Do you know who the real experts are?
People who have lived. People who have tried, failed and learned some hard won lessons.
I respect people with degrees and letters behind their names. I know that takes a tremendous amount of work. Ask me how I know (8 years of college!).
However, I think lived experience is even more valuable.
There are a lot of self-professed parenting experts on the internet. Some of them are awesome.
But, I have always felt that parents like you are the real experts, at least when it comes to your kids. You know them better than anyone. Right?
Note: read all the way to the bottom for my favorite story from a parent.
Recently I asked my newsletter subscribers to share their best parenting advice. The advice that has helped them the most over the years.
I received some wonderful words of wisdom. Not just cliches and things that look nice on a Facebook post.
Real advice for the real world.
I know you will relate to what they had to share. That is why I wanted to post it here.
(I also learned that I have a lot of readers who are Moms in California!)
Focus on the quality of the relationship.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received is, even if everything your child is doing or saying is telling you otherwise, they desperately need and want a close relationship with you. – Mom from California
It’s about the relationship, not about being the perfect parent who has the kids in line all the time. – Mom from Colorado
I think that now is the time for me to be my son’s coach and speak to him like an adult. – Mom from California
Be a good example in how you live. – Mom from California
What to do about all those little, irritating things . . .
Let go of the small stuff! – Mom from California
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Does it really matter if my child’s bed is not made or their room isn’t tidy? – Mom from Indiana
The most helpful advice I’ve received is to not to sweat the small stuff and pick my battles! – Mom from California
Pick your battles. Seriously!!!! – Mom from California
Recognize that sometimes your kids are having a bad day and just don’t feel like doing anything. – Dad from California
Working on good communication is key.
Relevant to the tween years, advice on how to talk and listen to teens has really improved our communication dynamic. – Mom from California
To be quiet and listen more. – Mom from California
Shut up and listen! – Mom from Michigan
Don’t try to solve problems or change your child’s attitude in the heat of the moment. Wait it out . . . let them think . . . let everyone calm down for an hour, or even a day or so. It can make a world of difference. (continued below)
Don’t feel like you always have to have the last word. If your kid says something nasty to you, sometimes the best thing is to just walk away, rather than saying something nasty back or trying to make them feel guilty. It leaves them with their own words to think about, rather than focusing on being angry by yours. – Mom from Massachusetts
Is my teenager normal?
One super helpful notion that comes to mind is that my son will not be like this forever, he will change, he is in a stage . . . it helps me cope when I to I start to think that I have created a monster. And of course we are always the example of behavior. That’s the hardest one because I can be a monster too. 😉 – Mom from California
Moody and distant is a ‘normal’ thing for developing teenagers. Ignore it and continue to include him, even though he’s kind of irritating to be around at times. Haha! – Mom from Minnesota
Best advice. Don’t wrestle with pigs in the mud or you will end up dirty! – Mom from Michigan
It’s not about you, it is about their internal struggles. – Mom from Switzerland
Hang in there. The teenage years won’t last forever!
This too shall pass! – Mom from Michigan
Patience. Have patience for the mood swings and grumpiness. It is only a season, and this too shall pass. Love them through it! Have faith that you have taught them well in the ways of the Lord. – Mom from California
The most helpful parenting advice for me is to remember that most all of the misbehaviors are not done personally against me or his Dad and to try not to take things personally. – Mom from California
The best parenting advice I’ve ever received is when looking at your children, treat them as the responsible, loving adults they are becoming not as the knuckle headed teenager they are being at the moment. – Mom from California
How about some tough love & strategic parenting?
The best advise I ever received was sometimes you have to let them trip over their shoelaces, so they’ll start tying their shoes. I don’t want to be the type of parent that makes excuses, lies, and “fixes” everything for my kids. It’s very difficult though. – Mom from Pennsylvania
Teach my kids to be independent. – Dad from California
I think the best advice I got was to divide and conquer when it came to dealing with my twin boys. They have always been physical with each other and dividing then helped me to conquer the situation . . . (kinda). – Mom from California
And lastly, one of my favorite responses. Such a wonderful story.
One day when I was really sad about my son and his behavior and the trouble he was getting in, I said he needs a Mr. Doherty. Mr. Doherty was my highschool autoshop teacher who really made a difference in my life and helped me get on the right track when I was 16-17. My wife said, he doesn’t need a Mr. Doherty, he has you. And since then, I have been trying to be like Mr. Doherty. So far I think it has been working. – Dad from Massachussets