One of the things that I think is really important, and also really challenging at times, is to listen to and trust what we know to be true for us, our children and our families. As we navigate a lot of unknowns in parenting it can feel reassuring to do what someone tells us is best. Those “someones” can be experts in their field or other parents who experience similar unknowns, differences or challenges. While reassuring, sometimes it results in us pressing the “override button” even though something doesn’t feel right or best for our particular situation.
Pressing the override button in parenting could look like doing a therapy that deep down doesn’t feel like it takes your child into consideration but is more of a strategic system or program.
It could look like keeping your child at a school that you know isn’t a good fit but you keep telling yourself that it’ll be fine and they need to learn how to adapt.
There might be a caregiver that you are employing that isn’t seeming to listen to what you are telling them that works for your child but you feel guilty letting them go.
Parenting isn’t always easy and the path isn’t always clear. We may press the override button because we are tired or because there aren’t other options and we want them to learn and grow. We may press the override button because we are people pleasers and don’t want to offend, hurt or dismiss what someone else shares with us. We may press the override button because someone is an expert and feel that they know best so we should listen to them.
To this all I say… We know our children best. We are the experts of our children. We are their team leaders.
With these things in mind, we can absolutely consult the advice of experts and other parents who are on similar parenting journeys AND filter that advice with what we know about our children. We can take that into consideration when we are making choices about services, schools and caregivers.
If you relate to pressing the override button, you are not alone! What can be helpful is to become aware of times when you did this and to get curious about why you did it. For me personally, it was about people pleasing and also assuming the experts knew best. I wanted people to like me and I wanted to look like a good mom. Ironically, neither of these resulted in something that helped my child or our family.
Noticing when I want to press it and pausing to get clear about my intention and motivation (my what and my why) for decisions I make help me to feel empowered and clear. They also end up being in alignment with who my child is in the present moment and what is going to support him in the best possible way. I don’t know about you but for me, that far outweighs any benefit I may receive from getting approval from others.