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Getting a lot of unsolicited advice about how to parent? Or, is
the advice you're getting not sitting quite right with you? You're
not alone. Many new and veteran moms alike are frustrated by this
My best advice is to never ignore what your own 'gut' says about
a situation. We may be celebrating motherhood this month but
mother's intuition, that sense of simply 'knowing' what's needed,
is often dismissed entirely or written off as excessive worry or
You've spent more time with your child than others have, which
has primed you to be especially sensitive to his needs or to
changes afoot. In other words, this makes you the expert where your
child is concerned.
Imagine that! By no means should you completely ignore others'
observations, suggestions or wisdom, but you are the one who will
live with the consequences of your choices, not your pastor, your
mother, your child's coach or even your well-meaning friends who've
'been there and done that.'
While I'm on the subject, can we please retire that tired
cliché? The effect can actually be somewhat dismissive. It suggests
that the one being 'helped' may not actually know best, or might
not eventually discern the best solution for herself and her
Do you believe breastfeeding is best but others push formula?
Have a hunch you'll be happier if you work at least part-time? Feel
in your gut that all concerned would be better off if you stay home
and raise your children-even if it means a smaller house and making
do with one car-but you're feeling pushed to return to work?
Bear in mind that sometimes others push because they want
affirmation for the choices they made themselves. Heed your own gut
feelings and don't allow those other 'voices' to grow so loud that
you end up talking yourself out of what you intuitively know to be
true and right for you and your family.
Intuition is not based on anxiety or fear. It is a quiet
confidence borne of the connection that develops from focused
exposure to whatever it is that you wish to know-in this case, your
If you've allowed yourself and your child the opportunity to
really get to know each other, don't worry, you've got it. So quiet
the voices and Internet 'authorities' and well-meaning grandmothers
and put down those self-help books. For Pete's sake, just listen to
the voices that matter the most, your own and your child's.
The fact is, you've always had the greatest parenting resource
at your disposal, your intuition. But you know what they say,
right? Use it or lose it.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and
family therapist in private practice in Batavia. Got a concern? If
you're a parent and it's on your mind, chances are you are not
alone. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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