How To Be A Better Mother?
A question that most of us ask themselves before having a baby is “How to be a better mother?” There probably isn`t a woman who wanted a child and not asked herself this question. Therefore, the single fact that this question appears means that you are preoccupied about the way your baby will develop and about his psychic well-being, which can only mean good things.
Still, when you start to doubt yourself regarding your quality as a mother, there are certainly some aspects that you may need to analyze.
Table of Contents
What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Mother?”
As you may already know, there are a few notions that are relative and have a specific meaning for each of us. From these notions, “good” or “bad” certainly occupies a leading spot. For some, “good” can be the mother who puts food on the table, while for others to do only this might mean to be a “bad” mother, because she doesn`t spend enough time with her child and spends too much time at work. “Good” might be the mother who offers everything you need, but a “better” mother may be the one who teaches you who to satisfy your needs on your own. Or in other situations, these last two might be “bad” mothers.
The notion of “good mother” lies strictly in the mind of that specific person who talks about her. However, if we are to offer a clear and psychological answer, we could say that a “good mother” is exactly the opposite of everything we like in our mother or other mothers that we saw. Therefore, the ideal image of the mother might be a collection of qualities that suits exactly to our unique needs.
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So, the first question in the search of this answer is that “will you manage to identify the unique needs of your child and satisfy them or not?”
How to Avoid Repeating the Mistakes of Our Parents?
The fact that us, the children of our parents, live with the impression that they weren`t “good” comes from the fact that they didn`t know how to identify and satisfy our needs from this specific point of view. That`s why, although in their mind they`ve done everything they could for us, we considered that it wasn`t enough.
In psychology known as “cognitive biases,” they are defensive mechanisms of our psyche, which distorts our perception when the world is concerned.
These are new discoveries (about 10 years) in the field of cognitive psychology and they represent the basis of our day-to-day decisions. An example in this regard is the bias of familiarity, the one by which we choose the version that`s more familiar to us when we need to choice between 2 things. Also, they are the basis of our decisions as parents, and of course as you may have guessed, they are the cause of most of our mistakes from this particular point of view. Therefore, let`s go over a list (incomplete, as they are hundreds) of biases that make us repeat the mistakes of our parents by giving practical examples that would help to identify them.
The bias of familiarity that we`ve talked about above is, for example, the one when our child has fever makes us give him paracetamol, instead of asking for the doctor`s recommendation. Actually, paracetamol isn`t even used to children of less than 6 years old, however if we saw that this is what our mother did in a similar case, it`s probably a good decision.
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The effect of sheep flock, said as an offense, often plays us tricks, especially when we are parents. We choose to give our child to a better school, because most kids go there; we choose to educate our child after certain articles, because most people say that those certain “recipes” work; we choose to keep our child under control, because we know that paternity represents authority.
Examples are many, however there are very few parents who are aware that their child represents a unique personality and needs his own solutions, especially created for him.
The lack of empathy is represented by the impossibility of “putting yourself in other people`s skin.” That`s why, if you are one of those persons who believe that his parents weren`t “good” parents, this happens because you weren`t able to understand what led them to act the way they did. A concrete example regarding this is the fear of darkness, often encountered in small children, which is a primitive fear, but which parents treat it as something amusing, because they aren`t able to understand that for their child the monsters from under the bed are real.
The negative bias is the one which makes you right now to wonder whether you`ll be a good mother or not. It represents the tendency to give more weight to negative experiences than to positive ones. For instance, there are few parents who, when they come home and find the walls drawn by their child, would think that he practiced his creativity and not that this would represent an additional work for him, the adult (actually, we recommend to everyone who wants to become parents to use washable varnish for their house`s walls, because the need to exercise creativity is among the basic needs of human beings – as they are described in Maslow`s pyramid – and certainly the drawing on the walls will be an activity which the child will try at least once).
Reactivity represents the impulse to do exactly the opposite of what someone tells you to do. In parenting, it can be seen when a children is forbidden to do a certain thing, even if he wants it. As the back of the medal, children show reactivity (often much stronger) and that`s why, lots of times, will be like him and not like you, if you cannot find a middle way.
Anchoring represents decision-making that is based on a past reference point. For instance, a mother who saw in the past a dirty child because he was left to play in the garden will avoid to let her child to do the same thing, even if he wants it.
There are a lot of other cognitive biases which may affect our own ability of being a parent as well as our daily life; their explanation would need a huge amount of resources and, therefore we should rely on the fact that you really desire to be a good mother and you`ll study in this regard by yourself. In the lines above, we explained the most important ones which you`ll most likely meet at a certain point in your life. However, the simple fact that you are aware of them will make you think twice before deciding anything.
General Tips for Future Mothers
Learn, learn and learn again! Simply put, you should never try to learn!
If it would be possible, I would repeat this idea indefinitely, but because this would mean to stagnate, it would be preferable to bring new information to your attention for the purpose of evolution. Actually, this is also the basis of the idea of “being a mother” and, more importantly, “being a human being:” we evolve and we become better while we learn new things. That`s why it`s essential to document yourself all the time and stay up-to-date with the latest news and discoveries, even when you are a parent. The simple idea that “you know enough” or that you are “good enough” in what you do doesn`t represent anything else than stagnation, because you`ll never have the desire to learn new things. And, just as in any other job, the one of a parent involves growing along with your child.
So, the first advice would be not to ever consider yourself “too good” and to always be in the search of new information regarding the education of your child. Therefore, you`ll have the certainty that, although you won`t always be sure that you`ll be a “good mother,” you`ll at least try to study in this direction.
Psychology is a vital part of our life and fortunately this started to receive awareness all over the world. Unfortunately, the online environment and internet are assaulted by “popular psychology,” which represents anything else but reality. That`s why, it`s very important to learn how to make the differences between the advice received from a specialist and the one received from people who don`t know what they are saying and who don`t know what they are saying.
Be Open to Accepting New Facts
On your own way of finding the information you need, it`s possible to find new ideas, totally opposed to everything you have learned by now. Moreover, you may find out that your child is completely the opposite of what you wanted. By not accepting these facts, all that you do is to eliminate from the start the possibility that you may be wrong in your actions and the others may be right. Thus, it`s absolutely necessary to weigh an idea well enough before giving your verdict. Ok, maybe your child isn`t exactly what you would consider of being “good,” but didn`t we mentioned at the beginning of this article that this notion is relative and that everyone in his own universe is “good?” – Click this link!
Don`t Compare Yourself with Others
There`ll always be people who can offer your child more than you can. Comparing yourself with them doesn`t create anything more than the feeling that you aren`t a “good mother” or that you don`t offer enough to your child. It`s not a good idea to compare your negative side with other people`s negative side, because this may lead to self-sufficiency, which won`t let you become a better mother/person. You need to offer your child exactly what he needs and how much you are able to offer.
Solve your Own Frustrations!
There aren`t few cases where the frustrations and problems of the parents affect the life of the little ones. If we are to accept a single definition of a “good mother,” it would have to be the one of a person without frustrations. Of course, it`s impossible for such a person to exist, as everyone of us have small or big frustrations. However, the fact that we are aware of their existence and that we are able to identify them help us control them, so that they won`t affect people around us. Don`t let your problems float above your child and, therefore, become their own problems, if you want for him to enjoy a happy childhood and without worries.