There are no easy answers to many of the dilemmas that parents face and even if there were, they wouldn’t necessarily be right for your child. However, this doesn’t mean that you are lost and adrift with nothing to guide you either. Although there are no easy answers, there is flexible adaptation, a process of discovering what works. The key to resilience as a parent and to getting parenting right for your unique child is this: experimentation.
As a parent, you can adopt the scientific method, using careful observation to refine your ideas about your child and to discover what works. The scientific method for parents starts with observation. Pay attention to your child. Notice their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It is all useful data! When you find yourself stuck in a parenting dilemma, take the time to think the situation through in light of everything you know about your child. If there’s a behaviour you’d like to change, what’s keeping the behaviour going at the moment? If there’s something new you’d like your child to learn, what might motivate your child to learn that and do they seem ready? Use your knowledge of your child to form a theory about what is happening, and on the basis of that theory, form an idea about what approach you could take. Then, test out your idea. Actually try your new approach and continue to observe your child. Did it work? If so, great! If not, why not? Refine your theory about what is happening using this new data and form a new idea about what approach you could take. Then, test that. By applying the scientific method to your parenting, you can discover original solutions to your parenting dilemmas, solutions that fit with your values and work for your unique child.
Apply it to your life: Do you apply the scientific method to your own parenting? Are you able to take a flexible approach of experimenting to find what works? Does it help?