I am in a few moms’ group on FB and I see Moms asking for parenting advice in the form of what should I do or what would you do in X situation.
I am not a fan of asking this at all.
Here is a question that I saw asked just today-
At what age would you send your child to a 6 day summer camp (overnights)?
Seems innocuous right?
She wants to know so she asks right?
You might be thinking Lisa-what is your problem with this?
The problem with asking is….
1. Asking others for their input perpetuates our lack of confidence in our parenting.
2. Asking others takes us away from strengthening our internal compass (we are asking others what they would do and most of these people we barely know)
3. When we ask questions like this, we get any and all answers.
One woman wrote “I wouldn’t send my kids until they are 18”. Maybe she is a helicopter parent and doesn’t let her kids out of her sight (no judgement from me) but let’s say you are trying to raise independent, outdoorsy kids who love adventure. Well then her opinion isn’t one you want in your head is it?
And now you have all these gremlins running around in your head. And you are more confused than ever. Or maybe you got the answer you were looking for (external compass) and feel justified in telling your 12 year old daughter that she is going. That the decision is made and she is going. But you can’t articulate why you want her to go and without knowing it you are teaching her to rely on her external compass.
See where I am coming from?
So here are my top 3 Questions I do think we should ask OURSELVES when we aren’t sure what to do!
1. Why am I interested in X? (in this case sending my kid to summer camp)
Maybe you alway wanted to but never got to go to sleep away camp
Maybe your child really wants to go
Maybe you and your sister, who live away from each other, want your kids to go together and share time and this experience
Maybe you need a break and this sounds like a fun way to give both you and your child an extended break. Nothing wrong with owning this-I am a big believe in self-care!
Maybe you would like your child to put her phone away, get out of her box, make some new friends, broaden her horizons and try some new things.
2. What do I want to accomplish with X?
Become better at X (singing, sports, art, acting, archery, boy scouts, leadership)
A break from “regular”life
Learn independence-getting around on their own, taking care of themselves, hygiene (is there hygiene at camp:)
You loved the experience of sleep away camp and want your child to have the same experience
3. How does this fit into our family values?
You value experiences over things
You value adventure
You value the outdoors
You value trying new things
You value a break from each other and a chance to restore
So in summary you are looking WITHIN for what feels right for you and your family based on your family values and interests.
It is really that simple to get still and quiet and –
Check in with yourself and make sure you clear about your motives and goals Understand how the decision supports your family values
If you do want input from others, I recommend asking only after you can answer these questions and only ask those that seem like minded to your family values.