If you don’t trust your parental instinct more than parenting books, you’re setting your family up for failure. Strangers don’t know best, after all. The reason your parental instinct is better than parenting books is the same reason you don’t drop the kids off at a stranger’s house – it can be dangerous.
First of all, many of the problems you encounter are not in those parenting books anyway. The world has managed to survive for thousands of years without the publishing industry to guide parents along. Pamela Paul wrote a revealing book called Parenting, Inc.: How the Billion-Dollar Baby Business Has Changed the Way We Raise Our Children, an inside look at how the industry of raising our children is duping us into spending stupid amounts of money under the false pretenses that we’re going to be raising children safer, smarter and destined for success.
The truth of the matter is that when I was pregnant, I devoured any book about pregnancy I could get my hands on. This was totally uncharted territory, and I wanted to know what was going on in that womb of mine. I even read a few books while my young child was coming along, but soon I discovered these books were doing more harm than good by creating unrealistic and flat-out wrong expectations of what to expect. Now, I advocate for burning parenting books instead of reading them – or at least following my parental instinct first, at the very least.
There are a myriad of common sense facts that explain why instinct is better than parenting books:
- If you’re reading books, your not spending time with your kids
Reading and research takes time away from the task of parenting. I found that after my son was born I had no time to read. Any spare time I did have I wanted to spend with him – that adorable little pumpkin. Whenever I got into a book, guess who wasn’t getting my attention?
- Parenting books can’t teach discipline
Some kids should be put in time out, others spanked. And sometimes it changes depending on the child’s phase in life. But how can a book know the subjective nature of my own child? Parental instinct is better than parenting books because of the lack of context these writers have. They don’t know your child.
- You already know what parenting books preach
I don’t need a childcare book to tell me the really important stuff, like not to let my son run out and play in traffic, or to tell me that he shouldn’t be chewing on that electrical cord. As long as we end each day alive and healthy (and with neither one of us in jail), I consider the day a success.
- Know-it-alls create insecurities
Because parenting books preach milestones and standards based on kids you don’t know, these parenting books can make a parent think his or her child is failing. We all know those moms who brag about their child being an early walker, but you can bet that same mom is stressing about the child being a late talker. Inevitably, your child will exceed at some things and fail at others. Don’t create schedules or false hopes based on the next door neighbor – or an author you don’t know.
- Authors of parenting books can be idiots
Keep in mind that just because you can write a book doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. While there may be some good parenting books out there, there are many bad ones. Check out this list of the five worst parenting books doing more harm than good. There’s even a book advocating you whack your child with tree branches in the name of God. Yeesh. Some people just don’t know what the heck they’re talking about, and they should not be considered “experts.”
- Grandmas think parental instinct is better than parenting books
A Grannynet poll found that grandmas in Britain thought their kids should do away with the parenting books and ask them for advice instead. Enough said.
It’s only natural to want the very best for our children. But when we start getting ourselves into listening to what the supposed experts think, we stop following our own parental instinct. It’s our parental instinct that we should rely on instead of parenting books to create happy babies and children throughout their lives. After all, kids don’t want to be considered a science project to be vetted against other kids and so-called experts. Instead, treat your children as the unique individuals that they are.
The commercialization of our children is creating a terrible message that parental instinct is not the first thing we should be following. We must stop the nonsense immediately.