One of the most important aspects of being a parent is to advocate for your child. This aspect of parenthood is often not realized until you have your child and their needs clash with what others are requesting. Some parents experience this as early as the birth process. You are the voice for your child, and you are the best person to fill that role. Do not hand this responsibility off to anyone else, as no one will care about your child as much as you do.
In This Article:
What Does It Mean To Advocate?
Advocacy is defined as one who defends, pleads, supports, and promotes a person's interests. As a parent, it is your role to plead, defend, support, and promote your child's welfare. Advocating can look different based on the situation.
• Requesting a family member give your baby space if they are overstimulated
• Asking the teacher switch your child's seat in class so they can see the board better
• Getting a hotel room while visiting family to protect your child's sleep schedule
• Saying no to a doctor because a request does not align with your family priorities
• Deciding not to hang out with certain friends who are less cautious than you
Understand Your Advocacy Role
Your children need you to advocate for them. They are vulnerable and do not have the scope of understanding that is required to advocate for themselves. You are also the person that has your child's best interest at heart. Not your parents, not their teacher, and indeed not the government. This is not to say others don't care deeply for your child, but you care most. Do not hand your role over to anyone else. Do not wait for others to make adjustments in behavior. It is your role to do what you need to protect your child.
Set Boundaries without Guilt
Some people do not respond to boundaries well. You may be told that you are rude, you don't care about other people or other people's relationships with your child, or you may even be advised to knock it off. These responses from other people can make it difficult to set boundaries with them. These responses say far more about them than they do about you. I encourage you to stay firm with your boundaries respectfully. This teaches people how to treat you, and this also teaches your kids how to set boundaries for themselves.
Your Child's Needs Over Other's Opinions
It seems like when a woman brings a child into the world; everyone thinks it is time to tell her what she should do. This can be incredibly confusing, especially for new mamas who are in the process of building her confidence. It also takes a little time to get to know your child and what they need that is unique. Advice is helpful if you ask for it; otherwise, it can be overwhelming and frustrating. If you find someone approaches you often with unwelcome advice, I encourage you to speak up and request that they stop. Getting advice from too many people can interfere with your confidence and make you second guess the best choices for your child and family. Have a few people who you can go to for advice and reach out to them when needed.
Good Intentions Are Not Enough
Many people have good intentions when they offer advice and behave in a certain way. Sometimes good intentions are not enough. Sometimes their behavior or their actions is still not the best for your child. If you find yourself dismissing inappropriate behaviors and comments because they didn't mean it or they have good intentions, I encourage you to stop. Good intentions do not justify bad behaviors.
Children Should Not Be Expected To Protect Adults
Unfortunately, I need to breach this topic, but I do. In recent months, there has been a very prominent narrative of this idea that children ought to protect adults. Children are to be protected by adults, NOT the other way around. If you have an idea that your child should somehow sacrifice what could be best for them for the greater good, I encourage you to take your advocacy role more seriously as a parent. It is not their job to protect or shield adults.