Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No, I Don't Know What the Hell I am Talking About, but do You?

 I got a simple e-mail the other day stating that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, to which my reply was, “Of course I don’t.   Why should I?” 

For real, why would I know anything more than anyone else about parenting?  It isn’t like the parenting books and magazines are all that helpful.  Sure, I get some pretty kickin’ recipes every once in a while, but, other than that, what good are they?  I get all the information I need from the Pediatrician’s off and that is the milestones and average ages when things like walking and talking start.  You want to know what the best part of getting most of my info from my son’s doctor’s office is?  It’s the fact that there they aren’t trying to sell me anything.  They just want the best for my baby.  Just like me.  The pediatrician doesn’t hand me articles about how to lose my love handles or how I can look good in a bathing suit by the time summer arrives.  No, I get handed a sheet of paper that explains milestones on my child’s growth and development.

I have never understood how all that other crap ends up in parenting magazines anyway.  I swear 75% of the articles are about making mothers try to look better, 10% of the magazine is filled with advertising to make mothers feel bad about themselves so they will buy whatever crap that is being sold, 5% of the magazines are about nifty quick meal or daycation ideas, and the last ten percent of the magazine will have actual content that has something to do with parenting.  That last 10% could contain anything from behavioral advice to eyewitness accounts of poor parenting practices.  It is a total crapshoot, and sometimes you lose big time.  I am always wondering before I open the magazine whether or not it will be a total waste of time, but I always read them anyway.  What can I say?  I’m a gambler!

So, there you have it.  Of the entire magazine there may be 15% of it that might offer some actual “useful” information.  Now, if I never read any parenting books, which I have largely given up on, I would say that there really is no reason that I would know anything about parenting at all.   But, the real question is, “What do you know that I don’t?”  For real, I would like to know.  I always like to hear advice or receive anecdotal wisdom from other parents because I always assume that I am doing something wrong when it comes to rearing my baby boy.  I also assume that I could gain some vital knowledge and foresight from other as well.  Unfortunately, that rarely if ever happens.

It is just so confusing whether I am supposed to only use positive reinforcement to illicit the behaviors I want from him or should I tell him no and actively correct the behaviors I don’t want from him.  Which method is better?  What about getting my little man to eat healthy foods?  How do I do that?  Well, I have read that some people just don’t offer them anything else, while others say cut up fruits and vegetables and throw them into the foods that the kid does like?  Which way works better? 


I have so many other questions with so many more answers that nothing seems to make sense anymore.

Well, after I thought about it for a second or two, I believe that the answer to these questions vary from family to family.  I don’t care what the childcare professionals say.  There is no way that one method of child rearing will work on every single kid.  That notion is just ridiculous!  Unfortunately, parenting is just one of those things that we have to figure out on our own.  Sure, we’ll get help from other people, but by no means do we have to take everyone’s advice and incorporate it into our lives.  That would be impossible.  Especially since most of the advice we, as parents, receive is contradictory from previous advice we have received.  In fact, the best advice I have ever gotten from anybody was this. 

There is no sure fire way to raise your kid.  Just love them, feed them, cloth them, take care of their needs, and you will do just fine.  The rest will come to you.  Don’t be afraid to make a mistake once in a while. 

So, no, I don’t really know what I am talking about as a parent, but I am relatively certain that no one else really does either.  All I know is that I love my son tremendously and that I am trying my damndest to do everything I can for him.  I know full well that I am going to screw up every so often, but that doesn’t mean I am going to be a bad dad.  It just means that I am going to make a mistake here and there.   Be honest with yourself.  Can you do any better?    

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