Don’t Seek the Right Answers, Seek the Right Answers for Your Child

June 10, 2014 at 11:10 am (Attachment Parenting)

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My husband is an expert carp angler. This is unusual in the fly fishing community. Targeting carp, as opposed to the traditionally “pretty” fish like trout or salmon, is a relatively new sport, though its popularity is gaining. With years of proficiency under his belt, my husband often gives presentations to fly fishing groups, clubs, and communities on the techniques involved in catching a carp on the fly. Invariably, at every presentation, someone asks him, “What is the best fly for catching carp?” And his response is always the same: “There is no best fly for all carp, but there will be a best fly for your carp.” Meaning: it depends on where you’re fishing. The conditions of the surrounding environment will dictate what kind of fly best imitates what the carp there are eating, so the best thing you can do is to know your forage.

I told him I’m totally going to use that line in my presentations. Because when I speak to parents or teach classes, I inevitably get asked a similar question. “What should I do?”

People attend parenting conferences or take positive discipline classes because they’re often in a place in their parenting in which they need some help. They’re in a tough stage with their child, they’re seeing behavior that challenges them, they’re frustrated with a recurring situation at home, or they’re eager to pick up some new parenting techniques. But the underlying question among parents in the room is always, “What is the right answer for how we should respond to behavior?”

And my response is: There is no right answer for all children, but there is a right answer for your child.

Meaning: There is no universal fix. There is no tool or technique that will fit all children perfectly. Your best answer is going to depend on your child, your family, and the relationship you have with one another. The conditions of the surrounding environment–personality, temperament, learning style, level of confidence, likes, dislikes, natural skills, inherent challenges, and relationships with others–will indicate what your child needs most to thrive. So the best thing you can do is to know your child.

Understand that your answers will be necessarily different from those of other parents. They’re fishing in different conditions.

Know your child, and you will find your answer.

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