Parenting through your blindspots is a rather important concept for several reasons. A parent shared that she did not know that her son had been unhappy in his school because he had been bullied all year!
I thought he would eventually settle down and get on with it. This is an example of a parenting blind spot. A blind spot is defined literally as “an area where a person’s view is obstructed”. A blind spot is an unseen area, everyone has blind spots because no one is able to have all the facts.
As a parent, you are the CEO caregiver. You are naturally biased because you love your child more than anyone else; only less than God. Parents always have the image of your innocent and adorable baby.
Think of your parenting blindspot like driving a car. When you try to change lanes by glancing in the side mirror you might not see the car nearby. A quick turn of your head and taking your eye off the road for a split nanosecond can avoid a collision.
It is the same thing as a parent, there are times you need to literally take your eyes off the road to make sure you are getting a total view of your child.
As a parent you most likely see comments about your child as criticism. Even if your spouse criticises your child you might not take it lightly, talk less of someone else.
Everyone suffers if parents make a lot of mistakes along the way. Somehow, the child you adore and the parents themselves are left to wonder what went wrong. It can be rather sad when parents have spent resources and efforts on raising their child and things did not turn out as expected.
Here are some tips to avoid parenting blind spots so you are not “blindsided” by things you did not pick up in your child or your parenting style.
- Admit that you do not know it all! This is the first major acceptance needed.
- Admit that though you are the parent, you have specific gifts and talents, it is unlikely that you are an all-rounder. Maybe you are not the best teacher for your child. I still remember the red clock that my mum used to teach me how to tell time; combined with the many slaps I received in the process. I still hesitate to tell the time now and prefer to use digital watches!
Parenting Requires Support
Build a team around yourself and your child; a solid support system is something we all need to help us on this parenting journey.
- Let your child have a few trusted people who are not his parents who he can open up to as this helps with parenting blindspots.
- As a parent; listen to other people because a comment here and there can open up a world of information you did not know about your child.
- Empower all educators around your child to be open with you. This includes the class teachers, the music and drama teacher. All feedback helps you get a better picture of your child than you could know by yourself.
- Spend time doing diverse things with your child, this will enable you to see a different side of your child. For example, let your teenager spend some time in an office setting for the summer; you might find out he or she is awkward interacting with people outside his school and home.
- Finally, accepting you do not know it all does not make you a bad parent; it simply makes you a realistic parent.
The bottom line is that no parent has a 360-degree vision; there are things that will fall into our blind spot. It is probably advisable as a parent to know that you do not know it all and then take some steps to reduce surprises.
Perhaps you have examples where there were things you did not know and someone pointed it out to you about your child or your parenting style?