Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Parenting In The Information Age: How Do You Best Learn About Parenting?

I vividly remember coming home from the hospital with my first born.  I kept thinking, oh my goodness, what is the matter with these medical professionals?  Are they actually going to let me take this little person home with me?  The whole situation seemed surreal at first.  Although I had read numerous things about parenting, I still felt like I had no idea what I was doing in those early stages.
New and seasoned parents alike are most always on the search for the most current information on parenting issues.  There are several methods in which parents can obtain the type and quality of information that they are looking for.  Parents typically receive information from nonprofessional, professional and media sources.
1.      Nonprofessional sources:  The most common nonprofessional sources sought out by parents are family members, friends, and other parents.

2.      Professional sources:  Attending parenting conferences and gathering input from a child’s teacher can be a compliment to the nonprofessional sources previously mentioned.

3.      Media sources:  Books, television, radio, newspaper, and internet are commonly used media sources.  Research shows that parents use media sources to gain information that will compliment the nonprofessional and professional sources (Radey & Randolph, 2009).
Among the various types of family life education websites, parenting websites are ranked second-most popular (Elliott, 1999).  Parents recognize the importance for their children to have internet familiarity for future success, which further encourages parents to use the internet as a primary source of family life education (Radey & Randolph, 2009).  The internet is a highly convenient source for all types of parental groups.
According to a study by Radey and Randolph (2009), parenting sources ranked in the following order: books and magazines (94%), family members (80%), internet (76%), school staff (70%), friends (68%), television (60%), newspaper (40%), radio (32%), and parenting workshops (29%).  The majority of parents obtain information from a combination of nonprofessional, professional, and media sources (Radey & Randolph, 2009).  The more types of sources a parent uses to gather information, the more likely it is for parents to make better informed decisions for their children.
Each parent is most familiar with their unique preferences to obtaining family life education.  At times it can be quite useful for us to step out of our comfort zone and obtain a different perspective.  For example, if you are the type of parent that prefers to gather information from family, friends and magazines then consider possibly gathering some information from other sources such as a parenting conference or the internet.  The internet provides a wealth of information for parents on a wide range of topics to assist them along their parenting journey.
Elliott, M. (1999). Classifying family life education on the world wide web. Family Relations, 48, 7-13.

Radey, M. and Randolph, K. A. (2009), Parenting Sources: How Do Parents Differ in Their Efforts to Learn About Parenting?. Family Relations, 58: 536–548. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2009.00573.x

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