When parents ask questions about what to do with their children, I invite them to look within their hearts first. -- Julie Gohman
by Julie Gohman
For some of us, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and carrying our babies comes naturally. But for others, mothering is a bewildering journey. As a parent educator, I see many mothers who are tired, confused and uncertain about how to parent their children. It doesn't help that they are constantly
besieged by conflicting advice from the media, experts, well-wishing friends and relatives, as well.
What's a mother to do?
As a mother myself, I understand this dilemma. We love our children and want to be good mothers, but sometimes it is difficult to know what is the right thing to do at any given moment. For example:
Do we bribe our children with M&Ms to go potty on the toilet?
Is it safe to sleep with our babies?
How many times should we remind them to clean their rooms, put away their coats or do their homework?
What do we do when they get out of bed for the hundredth time? Or kick their brother? Or throw their green beans on the floor?
Do time-outs work - or are they really for mothers?
If we play Mozart, will they turn into geniuses?
If we scream, have we damaged them forever?
Try as we might, we cannot escape those moments when we feel like laughing and crying all at once - those moments filled with little fingers, poopy diapers, wiggly bodies, tickly toes, runny noses and silly grins.
Despite my degrees in child development, family life and education, what continues to be my guiding light is my own intuition.
When parents ask questions about what to do with their children, I invite them to look within their hearts first, to listen to their mother's intuition. When we have close connections with our children, we naturally choose compassionate ways of dealing with them. We find gentle ways to discipline them. We keep in mind the long-term goal of creating healthy relationships, rather than quick fixes. We become the kind of mothers who change the world for the better, one child at a time.
Julie Gohman is working on her Ph.D. in psychology and doing research on women's development, motherhood and spirituality. She lives in South Haven, Minn.