Blogpost: Hey Internet, Stop Telling Me How To Raise My Child www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby blog

Hey, Internet, stop telling me how to raise my child!

Blogpost: Hey Internet, Stop Telling Me How To Raise My Child www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby blog
photo credit: carbonated via photopin cc

Regular readers of the blog might have figured out by now that I love a good read, a real rummage around for facts and knowledge on a subject. I have a lot of books about a lot of things. Some of them have been life-changing. ย A lot of them have been shit.

I made a very curious discovery about myself last night, when I should have been sleeping but instead I was messing around on my iPhone. I realised that I haven’t read any parenting books in a long, long time.

This is a good thing because it means that for quite a while I’ve been feeling confident in my parenting decisions, not doubting and questioning myself, and I haven’t felt the need to refer to others or see what else is out there. We’re just doing our own thing and not minding anyone else.

Tell you what though, I’m very glad about this. My bedtime phone messing found me following a link from a blog post to another link to another link on a parenting site with probably the biggest index I’ve ever seen about toddler problems. It was a Q&A longer than I was prepared to scroll down through that had such gems as:

My toddler won’t eat broccoli! What can I do?”

“Why does my toddler refuse to brush his teeth?”

“Should I put my toddler on the naughty step?”

“My toddler wants to be carried all the time. What should I do?”

“My toddler keeps sticking things up his nose. How do I stop her?”

“My toddler can’t kick a ball yet. Is there something wrong?”

My curiosity then lit, I googled other toddler issues. Folks, there are literally hundreds upon thousands of websites that have super-helpful black and white rules on solving “problems” with my toddler with prescriptive instructions that will fix everything in a simplistic but authoritive fashion – even problems I wasn’t aware I had.

Why didn’t someone tell me? It never even crossed my mind that my curious, happy, mischevious 19 month old needed to be “disciplined”. Five minutes of reading had me more depressed than discovering the end of a packet of biscuits. Any more and I’m fairly convinced my confidence would have been shattered contemplating all of the problems other people thought I had but I hadn’t realised yet.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for all things parenting and family-related but ho hum I think we need to take these things with a pinch of salt sometimes, particularly when advice is proffered by people with a) no children themselves and b) little to no experience of the problem under scrutiny.

So I say hey, Internet, stop telling me how to raise my child! We’re doing just fine without you, thank you.

PS Here’s how I’d answer the questions listed above: 1. Nothing. He might eat it another day. 2. Relax, not the end of the world 3. No. 4. Carry him. 5. You can’t. Relax, not the end of the world. 6. No, stop reading milestone checklists. All babies are different.

In fact, maybe I’d answer “Relax, not the end of the world” to all of them ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Do you disagree?

15 thoughts on “Hey, Internet, stop telling me how to raise my child!”

  1. LOL agree but then again I am on my
    Second child. With my first I just had no clue what to do and not much in the way of instincts, so I did find online groups helpful –
    I would go and browse the forums on mothering.com and usually find someone had posted something similar to my concerns or worries that helped. My first is a highly sensitive child so I was definitely flailing in the dark at times and the forums helped
    Me
    With ideas of How to deal with tantrums etc in a loving and gentle manner. I guess I knew
    How I wanted to parent but not necessarily
    Sure of how to get there if that makes sense!!!! Not sure I am making any sense
    Here but I do know what you mean. On my second have much more confidence but still like advice on new issues (he’s a
    Hitter for example where
    My eldest never did
    That and yes I know it
    Can be a phase
    And it will pass its just
    Looking for tools to use
    Until it does!!!

    1. Now I do enjoy a good forum – especially one with a similar parenting philosophy as you – where you can post and respond to specific issues particular to you and your experience. I really like mothering.com!
      It’s the general “here’s what you do in all instances” bullet-pointy bossy ones that I’m not a fan of. Like “your child should really have 1000 words by x months” and “don’t back down when your child is having a tantrum in a public place” kind of vibe ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yes! Tools! Tools are great. Helpful and adaptable. I totally get what you mean – and completely agree. Mama-to-mama support is still the best kind I think – in person or online.

      2. Yep completely agree Mind The Baby – really dislike any of that kindof stuff that says what they should be doing, when….it sets up huge fears for parents who are terrified they are getting it wrong/doing something wrong. Sigh! How did it all get so complicated! (lets blame the Internet LOL!!)

  2. Oh the toothbrushing is one I just can’t skip. We’ve had battles fought over that one, but he is surely now aware they will all turn BLACK and STINK and FALL OUT if he skips it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Of course, Elmo’s brushing teeth song on the Sesame Street YouTube channel helps a lot!

    1. See, now there’s a practical tip you can get on board with! I bet you won’t see that on an expert advice page ๐Ÿ™‚

      I suppose my point is more the making issues seem bigger than they are that need “fixing”. I would have thought kids and toothbrushing would be natural enemies and a fact of life that we all have to learn how to deal with – rather than a “behavioural problem” to be made feel guilty about when you think you’re the only one chasing their little one around the bedroom brandishing a Winnie The Pooh toothpaste while everyone tuts about your bad parenting behind your back. Am I making any sense at all?

  3. Yep, so much. I ended up with one parenting book I liked and trusted (Penelope Leach) and one web site I consulted regularly (AskMoxie.com). And then I mostly followed my instinct.

  4. I think it’s more than just the internet at fault. The media in general seems determined to set out the “right way” to raise a child, working under the assumption that the methods prescribed by baby trainers and toddler trainers are somehow the right way, and that responding to a child’s needs and paying attention to the differences between individual children is a laughable hippyish notion. I read this blog post the other day and thought it was very interesting: http://sarahockwell-smith.com/2013/02/04/why-do-the-media-happily-promote-dangerous-baby-trainers/ Totally agree with her that the media seems to happily sensationalise normal baby behaviour in order to sell TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, etc. After all, if it’s true that the majority of babies continue to wake at night well after they turn 6 weeks or 12 weeks old, then of course if you tell parents that the wakefulness is a fixable problem, instead of a normal behaviour, they are going to feel “oh god, I must be doing something wrong.” I think I mentioned to you before that the first time I read the No Cry Sleep Solution, it opened my eyes and calmed my soul, because it was the first place I ever read that the sleep patterns my son was exhibiting were normal and not something that needed fixing. It’s amazing the difference a change in mindset causes, because as soon as I stopped seeing night-waking as something that I had to address or solve, it became so much easier to deal with. And of course a while later, he starting sleeping through anyway – without my interference.

    1. Wow, that’s a really great post. I haven’t come across her blog before, I’d be very interested in reading more. Thanks for the link Lisa. You’re right about the media as a whole. I singled out the Internet because I think when you’re feeling vulnerable it’s the first place to turn because it’s so easily accessible. This post was partly inspired by something I read from an “expert” who was recommending keeping cuddling to a minimum at bedtime. I just saw red. I can’t for the life of me think of any situation – even if they had the most infectious disease in the world – where I would consciously choose to keep cuddling my child at a minimum. Am I over-reacting???? But that’s what my instinct is telling me…

      1. Nope – not over-reacting. The longer I’m at this parenting thing, the more that “don’t spoil the child” advice drives me crazy. We have a society that lacks basic empathy for other human beings in so many ways, and I have to wonder how much of it comes down to the “at arms length” type of parenting that was preached for years. How can you learn the importance of thinking of others and putting other people first if no-one puts your needs first when you are a small child?

  5. So very true! I know someone who is learning to be ‘parent’ from youtube! I had an overload of criticism at the weekend and I felt like the worst parent in the world. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and if that means getting our coats and wellies on before 7.30am to make tiny snowmen to make T happy, so be it. I also got a frown from the old lady in the shop last night because we walked and it was dark & drizzly!

    1. I don’t believe you – YouTube?! I’ve heard it all now ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m with you all the way, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing too! Building snowmen at 7:30am is probably the best use of that time in the morning I’ve ever heard xx

      1. I am going to judge you right now. 7.30 is acceptable, 7am however ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Kidding, I think it’s great that kids want to go outside and play, so important!)

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