Other Parental Advice

A fellow mother asked yesterday if Willow was walking yet.  She isn’t.  I said that we’ll say, “Look you are standing.”  Then Willow plops down on the floor.  This mother said that she isn’t walking at 14 months because we are giving her too much attention in regards to this milestone.

We did the same acknowledgement with crawling and rolling over.  Willow did both of those early.

I’m trying so hard not to get aggravated by such an innocent remark.  This mom didn’t mean any harm in her comment.  She probably thought her comment was helpful.

This morning a friend posted a hilarious video of a dad trying to get his kid to sleep.  The video sharing itself would have been fine.  He prefaced the sharing with the statement, “I do the “go to sleep” method and it works every time.  I don’t know why some parents find it so hard.”  His blanket assumption caused frustration levels to rise.

I told him the comebacks I’m listing below:

1.)  Every kid is different and that might have worked for your one kid.

2.)  There are studies that indicate crying it out can cause increased cortisol levels which is the stress hormone, even when babies are quiet and sleeping “peacefully”.

3.)  Every parent has a “go to sleep” method so that isn’t really a proper term.  I let him know that the method he uses is cry it out or transitional cry it out.

4.)  Note:  I didn’t tell him this:  Even individuals who say cry it out is fine as a sleep training method would advise doing this practice for a baby under 6 months old.  (I know he started doing it when his daughter was brought home from the hospital.)

I get so irritated at these things.  Why?  It is irrational to do so.

When I first brought Willow home, I would post articles about parenting and say this was the “correct” method.  I had everything figured out.

Then a couple months passed.  After about 10 months I got pregnant with my second child.  After having a kid for a little while and then expecting a second, I began to learn that I don’t have it all figured out.  I’m figuring out this parenting thing day-to-day.  I’ll think something has worked one day and then try it the next day, only to have that method fail.  God is humbling me.

Now, I’ll still make comments about the way others do things.  I guess that is human nature.  It isn’t how I would do something and variance in decision making choices is always perplexing to a person not personally making the choice.  However, when it comes to parenting, I am slowly coming to realize that each child is different, even children in the same family with a similar upbringing.  Personalities vary greatly, in adults and even in children, even at birth.  We are designed with traits specific to us that are intended for our specific contribution to God’s kingdom.  Nature plays a role in development too.  Too often we want to blame nurture.  Don’t get me wrong, nurture plays a significant role, but nature is involved too.  Anyways, I say this to make the point that I have my child and other parents have theirs.  Methods that work to soothe my child might not work for their kid and vice versa.  I can give advice, but hopefully one day I’ll learn that parenting advice is often unwarranted and unwanted.  Fellow parents really just want support, to know that while we feel like failures, we are all, for the most part, just trying to do our best.  Only the parents of a kid are around the child enough to know what will work for their family and it is society’s job to mind its own business, unless of course there is an issue with neglect or abuse of the child.

Parental wars will cease when we are humble enough to admit that we aren’t experts.  Humanity is sinful.  Sadly, we are narrow-minded more often than not, even when we try not to be.  May we remember our short-sightedness and move ever closer to extending grace and mercy, especially in parenting, in spite of our perceptions and personal inclinations towards “child-rearing rightness”.  The important thing to remember is that most parents are trying to do their best.  Just because something worked for one particular child doesn’t mean it will work for another.  Admit you don’t have it all together, be willing to laugh at yourself, and find freedom in living humbly.  When we can do this, we’ll move closer to being less judgemental of others, especially their parenting styles, and perhaps maybe, even less critical of ourselves.  Maybe when we extend compassion to other parents, we might be able to do so with ourselves;  we will stop feeling like perpetual failures.  Our children would benefit from this.  Let’s try to be supportive in these murky, un-navigated waters rather than enemies storming already battered boats.

*Also, individuals who claim to be experts in these fields because they are psychologists, teachers, doctors, etc. have a wide array of opinions and studies to back up their claims.  Even these experts don’t have your kid.  Their methods weren’t applied to your child’s personality.  What worked in their studies might not work for you.  Pray and trust that God gave you instincts on how to best raise the children entrusted to you.  He did give you your child, not someone else’s (fyi, when you adopt, that is your kid even though genetics would state otherwise).  God will equip you to raise your child if you ask him for the wisdom to do so.  You and only you were entrusted with your kid, not anyone else.  No one is a better expert on your kid than you.  (As stated previously, this applies in most cases.  Most parents love their kids and are doing what they think best.  There are exceptions as in abuse and neglect, but for the most part, parents love their kids and aren’t trying to damage them.  Embarrass them, maybe, but harm, no.  (Let’s be honest, it is hilarious to try and embarrass your kid.  They will try and do the same to you.)

So as I’ve mentioned several times, cease the parental wars.  They are futile.  Let’s encourage one another, building each other up so that it will benefit us and most importantly, our children.

(And maybe one day I’ll stop being so sensitive and these comments/articles won’t bother me.  I know this won’t happen while I’m an emotionally and hormonally charged pregnant lady though.  I would ask for forgiveness, but I’m pregnant, it is summer, and I can’t get comfortable.  Perhaps I should complain less and be less argumentative or offended as a “good” Christian should, but I’d like to hear views from the pregnant women in the Bible, not Paul’s.  Heresy? Maybe.  Ah, I’ve digressed.  Scatter brained.  I’m going to play the pregnancy card again, to my husband and friends’ chagrin.  I know it is over-used and cliche, but it is applicable and why not use it while I can?  hehe.  Anyways, make peace, not war.  Yeah, I am a bit of a non-drugged up hippie.)


2 Replies to “Other Parental Advice”

  1. Thanks so much Jamie. It is nice to hear. I keep praying I’m doing well with her. There is so much mom guilt all the time. I try to combat it with Scripture and just knowing she’s a kid who giggles and smiles a lot, but sometimes it is hard. I really appreciate the encouragement you always give. Also, thanks for being a part of her life and a positive role model for her. It meant so much to me to have you assist without me even asking the other day. I’m truly blessed by our friendship.

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