I will be presenting about Reflective Parenting to therapists and parents in China in May 2019. What I have learned in preparing for my presentation has amazed and pleased me. Much to my surprise, it turns out that the Chinese know a lot about and are very interested in our more western ways of parenting. In fact they invited me to speak there.
It turns out that despite our different cultural ways, that when it comes to parenting, we are really more alike than different. Parents in both countries are overly stressed because they feel the anxiety and pressure of being a “perfect” parent and raising a “perfect” kid. Because of all this stress, parents are often looking for a quick fix answer to the problems they are facing with their child.
Reflective Parenting reduces this toxic level of stress, by emphasizing that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. The truth is, children do better when their parents are accepting of who they really are as people.
Even though parents seek out that quick fix solution from the experts, these only help in the short run but not in the long run. We find that parents and their children do better when parents are helped to feel more confident that they can use their own mind to figure out their own solutions that will fit best with who their child is and who they are as parents.
Reflective Parenting encourages parents to think for themselves. This is because ‘there’s no one right way to parent’, ‘no one size fits all’ and there’s always more than one way to handle any situation you may face with your child. Now, Emily Oster, an economics professor at Brown gives one of the best arguments I’ve ever seen in favor of these ideas. Here is a link to her opinion piece in the New York Time that is adapted from her forthcoming book “Cribsheet”.
In it she supports what we always tell parents, ‘it’s fine to learn from what the experts have to say. But only put their advice into practice if it makes sense to you and if it works for who your child is and for who you are.’