Saturday, May 10, 2008

Maybe he's teething and other bad parenting advice

If there is one thing I can't stand, it's people without children giving me parenting advice. It's bad enough having other parents breathing down your neck about the dire importance of your kids eating all organic food and only rice cakes for dessert, or that sand isn't in one of the four food groups. But now you have to hear from the other half of the population too!

Well, one day when your phone is ringing off the hook, the dog is sitting at the door with her legs crossed, your child (who has been asking for "juice" non-stop for 10 hours straight) has decided to take matters into his own hands by scooping it out of the dog dish, and you've been trying to eat your already mushy cereal for an hour now, I'll jump in and say something really dumb and completely useless like, "maybe he's teething." And then you'll understand why I have the sudden urge to strangle you with the jump rope I just tripped on for the 14th time today.

When random people that I know do not have kids offer advice, I feel like saying, "I have almost every single parenting book on the market cluttering up my bookcase and you actually think that your words of unexperienced wisdom is the one untapped truth I've been searching for?" I tried this approach once and ended up in an altercation with an older woman holding a huge purse with a surprisingly good arm and ended up getting escorted off the property, which was kind of awkward since it was at my house at a major holiday celebration with in-laws.

It's kinda funny about those so called "parenting experts". The ones that make us new Moms hang on every word thinking it will be our only answer to raising healthy, intelligent children. Well, I've done the research and found out some surprising "facts" about these "experts". Most of them don't have children! And the ones that do, have their kids brains removed and replaced with robot brains that make them act unrealistically sane. Well, it may not be "fact" per say. When I say "research" what I mean is, what I make up while I'm in the bathroom. Do you really think I have time for research? I don't even have time to clip my toenails.

I think what we've lost sight of in our modern there's-a-self-help-book-for-everything culture is pure, God given, intuition. Now I'll admit I've fallen into the "Dr. Sears is God" trap where I read at least 20 books claiming to be the know-all book about toddlers. What I found was a lot of confusion...and a lot of extremes (such as never saying "no" to your child or not letting them watch Shrek 4 times in a row). Okay, want some real advice? Save yourself the time and money by not buying any books. If you really feel you don't know what you're doing, take a couple hours, go the bookstore and skim them. Get a pile of as many books as you want and just skim through them. You will get the general idea, trust me!

But here's the real deal. Trust your intuition. And make it up when you have to. Those experts writing those books don't know your kid! And there is no one-size fits all in parenting. Honestly, after getting frustrated, and a little pissed off that I spent a total probably of $300 on books to learn how to control my son, I finally figured out that, get this, I can't control my son! The best you can do is guide them and teach them, love them and nurture them.....then hope it's enough to not land them in prison. Isn't that what parenting is? Trying to mold these miniature people into semi-functioning adults who don't screw up too badly? Now you'll have to excuse me while I go watch Shrek with my son.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Justice, I don't think you could get more real. I love it. You are right on that most people are doing the best they can to guess at the answers and they don't know your kid. I truly am enjoying your tales and it gives me hope that if ever I decide to be a mom that my way of doing things would be just as valid as the next person who doesn't have a clue.