Do We Need Intuition In Parenting?
Who do you trust for information about raising your children? Your doctor, your mom, your girlfriends, the internet? Who do you receive information and advice from (whether you want it or not)?
We live in the Information Age, and although that moniker is somewhat tired by now, it does neatly sum up what parents today are facing: a sometimes confusing and debilitating volume of information and helpful experts looking to guide us into making the “right” decisions for our families.
All of this input is not necessarily helpful. It’s easy to get not only overloaded with information, but also to start to lose our perspective when it comes to raising kids. It’s difficult not to bow to pressure and take someone else’s word for what’s happening with your children, even when your gut tells you that there’s more going on. It can be difficult to stand up to experts with education and experience, or to pursue a concern when everyone else is telling you not to worry about it.
But what if they’re wrong? How often have we received advice that sounded like it made sense on the surface, but we just knew that something wasn’t right? What might happen if we started to listen more to this gut feeling than to the “experts” in our lives?
We have all been gifted with a sense of knowing what’s right and what’s not. But we’re encouraged these days to trust others, to do what everyone else is doing, and to do what we’re told, even if it feels wrong. So the question is, is intuition redundant in parenting today? Have we completely lost our ability to follow our own instincts?
I don’t believe we have. Sometimes we are so desperate, so sleep-deprived, so anxious that we just want someone to tell us what to do. And that’s ok. We all need people to lean on at times. But a problem arises when we let that person talk us into something that we don’t believe in. The problem comes when we follow the advice of someone else against our better judgment. My hunch is that if we all quieted our fears and listened to what our intuition was telling us, we’d know whether that advice made sense for us and our family…or not. We would know if it was time to worry about the fact that our child hasn’t reached a certain milestone yet, or if it was appropriate to let our child walk home from school alone.
Too often we ask for advice because we know the answer, and we’re just looking for someone to validate what we already know to be true. We need to learn to rely more on our own experience and our own intuition, and to trust ourselves enough to let that be our guide.
You know your child best. If something doesn’t seem quite right, then you must pursue it. Even if it means that you have to see a number of professionals before you get an accurate and helpful diagnosis, or that you need to make some uncomfortable changes in your lifestyle in order to protect your family. Following your intuition is an investment in your family – and your mental health.
Then again, I’m just another person giving you advice. Listen to your intuition before you decide what to do.