Sometimes it’s hard to ask for parenting advice. As moms and dads, it’s humbling to admit that we don’t’ have all the answers. But the honest truth is that parents have a huge learning handicap; there’s really no way to properly prepare for all the challenges that parenting throws at you.
Our kids, after all, do not come with instruction manuals, so much of parenting is left to trial and error. And to a certain degree, that is healthy and normal for parents because as moms and dads are stretched, they are also growing up.
But every parent needs to know that it’s okay to ask for help. Admitting you need some guidance does not indicate that you are a weak parent. It does not mean that you are a failure when everyone around you “seems” to be doing fine. Notice I put quotation marks around seems because let’s be real: everyone is not always doing “fine.” That’s just all they are choosing to share with the world.
If you are wondering “When should I ask for help?” and “Who should I ask?”, here are some scenarios that would definitely merit some extra attention in the form of getting parenting advice.
You feel yourself losing your cool often. Do you often let your child’s emotional responses dictate your response? Perhaps you find yourself yelling at the kids frequently or feeling anger at your child way too often. Much of the success of parenting lies in the ability of parents to control their own behavior. If you struggle with this, please get some guidance, some tools to use to help.
You struggle to connect with your teen. Do you struggle to communicate with your teen? Conversations are not happening and when they do, they are either one-sided or they escalate into conflict. There are tools you can use as a parent to make that communication healthier.
You feel you are parenting in the dark, unsure of how to proceed. Every parent faces situations where they truly do not know what to do–What step do I take? How should I react? What does my child need to hear? This may not happen often, but when it does, do not hesitate to get some guidance. Even the best parents run into challenges that they have no answers for.
You have little to give to your child. Do feel drained and worn out, with not much in your emotional tank to give to your child? You DO NOT have to be super mom or super dad. Parenting is hard work and sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is get support to empower you. Don’t be afraid to focus on your own emotional needs regularly.
Your child is not responding to you. Perhaps they are not listening or obeying. Perhaps they seem to listen only after you’ve repeated yourself 10 times. If threats or bribes are your only recourse, it’s time for some new parenting tools.
Your child’s behavior changes abruptly. Sudden changes in grades, friends, eating habits, even screen time can indicate that something deeper is going on in your child. Stay in tune with them emotionally to be sure that your child’s mental health is good.
Where to Turn for Parenting Advice
It’s safe to assume that many parents turn to the internet for their parenting help, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But be sure that you choose someone with a track record, someone who’s experienced and trained, and not just someone who is out to get your money.
Other than that, here are some places to seek parenting advice:
- The obvious place to start is with your parents, or other older relatives who have exhibited solid parenting skills.
- Coaches, teachers, youth pastors, pastors.
- Counselors or Therapists (Be sure to get a good referral on this one and don’t be afraid to shop around. Not every therapist or counselor is a good fit.)
- Mentors in your life.
- Parenting Coach. Of course, I have to mention this since that’s what I do! But seriously, there are several of us out there that can offer strategic guidance to help you deal with problems in your family.
- Parenting classes. Churches, community centers, and even government agencies may offer this resource.
As you seek help, ask these questions: Does this person take their time with me? Do they listen and seek to understand ALOT before they dispense advice? Do they seem more concerned with selling me a service or with truly helping me? Do they have testimonials or references from past clients? When I get to know them as a person, does their life back up what they are saying to me?
When I seek for advice or help in any scenario, I am looking for people who walk the talk, who have lived the life I’m struggling with, and who are not just dispensing advice because they are knowledgeable an “expert” in their field. In my humble observations, experience is often more valuable than expertise. Of course, those two together make a powerful combination.
Proactive Parenting Advice
Let me close with this one thought: parenting is much less stressful if you choose to be proactive, rather than reactive. Even if you think you do not need advice now, I can guarantee you that challenges will come your way at some point in the future. Get the tools in place NOW that will help you be ready to face the difficulties before they happen.
Let’s be real: parenting can be overwhelming. Especially when you see all the seemingly “perfect” parents on social media. Don’t believe it. Everyone struggles. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re overwhelmed because you’re not alone. You can feel more confident in your parenting skills today. Get the tools every parent needs – The Parenting Tool Belt! Click here to learn more.