“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Expert" Parenting Styles: Where I Go For Help

I have been a parent for almost eight years now.  I am learning everyday how to be a parent. I admit I am not perfect.  So, to continue in my parenting education,  I turn to these experts.  We all know them and have them either in our family on social circle. If they are unavailable, be sure to take your loudly crying baby to a really quiet place, and they will emerge to help.


These experts are the ones, and let's face it, we have all been this kind of expert, that tell you how they are going to raise their children--the right way.  That's right, these experts do not have kids yet.  They lurk about restaurants and grocery stores looking for parents who are doing it all "wrong" and exclaim how their child is not going to pitch a fit like that, how their child will act "right" in public, and how their child will do what he is told...the first time.  Apparently, their child also won't speak, cry, get upset, fall down, get hungry, teethe, cry for no reason, need attention or anything else a child would do.  Their expertise comes from the few, short hours they spend with children in non-intimate situations, such as, Friday night high-peak dinner hours at your favorite restaurant or those afternoon I-just-need-to-grab-some-milk grocery store trips.  When advice from these experts fail, move on to our next experts.


The next experts have mastered all the required education needed from Level 1 and have advanced to Level 2 parenting.  As parents, it is quite a treat to reap the benefit of these experts.  See while you have been feeding your newborn every 2-3 hours with little to no sleep, these dog parents with been walking the dog every 4-5 hours with plenty of sleep.  While your child is refusing to eat anything except his brother's socks,  dog parents have discovered a chewed-on pair of shoes.  The similarities go on and on. These experts like to share those funny stories of how their dog pooped on the porch right next to the door (wow, training is hard), while you have had to give your children a second bath because your baby had diarrhea in the bathtub. Level 2 expertise comes from having a dog which never argues or talks back, which they can leave in a cage when they go to work,  and when the dog simply becomes a nuisance can be shuffled into the backyard. As you can see, learning from these experts is very beneficial. However, if these experts lack the information you need, try Level 3 experts.


The last level of experts are held to the highest standard.  The scenario is quite simple: you are family with multiple children at multiple ages, and when you need parenting advice, simply go to those who just had a baby.  Their sleepless nights with a four-month-old colicky baby just about guarantees they understand the dynamics of a family of six.  They can help you with unprecedented emotional outbursts brought on by a bad day at school, as well as, tips with handling an overactive child needing attention afraid of getting lost in the shuffle. They also know how to handle declarations of independence and admissions of non-independence.  Words of patience continually flow from these experts, because the constant needing and fighting and questioning and talking are quietly handled in their homes. No need to explain where their expertise comes from, these parents have had a baby in the house for under six months.

If these three levels of experts cannot help you become better parents, then I guess you are just out of luck.

Maybe if you just continue to take parenting day-by-day, learn from your mistakes, and stick with what works, pick your battles, and love, Love, LOVE your children, you might just make it through the toughest assignment you have ever been given.

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