Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Philosophy, Schmilosophy

Recently I've become more and more alarmed at the idea of "parenting philosophies".

It started when I read this article. And then I read several more articles on the same site. The more I read the more I realized that this author was out of her mind.

(For those of you too lazy to click and want a summary, this blog is about someone who embraces the ideas of Magda Gerber. The first link is all about how parents that use pacifiers are selfish and stifling their children.)

I feel as if the problem with any parenting philosophy is that people adopt it then carry it out to an extreme level. Magda Gerber's theories aren't all that crazy. I believe that you should talk to babies and not only use baby talk. But I don't think my daughter is going to be psychologically stunted because I treat her, well, like a baby.

Attachment parenting
is the same way. There are some good theories in it but I've seen mommies take it over-the-top. I like babywearing but sometimes I like using the stroller. Mo-mo slept in our room until she seemed ready for her crib at 3 months. And I don't think she's going to be worse off than another baby who was raised using solely attachment parenting theories because we made those decisions.

The problem with moms that adopt a parenting philosophy: they seem to think, "Huh. Here's a good idea. EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THIS MUST BE EXACTLY RIGHT FOR MY CHILD, THUS PEOPLE WHO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT MUST BE WRONG. And their poor child will grow up stunted and disturbed."

If I had to define my parenting philosophy, it would be this:

1) I don't have a parenting philosophy because my daughter has been alive for less than a year and it would be incredibly arrogant to assume that I have all the answers.

Ha ha! Of course I'm kidding. I do have all of the answers.

1) Be flexible
Don't follow every single piece of advice blindly. Just because parts of a (sigh) "philosophy" fit you and your child, doesn't mean all of it will. You are allowed to pick and choose. I won't tell the philosophy police, I promise.

2) Avoid extremes.
Moderation is key. I've read about parents who never tell their child that he/she is smart and only praise their hard work because XYZ study recommended it. Or parents that never tell their child that she's pretty, rather saying that her outfit is nice so as not to focus too much on looks. Or never let their child eat anything with sugar.

You know what? Your kid isn't going to become shallow if you tell her once in awhile that she's pretty. He's not going to be lazy just because you sometimes praise his intelligence. She's not going to be obese because you let her eat a cupcake on a Saturday afternoon.

Relax. Never say never. And pass me a cupcake.

3) Just because it's right for you, doesn't mean it's right for everyone.
I'm looking at you Mrs. Judgypants. You know who you are.

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