How to sift through parenting advice

kiddos

Superpowers!

With all the parenting advice out there, what’s the best way to approach it? According to one dad, Neil MacFarlane, whose article appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, he says: “Advice on parenting advice — don’t listen to any of it!”

I’m one to talk, right? I write weekly advice articles for SwimSwam.com and I love to tell parents how to do a better job. My thoughts come mostly from my own mistakes–or my husband’s. Once in awhile, I see parents making the same mistakes and I think if only they knew what I know. So I share it.

However, in public, I wouldn’t think of walking up to someone and tell them what they should do with their kids. It has happened to me a few times. A relative or a complete stranger would tell me to my face what I was doing wrong or what was wrong with my children. You have to love these folks, right? They may have no idea what is going on in your life, if your child missed their nap, is sick, or that sometimes it’s wise to pick your battles.

I did find the “don’t follow the advice” pretty funny and well written. Here’s an excerpt:

When people heard I traded in my joysticks and pen a parenting column these days, the first thing a lot of them asked was, “So, do you have any advice for me as a parent?”

As it happens, I do: don’t listen to anyone’s advice about parenting.

I know there are people who fancy themselves as parenting experts, many of whom are respected and have forged entire careers on the subject.

I’m sure there are wonderful articles adjacent to this very column that fit this profile; I wish their authors nothing but success and happiness.

But the fact is, any parent who thinks they are an expert on any child that is not their own is delirious.

Sure, we can all agree on some broad stroke parenting tips: Feed your kids. Occasionally bathe them. Make them brush their teeth. Send them to school. Don’t let them play with kerosene. And so on.

But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty stuff like lifestyle choices, discipline methods and ways to engage and encourage your kids, it baffles me that some stranger thinks they’ve got my kids all figured out. Hell, I barely have my own kids figured out and I live with these maniacs.

For example, I know some parents who’ve adopted a strict “no screen time” policy with their young children. No iPads, no video games, no TV. Nada.

Like communism, this sounds good on paper, but I think this is madness, personally.

You’re basically setting your kids up to be like Brendan Fraser when he emerges from that fallout shelter in Blast From the Past the moment they have to go to school and realize they’ve been living in the dark ages their whole life. They’ll basically want to spend all their free time at their friends’ places and you’ll wonder where you went wrong.

But that’s just me and how I feel. I’d never chew out a parent who thought that was the best course of action for their kids. Maybe their kids have attention issues I don’t know about. Perhaps they have found ways outside of technology to stimulate and engage with their kids that work for them. It’s not my place to judge.

robkatrockWhat do you think about people who stop you in public to judge you or your kids?

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