Recently we talked with Mercedes Samudio, an LCSW, parent coach, speaker, and bestselling author who started the #EndParentShaming movement and coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting.
We talked about parenting without shame and how to create a family vision with our kids based on our values.
We asked her, “What if our kids don’t share our values? Or don’t attain the goals that we hope for? What if our children don’t live up to our expectations?”
Mercedes explained the problem with our expectations for our kids is that they often rely on a pretty narrow view of how families are portrayed in the media and especially from the dominant perspective (white, middle class, cisgender, heterosexual, educated). She says that when we see more diversity in families in movies, TV, and media (and even in the parenting experts that we follow) then it gives us ALL more flexibility to define success and create our family in different ways, to follow our own values, and to let our kids find their own ways to thrive.
When you give yourself more freedom to be the parent you want to be, you also give freedom to your kids to be the person they want to be.
What she says is pure gold for rethinking the narrow (unrealistic, perfectionistic, and even harmful) standards we have for ourselves and our kids.
Mercedes Samudio says:
- We have created our own expectations for ourselves and our family and we can modify those expectations. We can give ourselves more freedom.
- There is a difference between expectations (something we passively hope will happen) and goals (something that we are constantly working towards). If we concentrate on our goals, we allow ourselves to grow and heal.
- We all need more diversity with how families are portrayed, beyond a narrow set of ideals, and more diversity of the parenting experts that we follow, so we can see how success and life can be done in different ways.
- We already have ideals. Our identity as a parent continues to shift as our kids grow up. Ask yourself, “Who am I? What values do I have? What strengths and weaknesses do I have? What experiences have I had?” After we ask these questions we can make choices about how we want to show up in our families.
Get more information about Mercedes Samudio and her book Shame-Proof Parenting.