Under scrutiny

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Since I’ve become a parent I’ve been aware of the feeling of being under scrutiny from others. Whether this is a ‘normal’ feeling as a parent or something unique to adoption I don’t know. Of course none of us as parents know what we’re doing most of the time, at least we feel like we don’t. We may have had great role models in our own parents but still struggle with the confusion that is parenting. Should we let them watch TV or not? Is shouting allowed or must we always be calm? How honest can we be with children about our lack of wisdom on what to say and do? A million and one dilemas we face every day.

So how does this feeling appear? Well as an adoptive parent, when you become a parent overnight as such – scrutiny is everywhere. Friends and relatives look on as your dreams come true of having a family. Well meaning wishes that you will bond as a family, that the children will settle, that they will be happy and that we as parents will be too. Of course that’s great, that people want the best for us as a family but recently I’ve thought of the other side to this surreal journey of adoption.

The decisions we make as parents are often looked at closer then if we weren’t adoptive parents. People see our struggles more maybe. Others think they understand our children and what kind of parenting they need. We ourselves feel our own inadequacies every day and doubt our own decisions. I wonder if the fact that we know the devastation our children have already felt in their young lives adds more pressure to ‘get it right’?

This could also be absolute rubbish and in fact the scrutiny I feel under is all in my imagination?! Whatever it is, it has made me wonder what I can do to feel at peace with the decisions I make and the constant process of trying to parent my children. Do I just ignore the microscopes around me and get on with what I think is right? Or should I take note of what others say and think? Or is it maybe something in the middle? As you can tell form my ramblings the answers are not there yet.

However if you too feel the scrutiny of those around you then here’s some questions that may help you:

  • Is the scrutiny external or internal? In other words are others really watching and judging your decisions or is it your own feelings of inadequacies and doubt?
  • If external how important are those people to you? Are they people you respect and whose opinions you value? Do they know and understand your children?
  • If the above is true then take a step back and ask yourself is there some truth is what they say?
  • If there is then can it add value to your parenting? (we need to be open to change as we grow as parents)
  • If the scrutiny is internal – are you beating yourself up for being human? Or are there things you can learn from your own doubt…..how can you change in the future?

Either way – whether external or internal scrutiny, think about who understands you and can support you on your journey? Find those people who empower you when you spend time with them, not who bring you down. Especially in those moments of doubt – make sure you talk to people who can identify and empathise, but also challenge you to grow and develop as a parent – for your own sanity as well as for your children’s sake!

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