June 09, 2016
Filed In: Fatherhood
There are certain experiences that are universal to all parents. Children, regardless of culture and environment, all act in generally the same manner. They all follow the same mental growth curve and have the same milestones. Raking things towards themselves turns into a pincher grasp. Crawling turns into unstable standing. Babbles turn into words, which turn into sentences. As children follow this invisible curve, parents follow their own growth curve. We develop strong feelings of protection, strong opinions on proper parenting, and eventually, feelings of inadequacy.
Just as we anthropomorphize our pets, we begin to place emotions on our children. We assume that they have complex and layered needs that we are incapable of meeting. Oddly, these feelings aren’t dismissed when a temper tantrum is soothed with something as simple as water or a graham cracker. Children largely have only one or two desires in any given moment. Those desires likely include a particular food combined with a particular activity. Simple. It’s we as parents that make things complicated.
Feelings of inadequacy are often just that, feelings. They may be an internal warning that you need to step up your parenting game, but guilt associated with parenting is usually blown out of proportion. So long as you’re meeting your child’s basic needs and introducing them to the world around them, you’re doing enough.
Dwelling on these feelings can affect your parenting. When you start to feel inadequate, here’s my advice: go into the room where your kids are playing, and play with them. Problem solved.