My big secret about parenting is that there are no secrets

My big secret about parenting is that there are no secrets

I’ve seen a lot of headlines of articles promising to reveal the secret to just about anything related to parenting, and everything else, really.

I understand that publications need to entice readers to click and read. And often, I’m intrigued and do just that. But I’m most often really disappointed. Even the pieces promising the secret to folding fitted sheets have failed me, as you can tell from a quick peak into my linen closet.

If there is one fact about parenting that I’m most sure is true, it is that there are no secrets.

I’m pretty certain there are no undiscovered, unshared parenting tricks that work for everyone, every time that someone has suddenly decided to reveal to the world at large.

Here’s why that’s true:

Every child is different. 

What works on one child will not always work on their sibling. Despite having been raised in the same home with the same parents and eating the same thing for dinner every night, they are still very distinct individuals.

A parenting technique that is wildly successful will not always work on the same child twice.

Turns out that individuals grow, learn and have moods that vary. (The last part of that sentence is in the running for understatement of the year when it comes to children with out of control hormones.)

What works one day is not guaranteed to be even remotely successful the next. It may be, and that’s awesome. But kids have a penchant for mixing things up. There are good days, bad days, and endless phases. The only constant in parenting is that our kids are always changing.

Circumstances change.

Just as no two children are alike, no two parenting circumstances are identical, either. Families are different, communities are unique, laws vary by state. You simply cannot control all the variables.

I think what gets me about the phrasing of having parenting secrets is that I think it messes with parents’ heads. It’s designed to make you think you are not in the know or missing out. You’re playing catch up to others. Chances are, that just not true. See above about every child being different. And the bottom line is that you know your kid far better than anyone else. It may not always feel that way as they start to exercise their independence, but it’s still true.

Some days we are killing this parenting thing. Other days we are clinging to the last shred of our sanity because nothing we’re trying to is having the desired effect.

We are all doing the best we can, with the information we have at the time.

And I promise that if I do discover any secrets, I’ll come here and share them.

Prior Post: May it please the parents: Chief Justice John Roberts’s great commencement speech

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Filed under: Parenting

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