Notes on Parenting

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

Friday, March 11, 2016

Parenting by the Book: 5 Rules of Caution

by: Dyan Eybergen RN

Parents often strive to raise their children "differently" from how they were brought up and resort to popular parenting books to help them make decisions regarding their children. As Samantha Schoech wrote in her 2014 article entitled "Why I'll Never Read Another Parenting Book": Anxious parents are big business, and parenting books — along with baby monitors that track breathing, baby baths that digitally control water temperature and tutors for preschoolers — are an important segment of the insecurity economy. 

As an author of my own parenting book (Out of the Mouths of Babes, 2008) I couldn't agree more. Here are 5 rules of caution when perusing through the tombs of parenting advice on book shelves:

  1. Trust your intuition. It doesn't matter what the advice is or the credentials of the person who wrote it or the research behind it (if there is any research behind it); bounce it off your own parenting radar and if it doesn't resonate with you, don't be swayed by it. 
  2. The difficulty with parenting books is that the advice most often given is of the one size fits all variety. Most parenting strategies do not take into account the specific dynamics of your family and the temperaments of your children. Not all parenting strategies will work in every scenario with every child. For instance, time out would not work well with a child with separation anxiety!
  3. In every interaction we have with our children we should strive to preserve their integrity, and your own integrity for that matter. Ask yourself: Does this parenting strategy help my child to learn? Am I being a good role model here? If the answer to either of those questions is NO, then revisit how you are interacting with your child. 
  4.  Don't be fooled by the books that suggest you are a bad parent for not doing this, or that right. Making mistakes is human and parenting is not a role immune to making errors. Don't fall into the trap of doing everything " by the book"  in pursuit of being the perfect parent. There is no such person. Accepting that will make your life a whole lot easier!
  5. It's perfectly okay to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and develop a parenting style of your own that works for you and your family. You don't have to subscribe to one philosophy or one theory. Try them all on, see how they fit! 



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