It turns out that – as a group – we parents have an outsized view of our parenting skills on our kids.
We think that if we provide a stable home, an enriched environment, healthy food, toys, activities, therapies for our Orchid Kids, and lots of kisses that our children will grow up to be Happy and to have a Good Life.
Research says: Nope.
It turns out that the ways in which parents shape their children is WAY more complicated than that.
Everything from our zip code, to peers, to our kid’s microbiome probably have more of an effect on development than our parenting actions.
To top it all off, it turns out that the only person who’s really in charge of our child’s behavior (and therefore their life) is…
Yep, how they act is exclusively under their purview.
That is both alarming and comforting for me. How about you?
It means it’s not my fault. (any of it; all of it)
But it also feels like, “OMG there’s nothing I can do!”
In her TED Talk, Yuko Munakata likens parenting to the story of the butterfly and the hurricane. Have you heard it? The one where the butterfly flapping its wings in China causes a hurricane over the Caribbean six weeks later?
Parenting is a bit like that. It’s true that the hurricane wouldn’t exist without the butterfly, but it’s way more complicated than a simple cause-effect.
We have influence but not control.
We can influence whether a child will wet his pants at school, but we can’t control whether he will or not.
We can influence whether a child has a meltdown at Target, but we can’t control whether she will or not.
We can influence whether a child gets up for school on time, but we can’t control whether they do or not.
We. Just. Don’t.
And so given that (comforting or alarming) news, what would happen if we stopped trying to control our kids and stepped back to take on more of the “butterfly” role?
We talk about control vs. influence – among other things Orchid Kid related – on our Instagram page. Click here to follow us on Instagram. You’ll find tips, strategies and support you need.