Here’s the thing—I can’t possibly be an expert on your children, your family, or you.
I could give you information about child development and brain function. I could (and will if you give me the chance) encourage you to be really gentle with yourself as a parent and person, to take good care, and have self-compassion when things feel hard.
No, that is never one size fits all. Anyone with more than one child will tell you that they just come out different—each their own whole and unique person. Sure, they are not Precious Snowflakes in need of hope chests full of crap, but they are small, unique developing people.
Perhaps it did not occur to our mothers that we needed individual consideration, just as it did not occur to them to quit drinking diet soda—but I have to ask: isn’t that stuff just REALLY BAD FOR YOU?
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
Maybe all five of Ms. Hatmaker’s children thrive when locked out of the house for long, sun-drenched summer days. Maybe they don’t vary that much along the scales of temperament. That is wonderful. But not all families are the same. As noted here, sometimes the needs of one person in a family are very different from others. It is not indulgent, permissive, or bad parenting to make space for these differences; to accomodate, to reach for our kids with a desire to understand who they are. This is not coddling—this is relationship building. I’d also say it’s pretty good modeling.
If I could get you to do one thing differently in your family, it would be to notice more and judge less. Tune into the small people you share your lives with—they are people—little human beings who warrant your respect, care, and attention.
We may have turned out just fine, but what might happen if instead of fine, we aim for amazing?