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. 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
Do you disagree?