Parenting advice is plentiful. If you simply open your internet browser and type in your question, millions of people with different thoughts on how to raise children will flood your computer screen. Then, in addition to the endless world of the internet, your friends, family, and sometimes even perfect strangers will offer you their advice, tall tales, urban legends, and anecdotes. That's why, in my humble opinion, you should ignore every single bit of parenting advice you hear and do your own thing.
When I was a new mom, no one close to me was also a mom. All of my friends were either single or newly-married, so I was doing this new mom thing all on my own. So I was terrified, clueless, and completely on my own. I was also learning. A lot. Figuring out what works and what didn't work for my baby was party of my new daily routine, as was following crappy advice because I didn't know any better. In my new-mom mind, all advice about newborns was created equal. I mean, how different can newborns be? So, I listened to anyone and everyone, implemented their suggestions, and parented in a way I didn't realize was potentially harmful to my kid.
But, hey, we live we learn, I guess. And I learned. I learned that even newborns are totally different from one another and that what works for one will not work for all. I learned that each baby needs to be handled based on their own unique personality and not based on some archaic advice as to how children "should" be raised. And I learned the most important lesson of all: ignore the advice.
Every mother believes her child is special. And while "special" has numerous denotations, in the truest meaning of the word, every mom is correct. Every child is special and unique and has varying temperaments and personalities. What works for one child may backfire for another. Even siblings are very different from one another. How often have you heard parents of twins say that the kids are "night and day"? So, sure, while some parenting advice may work for some children, most parenting advice won't work for most children.
Parents, just like their children, are different, with different values and beliefs. What one parent thinks is right for her child could be completely wrong or ineffective to another parent. Parents also all view their children in a different light. While some parents are self-aware and confident, others may not be and they may cling to potentially hurtful advice just because they are unsure of how to proceed.
I often hear, "Well, I tried that once and it didn't work." And when I do, I have to keep myself from saying, "Maybe you should have tried it more than once?" The implementation of the advice is way more important and crucial than the advice itself. People interpret what they hear according to their own biases and adjust the advice to fit their needs and their personalities.
For example, the "cry it out" method is very much left to the interpretation of the implementer. Some people think of "crying it out" as something to do for a few days and give up, while others stick to it for months.
While some parents may be privileged enough to not send their child to daycare, other parents may not be. Then again, some families may be privileged enough to afford to send their child to daycare, while other parents may not be.
And because everyone's circumstances and familiar situation is different, one advice does not fit all. For example, one cannot advise every woman to breastfeed their children until their children are 2-years-old, because some women may not have the luxury to breastfeed past six weeks due to lack of maternity leave or other financial circumstances.
Today, regular people, not medical professionals, believe they are qualified to give medical advice to strangers. Just because someone claims to have done "their own research" does not make that someone a pediatrician or a scientist. "Doing your own research" does not suddenly give one a medical degree from an accredited university.
Sadly, internet is full of those who have "done their own research" and now hand out advice like it's their job.
What worked in the '80s may not work in 2017. As society evolves and the people learn and science and technology advance, there are more than a few pieces of parenting advice that become archaic and antiquated. So, when your grandmother tells you kids older than 2 do not need carseats because no one ever used carseats in the '60s, you know better and you ignore that bit of advice.
At the end of the day, who really knows what they are doing? Most parents are just winging it anyway, and every parent can find research that supports their particular choices. There's only on thing that remains true about raising children: at the end of the day, if you're doing your best and consistently worried you're failing, you're probably doing everything your child needs.
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