On Experts: Why no parenting expert will have all of your parenting answers. 

Lesley Glenner

 

While becoming a parent may be one of the most natural things in the world, there are many aspects of parenting today that don’t come naturally at all. Caring for infants and children requires a specific set of skills and aptitudes. There is no official training for this. And our fast-paced modern lifestyles have us woefully estranged from our true nature and tribe mentality of our ancestors.   So many of us are left feeling “less than” when parenting challenges arise. 

We may do things the way our parents did, or perhaps the opposite of that way. We tend to do what we know. And we don’t always see all the options available to us. 

Further, some major global forces are reshaping contemporary life today and some of the advice on parenting and corresponding coping mechanisms for life transitions have worn thin. 

So when you see these limitations, and you want to be a more conscious and effective parent, it’s natural to look for someone who can help. 

 

The false promise of an easy answer

Unfortunately, parenting experts, coachies, and programs that claim to have the “secrets” to success in any area of life are nearly ubiquitous today. 

Sure, it’s tempting to think that if you could just find the right expert to consult, that everything will fall in place. 

Unfortunately, it’s mostly an empty promise. This is true in any area, but especially in parenting. Family dynamics are complex and deeply rooted. They are highly personal and individualized- not easily generalized or able to be summed up simply without being overly reductionist.  So just learning a new technique may get you through the day, but it cannot address the deeper issues.  

The bonds of love bring out the best and the worst of us. The psychology of exactly why this is, runs deep. The bottom line is that if we want our children to become emotionally competent, we need to be more so ourselves. The answers of “how to parent consciously” come, in part, from attuning oneself to become both an observer and participant of life experiences parenting brings, as well as continual adaptation and growth.

 

Traveling alongside vs. talking down

It takes time to master relational skills needed to be healthy parents raising healthy children. 

Raising a child in a conscious home requires the space to think, to grow, and to adapt to changes along with the child’s own development. You have to go through the experiences  rather than around them. 

So while no one person will have all the answers, it is possible to get help and guidance that will make a real difference to the entire family.  

What parent couldn’t benefit from attachment therapy-informed guidance coupled with the wisdom of community reflection? Where you are genuinely seen — you understand your own individual needs in a way that improves your ability to get what you need and then meet the needs of others. 

This is fellow traveling, and it is what I do. (And its a practice and a dance)

 

Attachment-therapy informed reflections: HoloBeing and the Fulfilled Family Fellowship

Advice-giving is actually the antithesis of HoloBeing’s Fulfilled Family Fellowship offering. Members of our community do a deep dive in listening, learning, and growing. We cover a range of topics, such as: 

  • Mothering myths and fathering expectations
  • Reaching alignment as couples 
  • Setting guidelines vs. making comparisons 
  • Setting your own standards and paths forward

There is a path to self-actualization for the whole family. While I’m absolutely allergic to advice, I have seen wonderful things happen when peer groups provide deeply thoughtful and considerate reflections and simply witness our struggles. At these moments we begin to see  for ourselves what we need. 

 

So why do we turn to experts for parenting advice? 

Parents mostly want their children to be happy and “well-adjusted.” As parents, they hope they will contribute positively to their children’s character and that the children will then be able to face adversity and be able to overcome anything life throws at them. 

We’re all looking for ways to make meaning in this life, and we need tools to handle change and build resiliency through life’s many transitions. The answers are within us. To find your answers within, I encourage you to check out the Fulfilled Family Fellowship program–a year-long journey toward greater family joy. 

 

 6 Questions to Ask Yourself about Experts:

 

  1.   Is there a “cultish” vibe?  

Is the teacher on a pedestal?  Is this person considered “more enlightened” than the rest of us? Or as someone with gifts and limitations? If you find yourself surrounded by starry-eyed followers striving to behave like their enchanted leader, run.  Remember, you’re looking for solutions, so don’t get “hooked” on the information dispenser.

  1.   Are other paths honored as true and valuable?  

Does the method or teacher tell you that his way is the only, best or most expeditious way?  Are you being told that all your problems will be solved if you simply commit to this one way?   

This smells fishy, doesn’t it? Although it can be useful to deeply engage and learn progressive steps, any path that is not inclusive of diverse thought is not high quality.

  1. Do you perceive the expert as “walking the talk”?

Certifications and education are fine, but how does a leader to whom you are drawn actually live in the world?  Remember, teachers can only bring you as far as they have gone themselves. Keep that in mind when you choose who to trust as a guiding light on your path.

  1. Does the method focus on treating symptoms rather than root causes?  

The highest-quality educational paths create deep, lasting, profound, permanent, and foundational change.  Many pop-psychology and coaching methods bypass the deeply uncomfortable, even painful, processes necessary for true insight and change. Techniques that focus on eradicating symptoms without addressing deeper imbalances or wounding, often either don’t work at all, or provide only temporary relief.  

If a method promises you can have whatever you want without encountering any challenges, keep your credit card in your wallet and look for teachers who don’t shy away from darkness, messiness and authenticity.

  1.   Does the method or teacher understand and respect your complexity?  

A true teacher or coach should never make you feel ashamed or separate in your difficulty. There is no symptom, behavior, or pain that has not been experienced by millions of other humans. There is, as they say, “nothing new under the sun”. Your process toward lasting change will be unique and complex.  Whomever you trust to help you should be able to hold this paradox.

  1.   Does the practice/ teacher/ healer view all people as intrinsically healthy?  

Find out right away if your teacher or guide thinks you are broken and needing to be fixed.  If that’s the message, move on!  

A true beacon knows that whatever coping mechanisms you are struggling to release were developed early in life so you could survive an unsupportive, or even frightening situation, and you did the best you could at that time.  Even if “doing your best” parenting doesn’t  pass muster on a particular day, you are inherently whole, healthy and intrinsically good.

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Lesley’s virtual private therapy practice is centered on conscious parenting.

The greatest dedication in my life is to my child, Jude, who enters kindergarten this year. Additionally, after 8 years in private practice seeing both couples and individuals struggle with wounds from their own parenting and issues around raising their own children, I’ve found that helping clients to parent in a more conscious and securely attached manner absolutely lights me up. Following the thread of what is most alive in my personal and professional lives helped me crystalize the idea to introduce conscious parenting as the focus of my practice. ~ Lesley Glenner

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