There are few topics that bring out more self-professed experts than the topic of parenting. Everyone has an opinion.

Worse still, more than a few myths routinely make the rounds, giving prospective parents either anxiety, misguided notions about what it means to be a parent, or both. Some of them are even myths we tell ourselves.

If you’re considering adoption, here are four parenting myths to keep in mind:

1) You’ll Have Maternal/Paternal Instincts to Guide You 

There are many who believe parenting comes naturally to people; instinct takes over and guides you on what to do. We’re sorry to say that those people are misleading you.

Yes, there will be some degree of intuition at work helping you to make good choices for your child, but a great deal of parenting involves learning, trying to make good choices, making mistakes, and then learning from those mistakes.

You can’t rely on instinct. Instead, rely on your capacity to love and to learn.

2) You Won’t Do Things Like Your Parents Did

Many of us tell ourselves that we won’t be like our parents – that is, right up until the day we realize that we’re more like our parents than we care to admit.

You parents may have made mistakes raising you. You may want to do things differently than they did. And in many cases, you will.

However, it’s difficult to escape who we are and where we came from, which means no matter how hard you try, you’re going to see some of your parents’ parenting reflected in your own. Just make sure it’s the good part…

3) You Must Protect Your Child at All Times

As a parent, you’re responsible for your child’s well-being.

You are their caretaker; their safety and future is highly influenced by you. However, being responsible for your child does not mean being a hovering presence that must protect them from any and all negative things in the world at all times.

You’re doing yourself and your child a disservice if you try. As children get older, they must be given room to breathe. They must be free to make some mistakes, make decisions on their own, and discover their own ability to navigate the world.

Sometimes, even if only for a few moments, you have to let go. If they fail at something, that’s okay. It’s part of learning to be an adult.

4) There Is a “Right” Way to Parent 

Based on the hundreds of books, blogs, magazines, and articles on parenting you see every day, you might be inclined to believe there is a “right” way to parent. Don’t believe it.

While there are some universal truths we all agree on – don’t mentally or physically abuse your child, for instance – the small details can vary wildly from family to family.

Every child is different. Every household is different. There is no one size fits all means of parenting. The only golden rule is “do what’s best for your family.” Make the choices that are right for your unique situation and you’ll be doing the best that can be expected of anyone. 

There are many more parenting myths beyond these four. You’re going to get more advice than you’ll ever know what to do with.

Our recommendation is simple: listen to it all, use what works for your family, and discard the rest. As a parent, it’s up to you to discover what works best for your unique family.