Sometimes, as a parent, it’s very easy to convince ourselves that we are always right and everyone else is wrong. We see this played out regularly on social media when opinions differ, and fireworks start to fly because no one is willing to even try and understand something from another person’s perspective that they have already made up their mind about. But the danger in this way of thinking, especially when it comes to our parenting, is that we can easily become self-deceived by closing ourselves off to the valid input and opinions of others.
A person who is striving to grow will always be a person who is striving to learn, and this especially applies to parents. And learning and growth rarely happen in isolated bubbles. There are people around you who have been there and done that, and others who are currently experiencing success in their own parenting. (This is part of why All Pro Dad exists, and why you are reading this, right?) So, are you willing to learn? Are you open to the wisdom and input of others in your life and parenting? Here are 3 practical steps to never stop growing as a parent:
Seek out input and advice from others. This might be through asking a fellow parent for advice, seeking out a mentor who’s already raised their children, or even something as simple as attending a local parenting class or buying a recommended parenting book. Becoming better as a person, and specifically, a better parent starts with a willingness to ask for help and intentionally look for opportunities for growth. Personally, I’m regularly reading parenting content, and asking seasoned parents what they’ve done right, and what they would do differently if they had a second chance. And I find that it all fosters continued growth.
2. ListenDon’t ask for advice that you’re not willing to listen to and at least be willing to consider.
Once you’ve asked, be willing to just listen without defensiveness to what others observe and suggest in your parenting. The principle is simple – don’t ask for advice that you’re not willing to listen to and at least be willing to consider. So when you hear hard truths that are tough to swallow, learn to swallow your pride and take them like a mature adult who is willing to make needed course corrections to get to their final destination. When you read an article or attend a class and get some great advice, you can either tune out the wisdom you receive, or you can dial up your parenting game. Your choice.
Once you’ve been willing to ask for help and listen to the shared advice, then comes the fun part. You’ve got to evaluate the things that you’ve heard and apply the advice you’ve been given accordingly. And may I tell you that all parenting advice is not created equal. So don’t just incorporate something into your parenting without making sure it lines up with your personal values, as well as your individual child’s needs. In Proverbs, often referred to as the book of wisdom, Solomon said that “in the multitude of counselors there is safety”. When you receive parenting advice, always try to take at least one practical thing from what you’ve heard that you can apply. I’ve personally found that this has proven to be a helpful rule to follow.
So, are you open to the possibility of being wrong, and willing to become better for the sake of your children?
Sound off: When was the last time you admitted you were wrong?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “If you were me, what is one situation you would have handled differently?”