There is no exact recipe to parenting. If anyone claims otherwise, is already missing the mark. Even the drive to get it right, to be the perfect parent, can and most likely will mess things up royally.
Parenting is messy. Parenting is fluid. Kids change and evolve. And that is good.
God planted in us the ability and intuition to be good enough parents. And He put in every kid the ability to grow, the intrinsic desire to learn, to discover, to be curious.
When Jackie was 3, with a little practice, a little support and clarification, this nugget of wisdom made sense and was easy: “Respond to the needs of your child whenever possible. And when necessary, take control.”
For a while there, we all grew at a similar pace, we trusted each other, we listened and we connected. I read to further and broaden the understanding of my ever-evolving job as a parent, but kept relying on my God-given intuition.
I was pretty pleased with myself. Jackie asked me to not let her nap at school. So I responded to her request. It was fun and possible for a while, but then I started to lose myself …and my marbles. The days became hectic. But I kept doing it (to myself). I lost sight of what was necessary and couldn’t see clearly what I had to do, to change, in order to regain my balance.
After a burst of Spring energy, of no midday naps, of swimming or playing in the park right after lunch, Jackie slowed down. She would not admit her tiredness. But it’s my superpower, right and duty to read between the lines.
So I just informed her one weekend that the following week she will nap at school, along with her colleagues. She cried, she pleaded, she invoked bogus reasons not to nap. I calmly explained to her the decision, my need to work during the day, the benefits and the fact that we’ll go on Spring break in two weeks.
Taking control is so vague. I’m sure there will come a time when I won’t see clearly on different matters. One thing is certain: taking control is going against the grain. It will encounter resistance. It will be the unpopular decision, conversation, direction. But somehow, as I stepped out in faith, even after the first step, I knew I was doing the right thing.
Needless to say, this past week she slept well at school. For a little while we regained routine, her much needed rest, a predictable and simpler schedule.
Respond to the needs of your child whenever possible. And when necessary, take control.