When your child is having trouble, it might make you feel like you need to just sit back and let the experts take over. You need to listen to everything they tell you at the school, and take all the advice from therapists.
Maybe you feel like your child’s issues are somehow your fault, and that you just have to turn over your power to other people.
Remember, your child needs you now more than ever. So it’s important to empower yourself. You are your child’s best observer and greatest advocate. It really does take a village to raise our kids, and within that village, you’ll need a team.
You might be thinking: Wait, you told me in the first paragraph that I shouldn’t listen to the school and therapists!
Let me clarify. You want to CONSIDER everything from the school, therapists, and outside experts. But you don’t want to let that outweigh your own gut instincts and the information you’ve amassed about your child.
So you need a team you can trust, one that respects you and wants to collaborate you, one that values what you’re bringing, which is immense.
I’ve written before in this blog about personal experiences I had where I felt I was being shamed at my daughter’s preschool. (Thankfully, she’s not there anymore!) At that time, I felt like I needed to come down hard on her for misbehavior, when my own instinct told me that what was needed was greater understanding, support, and compassion. My professional experiences tell me that, too. And yet, when faced with a school staff that seemed to blame me, I went against all of that.
So I know that can happen to anyone. You get so worried about your children, and you can feel so helpless to assist them, and afraid that you’re doing wrong by them that you want to believe what other people are saying. You want answers to be handed to you, so much that you ignore your own reservations.
Do not ignore your reservations! Bring them up in a respectful, collaborative spirit. Share what you’ve noticed. Ask, “What do you think this could mean?” Ask, “What do you think we could try?” Ask, “What else could I try?”
And when the answers come back, sift them through your own filter: through what you know about your child, and what you know about yourself as a parent, and who you want to be as a parent. Make sure that you’re comfortable with whatever plans are made. Speak up.
If your team doesn’t want to hear it, see what you can do to get other team members involved. Assertiveness in this way might be uncomfortable, but the long-term alternative is that your child doesn’t get his or her needs met and you’re forever second-guessing and regretting.
I know a lot of people who’ve found their voice when it’s for their children, and not themselves. This could be your moment. Remember that you are bringing a lot to the table. You’re bringing something utterly unique, a bird’s eye view that no one in that room has. Because you have to knowledge, and the instincts, and the love.
Sometimes you’ll respectfully disagree, but think about it: That’s a skill you want your children to develop someday, too. Show them how it’s done.
She’s also a novelist. Please visit her author page for details.