Thursday, April 12, 2007

Permission to ignore...

While researching for Generation NeXt Parenting I realized that there are a flood of books out there telling parents how to best parent their children. Some of those books are great, ( I confess I even used some of them raising my three (fabulous) kids); and some of the books are, well...just plain silly.

But with so many voices shouting out that their way is the BEST, how do know which voice to listen to? I wandered if other parent's also felt bombarded by the vast amount of parenting advice? Here are some of their answers:

Tiffany: I used to but then I decided that I was only going to listen to certain voices and none of those parenting magazines on the news stands. I'm in it for the long haul, not fad parenting so I go to the word of God and I pray and then go to a book if I need more help.

Shannon: There is certainly a world of advice out there! It's a little disconcerting, especially when much of the advice contradicts. It's always a fear that you'll follow the "wrong" advice to the detriment of your kids. Just look at the changes in handling infants in regards to SIDS. What was "right" even when my 8 yr. old was a baby was changed by the time I had my second child and now, 4 years later, it has changed again. And certainly matters of discipline, character, and faith are even more confusing! I'm realizing more and more that the correct book to go to is the "Good Book" and take all the parenting advice of the world based on that. Does it agree or contradict God's word? Does it come from a godly source and is it the best I can do for my child? Beyond that, it really takes me to a closer relationship with God to both listen and let go through prayer.

Robin: No I don't feel bombarded. I'm the type of person that can tune out and ignore what I don't use!

Rene: I feel very bombarded, but I also have a pretty good filter. I read a lot of parenting magazines, and I am able to pick and choose what works for me. I know enough to say things like, "That would never work with my kid."

Michelle: There is so much parenting advice out there that it is overwhelming and often conflicting. Most often the parenting advice and books that I read do little to change me as a parent but rather just consume me with guilt and shame not only because I am not the parent I am supposed to be but also because I will most likely never become one. I also find that most advice out there lacks practical ways to apply it to my family.

Kristy: Yes, I get overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like a failure, but most of the time I take it all in stride and just tuck it away for future reference. You never know when it's something you might want to use in a different stage of life.

Julie: Overwhelmed and inadequate. Nothing in life is easy and everything around us suggests that we should, could and must...But parenting is a blessed gift and so unique to each parent and child. Parenting without prayer must feel so hopeless and frustrating. For me it is life-saving and life-altering.

Jenn: Yes, DEFINITELY...and much of it I've never asked for! All this advice has the ability to make me feel insecure as a parent; however, I try to make a conscious decision to not let it bother me. I have to wonder if the older generation thinks we're clueless or something. Okay, my son will be chomping on his hand and drooling up a storm, and someone will look at me and try to clue me in, "He's teething...he needs..." I don't understand why they need to patronize us! It's so frustrating; we're not stupid! Maybe we do some things differently, but that's our choice.

Jeanette: Yes, although I am more discerning than I used to be, as far as who I choose to listen to. If advice doesn't line up with Scripture I ignore it. But even advice from Christians can be overwhelming and there is so much out there. They all seem to have God's answer for how I should raise my kids. So my first response is not to read any of it unless a trusted friend says, "Oh, you have to read this. It helped me so much!."

Cheryl: I felt bombarded with advice with my first born. It really made me feel irritated because I felt like people thought my brain was delivered somewhere between the baby and the placenta. They were telling me things that I educate parents on everyday in my job as an obstetrical/neonatal/pediatric nurse.

I changed my tune when I got home alone with that baby crying in the middle of the night and I couldn’t fin the chapter in the baby books that told me what was making my baby have a high speed come-apart. I am much more humble about it now. And better at perceiving what my children need at any given moment. I know that it usually won’t be the same thing or each child. Just learning to know them as individuals and discovering who God designed them to be and making sure I don’t shut that down in them, is a full time job.

I found out that giving advice to parents prior to having children did not make me much of an authority. It’s amazing how the older I get the more intelligent my parents seem. LOL.

Carole: I have always been good at never over reading the parenting books and magazines. It has been important for me to narrow down authors who have the same ideas on parenting as I do. I know when you read too many articles or books on what the "good" parent should be doing it makes you feel guilty, it is hard to remind yourself that there will always be someone better than everything, parenting, cooking, cleaning, you can never be the best at it all.

Cara: There is an immense amount of material out there. I have to be selective about what I take in, so I stick to the tried and true for the most part: Dr. Dobson, The Raineys, Dr. Leman. Most of the time I find all the advice helpful, but I have to remind myself that my children are individuals and not to cram them into a box. There is freedom when I can take the principles and see what works for us.

Bill: (Laughs) No I don't feel bombarded. Because kids do something different everyday.
I heed what I feel is pertinent and weed out (toss out) the rest. What works for one child within their family dynamic might not work for a different child in a different family.

So how do you filter out the voices of parenting do's and dont's?



At Friday, 13 April, 2007, Blogger amyanne said...

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received...

Only get advice from people whose children you actually like! :)

It's a good indication of their parenting skills/knowledge.

At Friday, 13 April, 2007, Blogger cmpctjen said...

I pray, turn to the His Word, and try my hardest to listen to His voice. My children are given direction and correction. Whenever I am in doubt, a good friend is quick to point out "You are doing a good job. If you weren't they wouldn't be such angels in my home ... When you aren't looking." The Bible has been my greatest guide in parenting and no matter how naive anyone might think I am, my children make me feel good when they say "I love you all the way to God and back."

At Saturday, 14 April, 2007, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

You know we will never do things perfectly, but the other day I finished my devotions and I was heading upstairs to take a shower. It was 7 a.m. when I walked by the room of my 14-year-old daughter. Her door was closed but I could hear praise music coming from her room and her singing along. It was THE BEST feeling!

One of my favorite pieces of advice given to me was, "Live the way you want your kids to live." And you know what? It works!

Also, I LOVE this phrase: "I love you all the way to God and back." I think you're doing a great job, too!


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