Parenting Fads - Take Them For What They Are Worth

Remember Baby Einstein tapes and DVDs? And how about breast-feeding — was it in or out when you raised your kids? These are just a few examples of how parenting practices and ideas can come and go in our popular society. Should you buck these trends or work them into your overall parenting plan?

Making Choices And Living With Them

I should say for starters that I did have a few baby Einstein tapes when my kids were babies. I’m not sure I bought into the whole idea that they would become smarter by watching them, but I liked the idea that they were listening to real classical music while watching something totally baby appropriate. I had it on in the background when they were playing, and also for distraction while my oldest was recovering from surgery during her first year.  also, I breast fed my kids. I know I wanted to do it before I knew whether it was in or out that year.

Overall, I’m not sure how much these choices have affected who they are today. Our parenting is really a huge compilation of millions of choices over the years – some good, some great, some awful, and some that make virtually no difference.  How do you know what to do with the latest parenting book, the interview you saw on TV about getting your baby to sleep, and everything you see on the internet?

Know Yourself And Look To Other Parents You Respect

First, you have to know yourself.  Babies do not come with a manual, although I looked for one with my oldest when we left the hospital!  I had to figure out what I wanted to be as a parent and what kind of habits I wanted my children to have as they grew.  I also looked to my past because I felt my parents have done a pretty good job with me.

You may or may not feel that way about your upbringing, and you may have some uncertainties about yourself when you become a parent. In that case, look to other parents who have raised their kids the way you would like to raise your own. Find out what they have to say, any books they have read, and who they look up to.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you fit your style, your goals and your child’s needs all at once. If that means a few baby Einstein tapes but plenty of personal interaction, so be it. If that means you decide to bottle feed your baby, then go for it. Use what you see in popular culture  for ideas, but don’t let social trends ever overcome your own instincts about what’s best for your family.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Hélio Costa