Too soft or strict? How to Stop Second-Guessing Your Parenting!

How to Stop Second-Guessing Your Parenting: A father carrying his daughter while the mother is laughing on the side holding a pillow.

Do you ever reflect on your parenting and find yourself riddled with self-doubt?

You tried to be a laid-back, playful parent… but were you too soft?

Or perhaps you attempted to establish some firm boundaries… but were you too strict?

If worry and guilt have become your unwanted visitors at the end of each day, know you’re far from alone! Let’s talk about the potential root of your second-guessing and steps to overcome it.

Struggling with self-doubt in parenting? Embrace confident parenting with our helpful guide on how to stop second-guessing your decisions! Find the sweet spot between being too soft or too strict and strike the perfect balance of love and discipline.

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Why do I second-guess my parenting?

As a worry-prone mom of two, I know how easy it is to get swept up in the minute details of parenting, wondering if every little decision could somehow scar my babies for life!

Here are the four real possibilities why you might second guess your parenting:

  • You are a good parent who worries about doing right by your kids.
  • You are a good parent facing judgment or criticism from someone in your life.
  • You are a good parent who compares yourself to others.
  • You are a good parent and also a human who has hard days.

#1. You are a good parent who worries about doing right by your kids.

Let’s look at the facts about you:

  • You love your kids.
  • You spend time reflecting on your parenting decisions.
  • You want to do your best and give your best self to your kids.
  • You have found yourself on a positive parenting website and are taking the time to read and learn more!

Please allow those truths simmer a bit, and we’ll circle back to them on #4!

#2. You are a good parent facing judgment or criticism from someone in your life.

Perhaps it’s more than your own conscious questioning your parenting. It’s no walk in the park when someone you know or love has expressed that you are “too soft” or “too harsh.”

Best Courage Quotes for Kids: "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." Steve Jobs. Text in white box overlay an image of a little boy with clip-on sunglasses. Graphic by suchalittlewhile.com

I love this quote from Steve Jobs. I also know that following your parenting intuition is easier said than done.

Food for thought: what advice would you give your child, let’s say, when they mature into their teen years? Follow their heart/gut or succumb to the judgment of peers?

So much of positive parenting is practicing what we preach. It’s about modeling the values we want to instill in our kids.

If you’re up against gentle parenting criticism, I invite you to explore more resources and support here.

Overcome Gentle Parenting Criticism

#3: You are a good parent who compares yourself to others.

It is virtually impossible to truly know someone else’s parenting. Whether you’re scrolling on social media or people-watching at the playground, you have no idea what really goes on in their homes.

Furthermore, no two parents are dealt the same hand of cards. Our kids all have unique temperaments, strengths, challenges, and abilities.

I can assure you that every parent has lost it at some point. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all been “too soft” or “too strict.”

The comparison game only fans the flames of parenting self-doubt. Remember your kids care about and want you.

#4: You are a good parent and also a human who has hard days.

You’ll notice that throughout this post I’ve said you were a good parent, not a perfect parent. I can promise you that parental unicorns do not exist, and for good reason.

Dr. Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline model encourages families to see mistakes as opportunities to grow.

When our kids see us stumble, it presents a unique teaching opportunity to acknowledge our missteps, apologize, and make things right.

How to cope with parenting stress: Adopt a parenting mantra ("We're all imperfect parents and that's perfectly ok. Tiny humans need connection not perfection." -L.R. Knost)

How to know if you’re too soft or too strict

Still worried about being “too soft” or “too strict?” You’re likely in pursuit of the ultimate positive parenting sweet spot: being “kind AND firm.”

Positive Discipline: Kind and Firm Venn Diagram

Such a Little While LLC

To have more confidence staying within that zone, you’ll first need to have a solid foundation in what positive parenting is all about.

For a free workbook outlining the criteria of what positive parenting is (and isn’t!), I invite you to join the thousands of parents worldwide who have completed Such a Little While’s 30-day parenting challenge.

Stay confident in your positive parenting journey

Managing Routines & Transitions in Early Childhood: Positive Parenting Challenge PDF Workbook by Such a Little While

Graphic of free PDF workbook.  Text Reads "Positive Parenting Challenge 3.0, must-know positive discipline do's & dont's, 30 powerful, easy-to-follow tips & tools, unlock 10 key features of positive parenting, customizable parenting solutions, master the art of effective consequences).

    You’re a good parent and you’ve got this!

    My toddler refuses to brush their teeth blot post, written by Tana from Such a Little While
    Hi, I’m Tana! I’m a mom, certified positive parent educator, and former school counselor. It’s my mission to help you foster social/emotional wellness through positive parenting.
    Managing Routines & Transitions in Early Childhood: Positive Parenting Challenge PDF Workbook by Such a Little While

Graphic of free PDF workbook.  Text Reads "Positive Parenting Challenge 3.0, must-know positive discipline do's & dont's, 30 powerful, easy-to-follow tips & tools, unlock 10 key features of positive parenting, customizable parenting solutions, master the art of effective consequences).

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