A manual is a book of instructions. It tells you how something works.
When we follow manuals, we expect that things will work how they should. Manuals are great for things, but they don’t work well for people.
I have been thinking about manuals in parenting. There is no book of parenting instructions, rules and “how-to”s that has been proven 100% correct and beneficial. If there was, we would all be parenting perfectly with perfect results.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
It would be so much easier if parenting was a simple, systematic experience of simply doing steps 1 through 3, to get you from point A-B for you and your child. The path and program clearly written out for you to follow and finish.
You wouldn’t have to make any risky decisions. You wouldn’t have to feel worry or frustration. You wouldn’t be forced to get creative or endure through the difficulties of parenting.
In reality, parenting is not a “manual” experience, it is a human one. People don’t come with manuals, and manuals don’t work for people. Yet, most of us are parenting from a manual of expectations we created.
The manual is full of what you think your child should and shouldn’t think, feel, behave and become. When they stray from the rules and regulations within your manual, often without knowing what you even have written in it, your thoughts and feelings are negatively affected.
Each child has their own special needs and personalities, and each parent has their own priorities and goals. Having a manual for what that process and experience should be like, will create dissatisfaction when it doesn’t go according to the plans and directions YOU created along the way.
Don’t get me wrong. Having some expectations, principles and general guidelines for YOURSELF and your child will be useful, but ultimately focusing on how YOU want to show up in the relationship you have with your child will create the most emotional freedom for you.
What is in your parenting manual that may be creating an emotional trap for you?
If you would like to know more about how Manuals and Expectations may be negatively affecting your relationships and parenting experience, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org set up a free life coaching consultation.