It’s just so hard sometimes to know what is the right thing to do for our little ones. As parents we try to do what’s right for our child, but sometimes despite our best efforts, it feels like we are just spitting in the wind. We take no decision lightly, from controversial topics like breast feeding, to vaccinations and schooling choices. If I have learned anything in these trial and errors is that there is no right answer. I have learned in my experience, that there is only one thing that can help us through it all, and that is being adaptable.
Our children look to us for the “right ” answers time and time again and we want to be able to give them to them. More importantly than being right, we can be honest, we can let our children know that it is okay to not know something. It is important to form our decisions around the appropriate information we have, and not just what someone else has told us and use our heads. If we don’t know, it shouldn’t be a shameful moment, but a moment to be proud that you are willing to admit just that, that you don’t know the answer.
The important lesson we can teach our children isn’t how to be wrong, but to be willing to change. There is no one prescription for every parent, nor is there one right answer for every child. As a parent it is vastly important to be able to adapt to new situations, try new things, and be prepared to fail if just for the happiness of yourself and your child. That might mean to try and fail many, many times, but being willing to fail again and again until you get it right is what makes the difference.
Frequently I will tell my daughter “I don’t know, and that’s okay.” We want to be able to comfort our children and give them every answer their heart desires but sometimes that isn’t realistic. When it comes to big topics like religion, politics, etc, sometimes it’s best to show them that the parents don’t always have all the answers. When my daughter asks me tricky questions I will usually prompt her with this: “Do you want to know the facts or would you like to know my opinion?” Based on what she says to that question I create my answer accordingly. Most times she would like to know both.
Sometimes I have the facts to share with her and other times the fact of the matter is that I just don’t know and have no information otherwise that I can share with her regarding the situation. My opinion, and she does know the difference between fact and opinion, varies greatly depending on the subject. Certainly as an adult we have our own opinion about lots of things, and our children do look to us for guidance. My goal however, is to create an independent thinker that is able to decide for herself what she believes. I let her know it’s okay to disagree with me as long as she is respectful, and to never just agree with someone just because an adult said it. I encourage her to follow her emotions, mind, common sense, and heart. I also think it’s important that she knows that it is okay to be wrong, or not know the answer to a question. “If you don’t know, you just haven’t learned it yet.” I’ll say. In fact, I’ve always thought it was exciting to not know the answer as it gives you the motivation to find the truth.
Truth is what really matters.