First of all, I’m not a reader. I don’t enjoy it, I get distracted when I am interested in what I’m reading, and when I actually do complete a book, I’m almost always frustrated and disappointed with the ending.
Second, I don’t have time to read up just to hone in on my skills. I’m too busy actually practicing my craft in real life. When I have a break from that, I’m doing something else I love like baking, crafting or sleeping.
In most parenting situations, I do what comes naturally. I’m a firm believer that parenting expertise comes from experience. Plain and simple. Maybe I have a devil’s advocate approach, but no two children are the same, and no technique will be 100% successful for every parent/child.
This week, you will get a glimpse of some wonderful parenting books that offer amazing advice here on How Do You Do It?. If you like to read, or feel the need to read parenting books, I hope what you read is easy to apply, and that it works for you. I also hope that you verbally share what you learned (only if it works for you, of course!) with those of us that don’t read.
Don’t get me wrong, I google my fair share of situations. I actually read bits and pieces of an infant sleep book back in the days of sheer mom-of-newborn-twins exhaustion. While reading the book, I realized I already was following the steps the book was suggesting – and I came up with it all on my own. Imagine that! (I’m glad I borrowed the book and didn’t actually pay for it.)
In most cases when I’ve been at a loss for innovative options, I go to the masses (the world wide web) and then derive my own path that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t work. Try and try again. A few things that come to mind that I’ve looked up in the past are potty training, night terrors, discipline and time-outs. In my opinion, there are no set answers for any given situation that are going to work for you. You do what comes naturally, and when that doesn’t pan out, investigate what comes naturally for others. Then, keep your fingers crossed that someone else’s methods, or a combination of methods, will get you the results you need.
Children are sponges and constantly learning. That being said, raising children is a learning process for us, as well. We can learn from our own mistakes in child rearing and witness direct results from a change in our approach. Our children’s responses and behaviors are results of our delivery of actions. I don’t need a book to tell me that. When I like a result, I continue the action. When the results aren’t what I was hoping for (tantrum, ignoring, talking back), I create a Plan B (… and sometimes a Plan C, then D).
There is a lot of amazing information out there based on studies and experiments. I get it, and I appreciate that. However, I honestly don’t have a desire or the time to invest in reading up on the latest parenting trend. For every concept that works, there is a complete opposite concept/approach that also works. Kind of like dieting. Eat carbs. Don’t eat carbs. Stay away from fats. Eat all the bacon and cheese you want. Each of these individual ideas worked for someone. The bacon and cheese diet sounds absolutely
wonderful absurd to me, but someone, somewhere lost half their body weight on that plan.
If I can offer a suggestion to new parents seeking parenting advice, it would be to not limit your options to one source of information. Be open-minded to what works for others, but know that it may not always work for you. Also, trust your own instincts. If you are truly struggling, know that you are not alone, and there are a million ways to reaffirm that fact, whether it be a 250 page book written by a child psychologist, someone’s personal parenting blog, an online forum or a coffee date chat with your bestie.
You can do this. Kids can be completely irrational little beings, and sometimes things get frustrating and tough. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. You have it in you, and you have enough life experience to know what you ultimately want for your children without some book telling you that.