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  • Sami Bell

Everything is a Trade-Off - There are No "Perfect" Parents

Updated: Dec 10, 2019



A lot of times in parenting we make a choice and defend it because it “works” - that may be our choice to bottle-feed or breastfeed, that may be our choice to use timeout or time-in, that may be our choice to homeschool or use public schools. We defend ourselves vehemently often because for some reason or another someone else feels the need to pick apart our choices and point out why we’re “wrong”. But here’s the thing, there is NO perfect choice. There is no choice that doesn’t have a trade off. Every choice we make has some theoretical down side. Our job is to weigh both options and choose which option we feel most comfortable with. If you choose time-in you trade your time and energy for more connection and support during your child’s development. If you choose time-out you trade isolation of your child for some space away from them. Sometimes, most times, time-in is my prefered choice. Sit with your kiddo and help them learn and grow through your example. Help them find their calm by sharing yours. However, for many parents certain behaviors have been paired with an automatic and violent response due to their upbringing and a timeout allows them to separate themselves from their child without hurting them physically so they can calm down and regain composure and be a safe calm mama again. How can we say that choice is wrong when it keeps a child safe? Maybe that’s you, or maybe you now can see a possible upside for why someone you know uses the timeout strategy you don’t love. Even good things have trade offs. I read tons of books to my kids most nights. But I sacrifice time to complete my own work and time to clean my kitchen to do so. I am comfortable with that choice. That doesn’t mean that for some moms, prioritizing their clean kitchen isn’t essential and they need to find a different (or shorter) way to read to their kids. We’re different. I created S.U.R.E. Parenting. I think that’s an amazing thing. And I’ve sacrificed time with my kids and family outings and get-togethers with friends to be able to keep it running. Because I have struck a balance, I feel okay with that choice. It certainly doesn’t mean that everyone’s situation is ideal for starting a business. S.U.R.E. Parenting as a practice has a trade off! When you parent respectfully and empathically, factoring in each child’s uniqueness, and honoring yourself along the way, a LOT of energy goes into your parenting. When you eliminate fear and pain as methods for controlling children, and choose to work within their developmental abilities, you trade time for a peaceful childhood. It takes longer. That doesn’t mean your kids are bad, run wild, or “don’t listen.” It means that it takes longer for your child to develop the neural connections through repetition and in return for the patience that takes, you gain a mentally and emotionally healthy adult in the end. The payoff can take years and that can be daunting when you’re in the thick of the “troublesome threes”, and I promise you it’s worth it! When you are aware of the trade off you’re making, it’s so much easier to accept it and feel good about it. You can enjoy the feeling you get when your relationship with your child is what you always dreamed it would be. Sure people will point out that their child is afraid and therefore one threat will “get them in line” but what are they trading off to get that response? When you see things this way, you don’t need to fight about your choices. Simply know that you have chosen the trade off that feels best for you. Your confidence and sureness will likely end any conversation you don’t want to have. When we can stop seeing other people’s choices as some sort of commentary on our own, we will free ourselves to do as we see fit, unapologetically, confident, and sure.



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