insignificant parental advice

Feb 13 2012 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

Parental advice, it's everywhere. You can seek it out and read until your eyes cross or you can try and avoid it, only to have anyone and everyone who has ever seen a child offer up their opinion. Even the most reasonable people you know will tell you how to raise and care for your child or children. But if there is one thing that is extremely pronounced when you have more than one kid, it's that every child is different.

I've fallen onto this trap myself: something worked for you with your baby or toddler, so you're happy to share "what worked" with anyone dealing with a similar situation. Need to get your kid to sleep faster, I'll tell you what we do because ours goes right down and has for years! Instant authoritay! But unless you're a family of irresponsible douchebags making overpopulation a personal mission, there's a catch to your experience.

Your sample size sucks.

n=1? n=2? This gives you confidence that you can generalize your experience to another family? To even another child? So far my two daughters couldn't be more different, and I've only known one for 6 months. Things that worked great for the Wee One have failed miserably for the Weer One. We've come up with new strategies and adjusted to a new little being with opinions and needs.

But one thing os for sure, there is no one size fits all for kids and anyone who thinks they have the solution for whatever your child needs is most likely full of shit, full of themselves, or both.

14 responses so far

  • Heavy says:

    So true.

  • Pascale says:

    If we had stopped after child one, we would believe ourselves to be:
    Greatest. Parents. Ever.
    As my husband said, he used to look at parents in a foodcourt and wonder why they couldn't control their children.
    Then we had child two, and we became:
    Those. Parents.
    Collecting advice from a whole bunch of people may eventually give you the answer that works with your kid.

  • Alyssa says:

    Yes, and yes. The older Evan gets, the less we know. And we're contemplating adding another.

    How IS having two kids anyway?? I just don't get how people do it!!

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Ain't it the truth! The "parental advice" section is just filled with low-N knowledge advanced with the most stunning confidence it generalizes. I mean, the sleeping thing *alone* provides half a book rack of bullshittery.

  • I noticed this with my second (I used to be one of "Those Parents", now my 18 month old can come to seminars, wee!). I've been wanting to do a meta-analysis on studies of early childhood development (especially curious about the timing when kids achieve various milestones and what the variation in timing/sequence looks like)... maybe when I get my first dissertation chapter published....

  • Namnezia says:

    I always enjoy hearing how other folks solved various parenting issues since I might learn something new or find something different to try that might work with my kids.

  • Ink says:

    SO true...you work so hard to figure out what works for #1 then #2 comes along and refuses The Hard-Won Solution. It's funny and frustrating all at once. Which pretty much sums up parenting...

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'm all for sharing stories and experiences, but I find that I am often told things, rather than getting the impression of sharing.

  • PLS,

    I hate to ask this, but how much do you think you are being told because you are male? We've found that women often "tell" my partner what to do with our son, whereas they will "share experiences" with me. It's annoying.

    Along the vein of the other comments, my neighbor's twins have convinced me of the role of "nature" in child rearing. I will never again look at a temperamental child and think "what are the parents doing wrong?"

  • B says:

    There is only one truth; every child is different - every day 😛

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I hate to ask this, but how much do you think you are being told because you are male? We've found that women often "tell" my partner what to do with our son, whereas they will "share experiences" with me. It's annoying.

    I don't know what is said to my wife when I am not there, but I find that for me or when we are together, advice comes in two flavors:

    1) "Oh yeah, we had that happen too. We found that if we sang quietly it calmed our kids down."

    OR

    2) "For that? What you have to do is hold the child upside-down. It calms them down and the extra blood to the brain makes them smarter! Works every time!"

  • proflikesubstance says:

    How IS having two kids anyway?? I just don't get how people do it!!

    Well, for the 6 months we've done it, it's a mixed bag. On the one hand we know How To Raise A Kid. On the other, we have no sweet clue what to do with the new bag of tricks we're experiencing. We've been lucky so far that there has been harmony between them, but starting back at the infant stage after getting to the small person stage is a little crushing. Just like with the first, you take each day anew.

  • MediumPriority4Life says:

    Gets no easier with#2 for a while. #2 grows up in a world totally different from #1.

  • Hermitage says:

    My parental units were ready to throw in the towel after baby #1, they were so over it, then goofed up and got me.

    Bad thing for them was, baby #1 was the GOOD one. Hehehehe. They earned their spawn-funded retirement, that's for sure.

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