolution or self-growth.
As we continue to evolve ourselves, parenting will be an ever-changing process. Instead of seeing it as a one-way road map that leads to one positive outcome, stay open and lean into new ideas and possibilities.
I hope that in 2023 parents exercise compassion and kindness toward themselves while finding creative ways to build deeper connections with their kids, and more importantly, themselves. May 2023 usher in a calmer and more forgiving parent who remembers it’s OK to break the rules every once in a while.
Albiona Rakipi is a parenting coach known for helping parents reframe their daily challenges and discover accessible solutions. She hosts the podcast “The Parenting Reframe.”
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