We asked readers to channel their inner Carolyn Hax and answer this question. Some of the best responses are below.

Dear Carolyn: Is this a form of impostor syndrome? My oldest is starting preschool this year, and I’ve been to a couple of parent orientation events. Even though I am hardly a “young parent” (I had my first at 33), and it’s statistically likely that many of the other parents are my age or younger, I have this weird inferiority complex around them.

I can’t get past the feeling that they are somehow wiser or more experienced than I am, that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to child development and I’m just winging it. Does everybody go through this? Will I get over it and, as I hope to, find a peer group and maybe some friends during this phase?

— Preschool parent

Preschool parent: There is so much pressure on parents to be everything for our kids. Your insecurity around the other parents belies your (very common) fear: you don’t know enough about kids to do a good job raising one. Most likely, this fear is misplaced, and the fact that you’re worrying about it likely means you’re an attentive, caring parent. I would also venture to guess that you’re used to feeling knowledgeable and in control in other areas of your life, and you’re feeling a bit “out of your depth” with parenting, which leads to insecurity.

The good news is that you do not need a degree in child development to be a good parent. Share the lessons you’ve learned from experience and intuition, and listen to what the other parents have to say. Likely, over time, you’ll recognize that we’re all just doing our best and figuring this out as we go. And if you really care deeply about the science of child development, there are endless approachable ways to learn more, such as podcasts, books, and social media groups that align with your parenting style.

In the meantime, remind yourself that knowledge about the science of child development doesn’t necessarily correlate with good parenting. The latter requires primarily warmth, attentiveness and love — qualities that don’t necessitate any special knowledge.

— Lindsey Flannery

Preschool parent: As a young parent who is no longer young, my advice is to recast your emotions around this issue as simply a combination of your desire to be the best parent you can be and the social pressures that come with having a child in preschool.

The first is something you share with most, not all, parents and can be channeled to give your child as wonderful of a life as you can. The second is unnecessary at best and toxic at worst. Comparison is the thief of joy, someone wise once said, and this is a mantra that you should repeat to yourself often throughout the years that your child is a child and even a young adult.

Note that nothing that I wrote has any relation to your age or the age of the other parents. That is because the art of being an excellent parent is not directly related to the parents’ ages. Correlation does not imply causation. I can’t claim credit for this wise statement either, but it applies here. I have known excellent parents who are older and younger than average, and average is only average within a limited geography.

I’ve been though the preschool circuit more than once in several states. The friendships you make will be transient most likely. People move, children grow up, circumstances change, etc. I have found that I am happiest if I keep my expectations for friendship with the other parents to a minimum and socialize with them only with the intent of supporting my child’s friendships at that time. I also prioritize keeping up with the friends that I had before I became a parent. Nearly 20 years later, my closest friends are some, no all, of those people. I cannot count a preschool parent among them. I wish the other parents well, but simply having children in the same year is not reason enough to become lifelong friends. If it happens for you, count yourself fortunate. You can’t force lengthy friendship any more than you can force lasting love.

— Kimberly

Preschool parent: I’m an experienced preschool teacher. I have worked with many, many families over the years. I’m also a mother of two. Believe me when I say no one knows exactly what they’re doing when their children are this age. Some parents are more confident than others, some children are “easier” than others (for now; this will undoubtedly change and fluctuate over the years), but child rearing always includes an element of the unknown. Get friendly with that.

What you need is one friend among the parents. Identify someone you might strike up a friendship with, and try out a few meetups/play dates. You might not become BFFs, but you’ll have a friend, an ally, and someone who understands your life with preschoolers the same way you can understand theirs.

My school offers lots and lots of opportunities to get involved with our community — not in the classroom, but at social events, community service events, and, importantly, parent education sessions to address specific areas of child development. Avail yourself of any similar offerings at your child’s school. I could go on and on with this topic, but I think that is the most universal advice I can give.

— A.D.

Preschool parent: I felt the same way and it prevented me from forming friendships with other parents all the years I was raising my kids. Also I was shy which didn’t help. Much later I realized I was no more or less wise than any of the other parents about raising kids, and no more or less prepared, and that in fact some of them liked me and would have been friends if I’d given them the chance. You get over it by realizing that you’re just as wise and worthy as you think they are, and that many of them probably feel the same way you do even if they don’t show it.

— Older and Wiser Now

Preschool parent: Our son is 31 and I still feel like I’m just winging it.

— Do they ever grow up

Every week, we ask readers to answer a question submitted to Carolyn Hax’s live chat. Read last week’s installment here. New questions are typically posted on Fridays, with a Monday deadline for submissions. Response are anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself and are edited for length and clarity.