Your Parenting Identity

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Repeat after me… I am not perfect. I am human. I am a good parent.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. On the same note, there is no such thing as a perfect child. When you are a new parent, it can be difficult to come to terms with this fact, and you may put a lot of pressure on yourself to do "everything right." But, what exactly does it mean for you to do “everything right?” Does it mean following every suggestion in the parenting books you read, or is it doing what your neighbor with the seemingly “perfect” kids does?

Although books and advice from others can be helpful, you have your own unique identity and voice as a parent, just like you do as an individual. You are the sum of your experiences. These experiences influence your values and strengths that will support you in being the best parent for your child.

Who are you as a parent? What are your values? How can you accept who you are and who your child is without comparing yourself to others? These are important questions to ask yourself in order to develop and build confidence in your parenting identity.

Unfortunately, moving forward as a confident parent can be difficult when you are held back by shame. This shame can be the product of many circumstances. It could be a result of negative feelings you have about your child or of yourself as a parent. It could be due to situations that you felt you could have handled better with your child. It could be from past experiences you personally had as a child. It could be from comparing yourself to other parents. It could be from feeling judged by others, etc.

In her award winning book, Shame Proof Parenting, licensed clinical social worker and parenting coach Mercedes Samudio encourages readers to take the following factors into consideration:

1) Empathy

Be gentle with yourself. Connect with yourself. Be open to the process of change and growth as a parent.

2) Awareness

Open your eyes to situations within your family that may need special attention and care.

3) Knowing your Needs

Make sure your basic needs are being met so that you can really be there for your children.

4) Confidence

Acknowledge and accept where you are strong and where you may need additional help and support.

5) Resilience

Know that you and your child are resilient and capable of overcoming life’s challenges.

6) Support

Seek support when you feel you need help managing parenting’s ups and downs.

Remember, there is no right or perfect way to parent, just like there is no right or perfect way to live life.

We are constantly growing and learning as humans just like we are constantly learning and growing as parents. Embrace your individuality and the individuality of your child. There is a reason YOU are your child’s parent and nobody else. YOU are what they need!

Bridget Benninger