If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during the 21 short months that I’ve been trying to hone my parenting skills, it’s that there is no perfect way to parent. Oh, but Dr. So-and-so’s guide to perfect parenting and your pediatrician’s oh-so-helpful (yet poorly timed and sometimes teetering on condescending) tips and hints would suggest otherwise. Look, I’m not discounting some of their claims or writing them off as crazed, know-it-all, I’m-smarter-than-you-because-I’m-a-doctor people. However, they are not the ones parenting your child(ren) nor are they capable of knowing and understanding your child(ren) when they only see them for a half hour every few months. Yet, everywhere you look, you find these guides, how-to books, and manuals on parenting authored by doctors and pediatricians.
Nobody knows your child(ren) better than you. Therefore, you tailor your parenting style around them to best suit their needs. Yet time after time, you are told that you’re not doing it right because Dr. So-and-so’s guide says otherwise. As if the stress of parenting isn’t enough in and of itself, you are now faced with the pressures of the societal status quo of parenting that is based on as many ideas as a person can cram between two covers, publish, and receive endorsements for, and is taken verbatim in comparison to real life experience.
I believe one of the greatest tools of parenting is flexibility. There are certain areas where consistency is needed, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing about parenting that is consistent. You will always be walking a fine line between judgment and rationale that can only be balanced by flexibility. A book cannot teach you how to find that balance.
For us, our way of finding that balance is by doing what works. It may not always be right in the eyes of the “experts” who have somehow universally mastered the art of parenting, but as long as your decisions and methods are always in the best interest of your child(ren), it can’t ever be wrong.
Guides, how-to books, and manuals should be reserved for things that require systematic processes. Things that require consistency. Neither of which, in broad context, define parenting.
In short, we are raising children, not robots. So let’s put the books down and use the tools we were given by life. When it’s all said and done, you’ll find that you never needed a book at all. Experience is the reference for life, and that’s something that you’ll never find in any collection of ideas between any two covers.