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  • Lori K Walters

Three Cheers for Parents saying I Don't Know

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

One of the biggest misconceptions about parenting is that we’re supposed to know how to do it.

You’ve heard the line, I wish this child had to come with an instruction manual. But joking aside, when coaching parents, I often hear an underlying belief that they should know how to do it.

Becoming a parent is a natural biological process. Birds do it. Elephants do it. Humans do it. Our grandparents, siblings and friends. And we sometimes think: I should be able to do this. I should know what to do right now.

If we aren’t careful, it can pull us down into shame, self-doubt, frustration, isolation… Not to mention how we might project that onto our kids.

So today I’d like to give three cheers for simply saying I don’t know. I don’t know what to do right now. I don’t know how to answer my child’s question. I don’t know how to move my body right now. I don’t know what to say to have the positive effect. I’m not even sure what facial expression to make.

I don’t know.

When we admit that we’re in the dark, when we pause and really register it, good things happen. When give ourselves a blank canvas and the opportunity to paint from our own instincts as they arise.

When we say we don’t know, we unlock our resourcefulness and can take a step forward with curiosity and ingenuity instead of shame or frustration.

When we say we don’t know, this is the honest answer. We model for our children what it means to be a perfectly imperfect human. And in honesty we find our way of parenting with integrity.

Today’s question is: What gifts have you given and received by saying I don’t know?

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