Kerstin Sturm, M.Sc.
Psychologist, Systemic Coach

I am a mommy myself, of an adorable nine-month-old daughter! She is a very happy and active little human being.

With motherhood, the questions started to arise, faster and more numerous than I could ever have imagined. Questions regarding: sleeping, breastfeeding, carrying, healthy food, motor skills, language, social skills, illnesses, medicine, vaccinations, air quality…with all these questions, I started reading books and online articles Advice came in from well-meaning people in my life; parents and non-parents alike offering advice, whether or not I was interested in hearing it.As insecure as I was at first, I listened to every book and everybody.

Predictably, taking in all this advice raised more questions than it answered and left me even more confused and stressed than I had been in the beginning. Others told me what I HAD to do, what I HAD to avoid, and what was an absolute No GO. Sentences like “You SHOULD NOT carry her too often – she will be spoiled.” or “She will NEVER learn how to fall asleep alone if you don’t let her cry,” still resonate in my mind; even now leaving a sour residual aftertaste.

There were also people who just listened and did not come up with suggestions. Only when I asked about their experience or knowledge they started talking. Or they started collecting ideas together with me. And they talked about their own experiences, explaining what had been helpful to them and their kids. I like that – to be treated in the same way I treat people. Especially in coaching sessions, I help my clients to calmly think about potential solutions,and I avoid giving any direct instructions.

I feel it is helpful to meet parents who have children about the same age, whose joys and insecurities are similar to our own. We chat and laugh and share our insights into the same challenges and puzzles. It feels good to find solutions together and exchange information.Sometimes, it is most important just listen to one another and to share with somebody who can truly understand.

After all, I had to decide whom to trust and what to do. I quickly learned how to filter tips and information.  My conclusion is – and many mothers would say the same – trust your instincts. Soon, you will be able to decide whom to listen to and what to do next.

For example, when my daughter was sick with diarrhea, I took her to a doctor immediately.Under other circumstances, I might call my mother or a friend. Over time, I have learned to trust my own judgment and I am sure: when I situation is serious enough, I will know what to do and I will not hesitate to meet a specialist.

The Essential Learning Group offers parenting seminars, therapies from a holistic perspective and a range of other tools to help families live happily together and to empower parents to be a strong, positive presence in their children’s on-going development.