There are so many new “developments” in parenting. I hesitated to use the word developments because to me, development usually implies ‘growing, moving ahead, improving upon’ and I’m not so sure that all this new parenting stuff is really all that wonderful.
One perfect example is parenting styles. Before there were ‘good parents’ and ‘bad parents’. And now? Let me name a few: Attachment Parents, NVC Parents (non-violent communication), Positive Parenting, those who follow the Baby Whisperer, Gentle Discipline, Baby Wise … I could go on and on. And then there are those that take one of those methods and take it to the extreme- making everyone else who follows those styles look like a bunch of crazies.
When did this start? I’d honestly like to know when it went from a bunch of parents doing the best they could to winding up at these groups of parents who are afraid to go outside the boundaries of what their books say.
Books are obviously, not a bad thing. Getting parenting ideas, not a bad thing. We all have methods that seem to make most sense to us. Things that we are comfortable doing and that seem to be effective in our households. I just think that somewhere along the line, we as parents have forgotten how to think for ourselves. I think we spend too much time judging and worrying about being judged that we often don’t listen to our instincts, forget to listen to our babies and children and forget to take our noses out of the books and make our own choices. I feel very fortunate that I am somehow blessed with an “I really don’t care what you think” gene. Not that I don’t welcome opinions and solicited advice, but when it really comes down to it, I don’t care if I’m being judged for my parenting choices. Some of the people closest to me who’s parenting advice I do value think I’m a quack (Hi Mom!) but that’s o.k. I’m happy with how my girls are turning out and so far, wouldn’t change any of my major parenting choices.
I’ve talked to many moms who’ve asked me what my parenting style is and what I think of other styles. I can’t even answer that. I hope that my parenting style is just that – MY parenting style. And it changes all the time to adapt to our situations, to each individual child.
If I had to classify myself as something, I think I’d fall under Attachment Parenting. Even that I hestitate saying because of some of the people who’ve driven that to the extreme and made all these good ideas look crazy. Like baby wearing- I’m all for that (if my kids would have enjoyed it) but do think it’s excessive to have your baby strapped to you 24 hours a day – and yes, I know some moms who do that. Co-sleeping: great! Breastfeeding on demand: Ideal! Responding to your babies cries: good! Letting your baby set their own schedule – awesome! Those are a few of my viewpoints.
Whenever someone does ask me for parenting tips and asks me to recommend a parenting book, my answer is usually the same. If you want to read, read a lot of them and then pick what you think will work for you. Don’t follow any book word for word because I guarantee not everything in a single book will work for you. The book says your baby needs 4 oz. of formula at this age but seems hungry after? Give them more. Those are the types of things that baffle me. Not every baby is by-the-book. We are all going to find something that we like best and we are all going to come across things that make us shudder. It doesn’t mean that they are wrong, it just means that they aren’t things I would ever feel comfortable doing or are pieces of advice that I would never dream of putting into action. For me Baby Wise and folks like Dr. Rosemond are definitely things I would never feel comfortable doing, some of it actually gets my blood boiling and I can’t imagine working for my girls if I did. BUT, some people love it, swear by it even.
This turned into more of a rant. Oops!
I guess the idea behind this post was supposed to be me encouraging you to be Eclectic Parents, picking and choosing what works for you, being confident enough to bend the rules and wise enough to do what you know is best.