Monday, February 24, 2014

Raise Your Child the Way You See Fit

I get so tired of reading, day after day, all of the parenting advice that is out there.

Of course, often we seek the advice.  My baby sleeps sometimes and sometimes she doesn't.  She eats well some days and other days she doesn't.  So obviously, I try to find answers, or at least something I can do to help her lest I feel helpless.

However,  I feel overwhelmed by all the advice.  I get that we need to pick and choose what we think will work for our own families.  Still, that is rather difficult to do, and sometimes we still can't figure it out.  But if we try to heed all of the advice we read and hear, we will go crazy.

I recently read this about the "cry-it-out" method.  Granted, it is a few years old, but it came out right about the time that my fifth child was born and contributed greatly to my mom guilt, even though I had let my older four children cry at times.  The thing is, these articles tend to not distinguish between the truly damaging crying (orphans in filthy orphanages overseas who are left to cry for hours and hours because there is not enough help to care for them) and crying that helps keep the sanity of a mother going crazy (having to take care of kids who are 18 months apart when they are young, sometimes you had to let one cry to meet the needs of the other). They also don't seem to take into consideration the generations and generations of capable people who turned out just fine despite being left to cry it out at babies. Honestly, this kind of article makes me crazy. Of course, that is because I am guilty of letting my babies cry but more than that, I feel that my children were not damaged by it.

Besides that, a lot of the parenting advice given today is very child-centered.  The article referenced above states

A government pamphlet from the time recommended that "mothering meant holding the baby quietly, in tranquility-inducing positions" and that "the mother should stop immediately if her arms feel tired" because "the baby is never to inconvenience the adult."  Babies older than six months "should be taught to sit silently in the crib; otherwise, he might need to be constantly watched and entertained by the mother, a serious waste of time." (See Blum, 2002.)

Now, I'm not saying this government pamphlet had excellent advice, but I also don't believe that a child will be damaged because her mother puts her down when her arms are tired and because she is no longer in her mother's arms, she cries.  I really don't think that will damage a child.  If her mother threw her down or slapped her in the process, that would be damaging.  If her mother never held her, claiming she was too tired, that would be damaging.  I feel that whole notion is very child-centered.

Yes, I believe that good parents sacrifice a lot to be good parents, but I also don't think they should sacrifice everything and let the child rule their life.

I also believe that a lot of the advice given today does not necessarily lend itself to raising the quality of human being I want to raise.  I believe in things like good old-fashioned work, making kids wait for things, sometimes telling them words like no and never, making them walk places (walk!  can you imagine?), letting them fail (crazy, I know!), and letting them solve their own problems.

Parents, your job is to provide food and shelter and security for your children.  There are many avenues to get there.  Seek advice, but don't try to do everything.  And remember, if you are trying and you are doing what you think is best for your family, don't let the naysayers make you feel inadequate.  You are not inadequate to raise the child that was given to you.  You are just the person that child needs to have as his or her parent.

1 comment:

BYU Hottie said...

You must have gotten A's or A+'s on all your papers in college. You are a great writer! Insights into your heart for sure.


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