bottom line

October 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm 5 comments

Can you think of any parenting decision that felt horrible, but you knew (without a shadow of a doubt) it was the right one?


Probably not. Let’s let feelings be the bottom line. If your behavior in response to your child, or your child’s behavior, does not feel good, choose something else. Despite research. Despite what your in laws say. Despite everything.

If pinning your boy down to make sure that his teeth get brushed does not feel good, choose something different.

If sleeping next to your children feels good, do that.

If finding a method to stop your girl from nursing does not feel good, choose something else.

If leaving your children in daycare does not feel good, choose something different.

If leaving your children in daycare does feel good, do that.

If you want approval, you can find all the research you want to support any parenting choice you choose. Might as well start by doing, saying, and being what feels good, and then find the research that backs you.


Entry filed under: favorites, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , , .

empathy delivery the sorrow of boat covers

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hilaree  |  October 19, 2009 at 5:32 am

    Thank you for this post. Interestingly, we are trying to figure out a respectful, unmanipulative way to help our three year old son to brush his teeth or let us brush them! I feel worried that they will rot out of his head and cause him pain.

    On another note, how do you and the Natural Parenting Center usually respond to parents who ARE doing what FEELS right, but are themselves coming from a background of abuse? For instance, I have a friend who breathes a sigh of relief (she FEELS better) after spanking her children into submission. She was hit with objects as a child. I understand this is a complicated issue and goes very deep psychologically, of course, and may not be able to be answered in the comments section of a blog! 🙂 What do you think?

    • 2. nataliechristensen  |  October 19, 2009 at 8:15 am

      Hi Hilaree,
      As soon as I wrote that post I started to think about all the possible examples where someone might choose something harmful and still feel good about it. I really don’t know exactly. I am going to think about it more and talk with Nathan and Kris.

  • 3. Ivy  |  October 20, 2009 at 7:17 am

    I like that essentially this reads like giving yourself permission to do what feels right. Some days I need a lot of permission and some days I can’t seem to find anything that feels right.

  • 4. Hilaree  |  October 20, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Thanks, Natalie! You know, I still think that the post was great. Maybe more elaboration somehow….? Something along the lines of rethinking how we were raised in some ways or how our culture dictates things or…? Hm. Thank you so much for all you do!

    Basic human rights, of course, need to be in place before any decisions are made that are based on feelings. BUT – people differ on what rights are granted to children, i.e., the right to be free from harm.

    • 5. nataliechristensen  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:06 am

      yes Hilaree,
      I was taking for granted that when choosing an action based on how it feels to you, that the safety of the children involved would be protected. And l I feel I am talking mostly to parents that are, generally speaking, emotionally healthy.
      As for your friend, I wonder if she indeed DOES feel good about spanking, or if mostly she feels BETTER for not using an object to strike her child like her parents did. When I am talking about feeling good I am talking about a long term sense of good. Feeling good about your actions when you are going to sleep at night, or several years later even. I think often there is a short term release that feels sort of good but later does not. I wonder if spanking is like that.
      In any case, if anyone wonders if their feelings are greatly influenced by a trauma in their lives, then maybe a bit of suspicion is necessary before acting automatically from a feeling. A questioning might be necessary if you KNOW that there is a red flag area in your current emotional state.
      To heal these areas is a noble task. We have heard good things about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and, of course, coaching can be immensely healing.


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