Posts Tagged ‘in-laws’

Authentic Parenting

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

authentic parentingIt probably goes without saying that the day you found out you were expecting, you started to get advice from every person you came into contact with along your family tree. Maybe you were even lucky enough to get advice from the lovely 84-year-old lady in the grocery store who commented on how large you were for where you were in your pregnancy.

That’s helpful right? No, not so much.

I remember some of the things my family started to chime in about when I was pregnant, and I remember thinking, “Did I ask for this advice and not realize it?”

Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s all said with the best of intentions, but for the most part, the advice I got wasn’t going to be used. I don’t think it’s as much that we were being stubborn as far as raising our daughter. I think it’s that we wanted to see our child grow up embracing who she is. We are not only her parents but her guides in her life journey.

Authentic parenting embraces what you and your partner value. I can still remember when my daughter was just a few days old, my husband and I took her for a stroll in downtown Saratoga Springs NY, near our home. I remember not telling my mom about this, because she would have been furious. She raised my sister and I in a totally different manner. Where she may have sheltered us, my husband and I did not do this with our daughter. She was out in the world very early, exposed to many different people, places and experiences. She was around animals from the day we brought her home from the hospital. At 6 weeks old, she was with us as we hiked in the Adirondack Mountains. These things made many people in my family, and some of my friends, cringe. But my husband and I valued these experiences, and we felt it was very important to show Adelynn our lifestyle and stay true to ourselves.

There’s a great quote by Deepak Chopra stating, “What other people think of you is not your business. If you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life.”

So many parents raise their children with a degree of satisfying someone else’s vision of the “right” way. But you know what? There is no RIGHT way. There is only what you are capable of, and you don’t want to spend your child’s life trying to raise them to someone else’s standards. This is the opposite of authenticity.

We are not all cut from the same cloth. People value different experiences in their lives. When you bring a child into the world, you are given a fresh new mind just looking to absorb experiences. If this rings true in your life, I would encourage you to do some self-exploration. Find out what it is that is important to you, as a parent. Be honest with yourself. We all have some residue from our families, and some things that they valued that just aren’t important to us. Rest assured, when your baby is having a baby, I would encourage them to practice authentic parenting as well!

Personally, I feel better about myself knowing that we aren’t holding back any of our values just to please the other people in our family who feel like we should do things the “right” way.

When she is older hopefully she’ll be able to see that her mom and dad were true to their beliefs and values, and she can pass her authenticity on to her children someday and continue the cycle.

Sarah van Rijsewijk is the owner of Natural Peace Life Coaching in Glens Falls. She is the mother of one daughter.