Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Opinions are Like...

I'm sure you've heard that saying before. Y'know the one about opinions, everyone has got one. Well, that's how I feel about parenting 'experts'.

I have spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars over the years buying books and attending seminars about parenting. I have worn my library card out and have googled until my fingertips bled (not really but it sounds impressive...and messy). I am hungry for information but I learned very early on in my parenting journey not to react to everything I read, I glean what resonates with me and ignore the rest.

For every book written offering parenting tips and techniques there are just as many that give opposing advice. From the pages of these bestsellers I have learned that I should always pick my baby up when she cries or she will have attachment issues, let my baby self-soothe or he will be an insecure, whiny, self-centered adult. Potty train during infancy or my baby will grow up to have poor self esteem, don't pressure my child to use the potty because that creates stress and anxiety in her as she grows. Have my child listen to classical music so his brain will be stimulated, do not introduce any manufactured sounds to my infant because it stunts the growth of her brain. The contradicting advice is endless!

Now add a kid with extra needs into the mix and watch the experts spin!

The bottom line is this, there is no such thing as a parenting expert. Just because someone writes a book and people buy it in droves does not make them an expert...it may make them rich, but not an expert.

Read, gather information and use what works for you and your family. YOU are the expert on your own kids. Don't let a current trend or the opinion of some well credentialed writer talk you into parenting in a way that doesn't feel right or work for you. Parenting is largely instinctual and if you spend time getting to know your kids and being honest with yourself you'll find your way.

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