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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

How confident are you in your parenting?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38980points) October 15th, 2011

How do you feel about yourself, as a parent? Why? Have you always felt this way? Do you compare yourself to other parents? Do you ask other parents for advice on raising your kids? Or are you someone that others ask for advice on this topic? Do you ever self-assess your ability as a parent? What do you conclude?

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

Oy baby – did I “self-assess”! At one point I even went into therapy because of issues I was having. I did talk to close friends who were also parents – we discussed issues, read and advised and listened to each other. My “boys” are now grown and are loving, giving men but I wish I had been able to raise them with more joy and less angst than I did.

Coloma's avatar

Well…mission accomplished and my daughter has been launched into the universe. haha

I am secure that I did a good job, not perfect, but good enough. I was a creative and caring mom and I am proud that my daughter has good values, a good head on her shoulders and, I also have apologized for any shortcomings. I think it’s really important to ask your adult kids what their perception of your parenting was, and to have the humility to really HEAR what they say. We’re all right over this way. :-D

Seek's avatar

I constantly review my parental performance. My own parents were shit, so all I really know is one way not to do it.

I think I’m doing pretty well. My son seems to be blossoming into a headstrong, intelligent individual. But, he is only three, and I haven’t had time to do much damage yet.

I tend to not ask for advice, mostly because I know that my own outlook (a very liberal one) is at odds with the majority of people I know. I take the Obi-Wan method – “Search your feelings, you know them to be true”.

ucme's avatar

Well, as I see it, parenting can only be judged/defined by the stages of life their child/ren have surpassed. Every age brings it’s own unique challenges, from newborn to toddler, school age, right through to their teens & of course beyond.
Therefore, so far, i’m totally confident & yes, happy with they way things have turned out. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but hey, I wouldn’t have missed out on the experiences, not for all the money in the world.

flutherother's avatar

It took two of us but it seemed to go all right. It was fun, I enjoyed it and I wouldn’t change a thing. We were lucky and we didn’t have any problems with the kids.

filmfann's avatar

Of the three kids, 2 barely passed high school, and the other got a GED. One is working as a body piercer, another is abused in her job as a secretary at a Ford dealership, and the other is working as an Ironworker (very physical job).
On the other hand, they are all happy with their lives, and we are all on good terms. None of them are abusing drugs, though my daughters drink too much.
I weep for my kids contributions to society, but they are happy, and that might be most important.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I am an excellent father to my two young girls. My wife loves me dearly for that, but for me, it’s really just second nature——I don’t think about it much——I just am.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I feel I’m pretty good when I need to be. I’ve been a stepmother before and had a solid relationship with my stepdaughter who thought I was strict about what I believed in but she also knew I’d be able to keep her confidence if she came to me with things she knew I probably wouldn’t support. I’ve never felt the need to compare to others since my role has been a subsidiary one, kind of under the radar “parent support”.

blueiiznh's avatar

I feel I am a very good Father. I can only judge this based on the happiness and well being of my daughter. Being a single parent, I also know that I cannot possibly provide all angles and views, but have recieved feedback from close friends and a friend who is a child pychologist that she is doing very well.
I would say I don’t compare myself to other parents, but when you are with your childrens freinds and their parents, it’s hard not to. I love children and enjoy the challenges and rewards that come from being a parent.
My parents did a pretty good job raising 5 and I use a model of what worked for them and good values to help guide it.
Parents always share conversations about certain challenges. Also being a single parent of an 11 yr old daughter I certain ask for advice from other Mothers with daughters the same age on topics. I also get asked from other parents “how the heck do I do all I do” and other things.
Self-assess…..well, I do that always. I reflect on it all the time to ensure I am doing the best I possibly can.

We went Apple picking today, Judge for yourself

Hibernate's avatar

When I’ll get my own kids .. ehumnm…. I know it for a fact I will be a lousy parent.

janbb's avatar

@blueiiznh Lovely pics!

tranquilsea's avatar

I think I’m doing fairly well. I have good days and bad days but the important thing is that I apologize to the kids if I ever say or do something that really shouldn’t have been said or done. This happens very infrequently though.

I’m here for my kids. I listen to them and I try to support and guide them. They have had to deal with some pretty heavy stuff and I’ve stood by them as they’ve dealt with it. They know I have their back but they also know that they have to stand on their own two feet and be responsible.

blueiiznh's avatar

@janbb i will let her know

Bellatrix's avatar

I have three children, two are grown up and doing wonderfully. My third is my problem child and he is still finding his way and it is challenging.

How do you feel about yourself, as a parent? I do the best I can. I am a caring parent. I would classify myself as more liberal than authoritative but I do believe in boundaries. My daughters tell me I am a wonderful mother. The jury is still out on what my son thinks! I would never say I am a great parent myself though. I really just do my best and sometimes I think I have missed the point or been too hard or too relaxed or too… something. I reflect a lot on how I am going and sometimes come away giving myself a “could do better”.

Why? Because I don’t think there is a perfect parent and every situation, each parent and each child is different so I am constantly learning. There are no right or wrong things with parents. There are individuals making their way along and getting some things right and some things wrong. I just hope I get more right than wrong.

Have you always felt this way? Pretty much.

Do you compare yourself to other parents? No. Back to we are all individuals. I observe other parents and try to learn from their experiences. I don’t compare though.

Do you ask other parents for advice on raising your kids? YES!! I have even telephoned our parent line when I am at a complete loss. “Why isn’t he toilet trained?” “What should I do about xxx?” You can always learn from others and I don’t have all the answers and sometimes, I can’t see the wood for the trees. I need someone outside the situation to say “Why does it matter if he isn’t toilet trained? He will get there.” Sometimes hearing this outsider’s view can really help you realise, you are worrying about something ridiculous. Or they will have a great response that will just turn on the light and you understand why things aren’t working.

Or are you someone that others ask for advice on this topic? People do ask me for advice too. I don’t offer advice unless asked though. I have relatives (with no children) who are experts on parenting. Gives me the shits when they jump in to tell me I “should” be doing .. whatever it is they think I “should” be doing.

Do you ever self-assess your ability as a parent? See above. All the time.

What do you conclude? I am doing the best I can. Since my daughters are so wonderful, I think I am doing fine. My son will be fine. He is a testosterone fuelled teenager. What can I say? It is hard work. I haven’t given up yet though and I love him to bits (luckily for him given the recent events we are working through!)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I question myself all the time. Most of the time, I feel that I’m making the right decisions for my children, but sometimes I do make myself stop and think. I believe every decent parent questions themselves at some point.

geeky_mama's avatar

Q: How do you feel about yourself, as a parent? Why?

A: We have three children and a fourth “bonus” child that is not our child, but whom we have a parental (almost foster-parent) type role with. I think my husband is a more patient parent than I am..but he is also very lenient and wouldn’t push our kids as much as I do to stretch a bit and be independent. Together I think we’re an awesome (but not always harmonious) parenting team. Why? Well, our kids are definitely comfortable enough to give us crap about our short-comings as parents and humans and there is much love, humor and sass in our home. Other children (neighborhood kids) run away to be at OUR house. I don’t think I’m perfect..but our home is a place where imperfect people are welcomed and loved for the good bits inside.
Q: Have you always felt this way?
A: I’ve had some moments where I have felt keenly like a crap mommy (like the business trip to London that caused me to miss my and my son’s birthdays once—they are only a day apart in July)..but by and in large even since I was a babysitter/nanny for other people’s children I’ve felt rather confident in my ability to take care of, nurture and have great fun with children.
Q: Do you compare yourself to other parents?
A: Not so much. I admit to self-righteously judging the mother in our neighborhood who has no money to buy her daughter socks or clothes that fit properly yet finds money to support her smoking/drinking habit.. but its not comparing myself so much as being horrified at what some other people thinks passes for acceptable parental behavior.

Q: Do you ask other parents for advice on raising your kids? Or are you someone that others ask for advice on this topic?
A: I haven’t asked advice since the kids were babies.. Actually, maybe the last time I asked was when my step-daughter was still a toddler and we were having major bedtime battles. (She has never been a good sleeper. To this day she isn’t much a sleeper. I just couldn’t fathom that a 2 year old could function, grow and thrive on less than 9 hours of sleep a night.. and she did and she does. She just doesn’t need as much sleep as other people.)
People do occasionally ask me for parenting advice. I find I dread offering it (in person)..because I worry I’ll offend someone.

Q: Do you ever self-assess your ability as a parent? What do you conclude?
A: Not until Fluther! I goes we’re doing OK. I just love my family. I honestly love every moment with my kids..I’d rather spend a night in hanging out with the kids than anything else. And the kids are alright. They’re all doing as well as they can. Good grades and behavior at school, well-behaved in public…sassy, a bit critical and funny as can be at home.

Coloma's avatar

One of my daughters complaints when we were discussing her upbringing a few years ago was that she felt I was too strict/censoring with certain TV shows and, of course, I was a foot dragger, trying to hold onto her childhood before she went down the piercing path. lol

She admitted however, that she understood that I was over compensating for her ultra liberal, lackadaisical dad and she understood how the balance might have been a bit askew for awhile.

Of course kids are going to remember discipline or boundaries as rather negative, but, I reminded her, while showing respect for her feelings that better to be a bit over protective than some drunken, checked out mom on the couch. I think she appriciates my values more now than she did between 12 and 18. haha

I believe parenting comes first and “friends” comes later, after the job is done.

I LOVE being friends now, but, unlike her dad, I wasn’t willing to cop out on my parenting duties in favor of being the “popular” parent.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve told many stories about my kids over the years here on fluther. A lot of times people tell my I’m a good father. I’m not sure how they can tell from my stories, though. It’s nice to hear. Maybe they can see a little bit of me through my stories, but other than that, I hardly get any feedback. Occasionally friends will tell us the kids are a pleasure for this or that reason. No one has criticized them. So I think we’re doing all right.

I wanted to be a different parent from my parents. I didn’t want to hold back things about the world to preserve their innocence or to preserve our parental image of infallibility. We make mistakes. We don’t know all the answers. We could tell you what to do, but we want you to think for yourselves and if you want to question us, then question us; just be prepared to argue your case with evidence.

So they argue—not in an argumentative way—but in a strategic way. Funny. My son wants this wild-ass expensive DSLR camera, and he’s been pushing it for months, now. I told him I didn’t want to hear any more, so he’s switched to my wife. Today, his sister was trying to help him get a camera (as opposed to the camera he wants), but he was not going with the program she had in mind.

I told her there wasn’t much point in trying to help my son because for him it was primarily a fantasy and he knew it was just a fantasy. She said she thought he really wanted a camera, and was trying to help him be more realistic. He told her that he would rather have no camera than anything less than the one he wanted. So, for the moment, she has given up trying to help him. She thought she could teach him to be reasonable.

I love that she cares about her brother so much. I think he cares equally about her. He is always copying her about certain things. Maybe one day she’ll see that her influence is as a model, not as a persuader.

There’s a lot I like about my kids. They both work really hard, but my son is more insistent about doing what he wants to do as opposed to what he has been assigned to do. It’s a balance between making sure he can do what he wants and thus stay interested but also making sure he does what he has to do to get through school.

I generally feel like I’m doing what I want to as a parent. There are occasions when I get too angry for comfort, or I press harder than I’m sure I should with my son. The balance is not clear. And he’s like me in some unfortunate ways. He believes he’s no good at anything. I have been trying to teach him the trick I’ve learned about letting that self-judgment go, but I don’t know if I’m getting any traction there. It’s so hard not to believe you are not good at anything, and he’s very good at a lot of things. I don’t know if he can see it but doesn’t believe it, or if he can’t see it at all. Either way, I know from experience, it is really hard and there is little anyone outside can do, except just not talk about any kind of judgment at all. You do what you do because you like it or because you are doing it. Comparisons don’t matter.

Of course, we really do want to please others and we hope they will like what we do, but the disappointment of not doing so is too much, so it’s better just to think we can’t do it. Or we didn’t do it.

I don’t know. That’s the way it is for me. I wonder if it is the same for him. My wife keeps trying to encourage him and get him to change his self image, but I know that if he’s like me, it’‘s useless.. He probably is like me. I think it’s the kind of thing that only his father might understand. It’s not the kind of thing you can understand unless you’ve been there.

Parenting was nothing very unexpected for me. I thought there was a chance that I’d know what to do simply because the data say that older parents seem to do better. I knew that if I could parent the way I wanted to, my kids would be fine.

What I didn’t know is whether anyone would ever let me near a child because it is my sense that most people think differently about how to related to kids. I.e., kids don’t get respect. That bothers me and I see it everywhere—parents feeling like they have a right to treat their kids however they want to. I don’t believe that. I believe my kids have a say and that I don’t get to be god to them. As far as I can tell, that’s enough to lose your parenting license. So please don’t tell anyone I told you. It’s all lies!

Bellatrix's avatar

A couple of the loveliest things I have ever heard have come from my children. My oldest daughter told me I was her best role model and the strongest woman she knew.

My middle daughter came home for school after they had been having discussions in one of her classes about parenting. She was explaining the differences between liberal and authoritative parenting and then she said “I think you’ve got it dead right Mum. You are doing a great job”.

They also often come home to tell me about children they have come across and how they are so glad I didn’t allow them to behave like that as children.

The feedback from the victims of my parenting style are the best judges of how well I have done and it is a great confidence booster to hear from my children that they think I am doing a good job.

Pandora's avatar

Pretty confident. My children are grown now but I think I was mostly worried about what they thought of me as a parent. Not so much what others thought. Yes, I would occasionally ask for advice but I found that most people didn’t really have a clue as to what or how a child thinks. During the time my children where growing up, parents where concerned with being a friend instead of a parent with their kids. I constantly assessed but I did not compare myself to other parents. I always told my children that what happened in other families should not dictate our lives. That we should live our lives as best we could for the individuals we were. What we see on the outside may not be the reality of their lives.
But I always took stock of why I chose to do this or that and made sure my motives were always in their best interest.
As for what I concluded? Well I concluded I have done well. Both of my children have always made it clear that they where happy to have the life they have had and the parents that raised them and prepared them for the world. As a matter of fact, my daughter posted something on the web today that makes me feel secure in the knowledge that I and my husband did ok.
She wrote, how happy she is to be herself. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Both of them are extremely confident adults. Of course we didn’t give them confidence but I like to think we set the ground work for them to build on.

SuperMouse's avatar

When my boys were younger I took tons of parenting seminars and was extremely blessed for them to have a preschool teacher who is truly gifted in knowing and dealing with the ways of toddlers and preschoolers. As a result I had a toolbox full of stuff for dealing with whatever came up and really felt like I had a pretty darn good handle on meeting their needs with love, security, support, routines, discipline, and all of the things that make toddlers quite a handful. I still feel like I am great with toddlers and babies and even now I am the only one really can get my husband’s granddaughter to mind while still liking me and wanting to spend time with me. When it comes to kids that age and in early elementary school I literally learned at the feet of the master and feel very confident in my abilities.

As my kids have grown older I feel like I have fewer tools in the toolbox and I have really had to seek out solutions and ideas for handling mostly discipline. I know I have the love, support, and security thing down. I am more challenged by the discipline and finding and implementing logical consequences for their misbehavior. My husband does have a gift for working with children this age and that helps, but I tend to be a bit of a softy and have a hard time adjusting to his harder line tactics. Neither of us will ever hit the boys, but he tends to let them make their mistakes and reap the consequences while my gut is to help them avoid the mistakes. I also think I tend to talk too much, to where it starts reaching the point of diminishing returns.

How do you feel about yourself, as a parent? Why? All in all I think I am a good parent. Mostly because I try very hard and am constantly reviewing what is working and what isn’t and making changes according. Have you always felt this way? I have pretty much felt this way since my first son was born. Do you compare yourself to other parents? I try not to compare myself to other parents.

Do you ask other parents for advice on raising your kids? Or are you someone that others ask for advice on this topic? I have never come right out and asked other parents for advice. What I do consistently is ask parents what they think they have done right. When I encounter a teenager or young adult who I respect I routinely ask their parents this question. For the record to a person they have said they spent a lot of time with their kid, took interest in their life, and gave them plenty of attention. Every person I have asked has given that same response.

Do you ever self-assess your ability as a parent? What do you conclude? As I mentioned above, I am constantly assessing my ability as a parent. My conclusion is that I don’t know everything and never will and what works for one kid might not necessarily work for all of them.

I am fairly confident in my parenting, but I know there are things that I need to keep working on and in reality there always will be. I am sure that the minute I feel like I have parenting knocked, a situation will come along to prove that I really don’t.

What do you know, my longest response ever is about parenting. Shocking.~

keobooks's avatar

I have strengths and weaknesses. I am just going to give a short answer now. My daughter is 12 months old. She can work a 2 piece puzzle only with lots of help. She thinks bears say moo. I have a bachelors degree and almost 40 years of experience on me. She outsmarts me almost every single day.

I think I’m an OK parent, but I’m starting to doubt my intellect.

flutherother's avatar

I can honestly say when I started out I had no idea. My children taught me how to do it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I really am enjoying your answers, everyone. Thank you.

smilingheart1's avatar

The most secure, wonderful knowledge for a child is that at least one parent, grandparent, guardian or primary caregiver loves them warmly and unconditionally and enough to correct them when they are out of line.

My daughter and son are very different in temperament, almost at polarities, but this personal love and security has carried them each into their own sphere of being true individuals – free to be themselves no matter if they perceive others enjoy them or not.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m more confident in my ability to parent wisely right now, mainly because I am protective enough of my daughters to want to rip a negligent teacher to shreds, BUT I’m choosing to not press a lawsuit, in order to protect my daughters from negative school reactions that would affect them.

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