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Trusting Your Parental Instincts: Make The Most of Your Gut Feeling

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Trusting Your Parental Instincts
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Your 4 month old is crying profusely and you are thoroughly confused, after all they just took their feed half an hour ago? Instinct tells you to feed them again, but people’s advice says not to, and let them cry and learn that feeds need to be taken in at once. 

Your 2 year old toddler is running around the room singing and screaming and not wanting to wear their clothes. You feel like laughing and singing along; after all what harm can be done in this moment, isn’t the child happy, but all those parenting articles you read last night, tell you to discipline the child at every opportunity and not let them run amok. 

Your 6-yr old throws tantrums every morning before going to school. Your parental instincts suggest that something is going wrong somewhere; after all, why they should behave like this, without a reason. But others around you say that just ignore and force the child to go to school. 

Parental instincts are very powerful and often very genuine. And even if they are just mere feelings and sometimes may be wrong, there is no reason for you as a parent, not to listen to your gut feeling when it comes to your child and their upbringing. 

It is very natural to get lost in the multitude of suggestions all around us regarding parenting, be it from well-meaning relatives and friends or articles and books. By listening to your instincts, and not the popular suggestions, you are being true to yourself as a parent and you are also displaying to your child that their emotional needs are your priority. 

For instance, did you know that there is research evidence to back up your instincts? So, here are some research backed arguments for why should you trust your instincts and how to make the most of your gut feelings while parenting:

#1: You are the expert

No one knows your child better than you. Period. If you think something is right or wrong for your child, so be it. Maternal instinct is essential for the survival of a young offspring, and the way you assess a situation for your child, is the most relevant piece of information to rely upon. 

# 2: Leave the must-s & should-s behind

Everyone will have something to say about how you “should” parent your child. You don’t have to listen to it all. Pick & choose what you want to apply to your parenting style, because remember, “You know your child best”.

# 3: Think about the future

When you are conflicted between choosing your instincts over choosing popular wisdom, think about how you want your relationship with your child to look like 10 or 15 years down the line. And let that be the guiding force. For example, if you want your child to have open conversations with you during their adolescence but you keep shouting & screaming at them when they are a toddler, certainly the former is not going to happen. 

# 4: Accept the possibility of mistakes: 

Even if you were to follow the most well researched parenting advice, there are bound to be errors. And therefore, just because your instincts prove wrong once in a while, doesn’t meant that you have to forever ignore them. Mistakes happen but that is no reason to ignore your parental instincts. 

# 5: Think things through: 

If you are unsure about your dominant parental instincts, just take some time off and think them through. Think through what kind of a parent you want to be, what could be the outcomes of doing or not doing certain things, and take actions accordingly. 

Lastly, remember that every parent is different and so is every child. What may work for one may not work for another? And thus, just do what you think is the right thing to do for your child and yourself and let the outcomes follow. There is always a learning in everything, but there is nothing in this world, as strong as parental instincts; so don’t let the world make you think otherwise. 

Photo by Daisy Anderson from Pexels

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