If you go to Amazon and query books related to parenting you will come up with an immediate 63,188 books perfectly suited to walk every parent through the rules and regulations of raising children. There are books devoted to taking away pacifiers, others devoted to teaching manners, potty training and thousands aimed at helping you come up with the perfect discipline plan that will not just get your child to sleep, but ensure they remain respectful doing it. Perhaps the saddest part about all of this, is that these books are being bought by the truckloads, sometimes so fast that distributors cannot even keep them on the shelves. The people buying them? Smart, mostly young and new, levelheaded parents just like you.
Parenting by the book has become quite a hot new trend in the 21st century parent. Sure, it was relevant before then as well, but chances are your own parents or your grandparents didn’t buy a book to teach them how to get you to listen. They paddled your hide, demanded respect, and completely made sure that the lines between children and adult were drawn with a thick black sharpie marker. Today, that line and lineage is faded at best.
Every time a new parenting book hits the shelves and gets debuted on such stuffy shows as The View or Oprah, the author is seen as some sort of parental superstar. And parents buy into this crap without so much as blinking an eye. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that if you have had a toddler in your house in the last decade, you have a copy of Ferber’s book regarding sleep somewhere collecting dust.
I say, ENOUGH ALREADY!
Do you hold down a job? Do you manage to pay your bills? Are you able to make decisions personally and professionally every day? If so, then you likely don’t need a parenting book to guide you through the often-hellish phases of your child’s development. The parenting books all proclaim themselves to be the answer to a parent prayers, to be the hidden solution for every perceived behavior disorder that your child may (or may not) have. And since parents read them, and are able to find likenesses to their own children in the books, they believe whole-heartedly that the methods and rules will work for their child. But be honest, do they? Have they?
Probably most ironic, is that the underlying theme in nearly all of the parenting books marketed today, regardless of niche subject center around the age-old theory that parents need to be in charge. Parents need to be the ones making the decisions rather than the kids. And yet, as a modern parent, we cannot. We give our children so many decisions, choices and raise them to feel so entitled that they are spoiled with a lack of discipline. You don’t need a book to fix that.
Another problem with finding a book to help you parent, is that many of the methods and tried and true behaviors will not feel natural to you. They may go against what you believe, or your own personal mindset of familial values. Yet because they are heralded to work, proven to work and even come with some seal of approval that the methods contained therein the pages will ‘save you child’s psychological wellbeing’ parents are fooled into believing that they need a book to parent their child.
Here’s a little newsflash.
Whether you ‘Ferberized’ your child, or rocked them to sleep they will likely at some point crave counseling anyways. And no matter how politically correct you parent, and psychologically green you claim to be your child will still blame you for everything that goes wrong in their life. Ha.
Sarcasm aside, there are some parenting books that can help you along the way. It does take a pretty good parent to realize when they need help, and to recognize that their ways of dealing with their children are not producing the results they want. So, yes buy a book or two. Read up on the problem on the internet. Understand how your child is developing neurologically, and what may be causing their undesired behavior. There is nothing, nothing at all wrong, with becoming an informed and educated parent. However, this does not mean that you should throw your innate parental know-how and abilities out the proverbial window and parent line by line by a book, probably written by someone who wasn’t even an expert.
The best way to utilize the wealth of information contained in parenting books, is to pick and choose the elements that feel natural to you, and that your child responds to. You should also remain always lenient and flexible about discipline and rules realizing that your child is growing and developing so quickly things that worked last week, may not work this week. By blending your personal style of parenting with some of the tips, you can learn from parenting books, your approach becomes believable to your child. And it respects them as an individual and doesn’t attempt to stuff them into the square pages of some book that some quack wrote and self-published in order to fund his boat.
Nobody comes into parenthood knowing what to do all the time. Parenting is most definitely one of those things that you are forced to learn as you go. The desire in each of us to be the perfect parent, to raise the best child without damaging them in some emotional or psychological way is universal among parents. However, the fear of screwing up, making a mistake, or doing it wrong shouldn’t freeze us into not parenting at all, or mistrusting the loving and nurturing instinct that exists inside your heart.