Monday, April 12, 2010

Observe The End Results

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The preface of On Becoming Baby Wise states, "Examine carefully the alternative [parenting] theories, approaches, and specifically observe the end results" (page 17). Here, Gary Ezzo encourages parents to look at different options in raising children and decide what will work best for your family.

First of all, I love that he encourages parents to study different strategies out. He doesn't tell you to blindly believe that what he is saying is the best way for your family. He tells you to look at the different options.

But as a parent, looking at different options gets confusing. Most books are written quite persuasively. You can read one book and say, "Yes! This is the best way!", then read another book--on the opposite end of the spectrum, and say, "No, wait. This is the best way?"

Some will definitely speak to you more than others. For example, for me, attachment parenting in general does not appeal to me. Are there things that are nice? Sure. But it obviously isn't my thing in general. But you can and will find discrepancies even among books that are quite similar foundationally. The Baby Whisperer and Babywise are quite similar on the surface. The major difference between the two is Babywise states that a few minutes of crying won't harm your baby while the Baby Whisperer states that allowing your child to cry in bed alone will break all trust.

Yes, it gets confusing. Some parents create their own plan by choosing different facets from different books and meshing them together. For some, this works out with great results. I have friends like that. For others, things end up a huge mess. I know people like that. I don't know if it is what the parents choose, how they meshed things, the experience of parents coming into parenthood, the baby, etc.

As a sidebar (this isn't the point of this post, but I am sure people will find it of interest), my approach has been to choose one theory and add in things from other books that are harmonious with that theory. If you are familiar with this blog, you see that I have read and continue to read lots of parenting books. I first have my faith that guides me in my parenting. I have Babywise and the following books that I follow. I then take things from other books that I want to add to it. So I have my main course with pot luck from other books.

Okay, back to the point of this post. You are reading different theories and not quite sure what path to embark on. Take note of the italicized parts of the quote. "...observe the end results. " This means you look at the actual products of these theories--the children and families. You look at how these children, parents, and families are. How do the children act? How are the parents? Are they frazzled? How is the family dynamic? How does the marriage relationship seem to be?

Also consider, how does your personality compare to the parent in this other family? Different theories definitely are more compatible with different personalities. That doesn't mean there is only one type in each theory, but you will find more of a certain type in each theory. Consider also how your values compare.

Keep in mind that there is a public face and a private face. Most families look more perfect from the outside than they actually are. People aren't perfect. But a great thing about children is that they only have one face. If anything, they act up more in public than in private. So they are a great resource for deciding what theory you like best. But I think in many cases, you can also get a vibe if there is any real stress on a relationship or not.

The saying goes, "The proof is in the puddin'!" Look at the families around you for help in deciding what theory produces the flavor you want. Once you have chosen, press forward with confidence.

9 comments:

Cameron and Megan said...

Love this post. Thanks!

Sum said...

Hi Val - love your blog. I submitted this question to the yahoo group, but wanted to get your input as well. (I searched your blog and didn't find any previous posts on this).

My 10month old son has his top two and bottom two teeth already, and is currently teething (getting some more top teeth and maybe some molars). The past few weeks he has been grinding his teeth! It is a horrible sound for one thing, but I also worry that he will damage his teeth and start a bad habit. First question - do you think this is related to the teething? Second question - what type of discipline should I use to get him to stop? He definitely responds best to praise, but there's no way to praise him for not doing that - I try to very sternly tell him to stop but he just keeps on doing it... (and if it's related to teething I guess I can't stop his coping mechanism, but hope it will stop on its own). Just looking for some insight of any kind really...
Thanks!

Kyle, Courtney, and Audrey said...

Sum-

I couldn't help but flash back to when my daughter was teething and grinding her teeth as well while reading your comment... for what it's worth, my kiddo ground her teeth so loud in the beginning that it sounded like she was chewing hard candy, and she stopped when she got her next 2 upper teeth. Hope this comment helps a bit, and I can totally relate to how hard it is to hear! Hang in there!

Free Parents said...

I love this post - there are SO many different parenting strategies out there, which can almost feel like going to the grocery store and choosing from the never-ending brand selection of toilet paper! It is so important for parents to research the possibilities and make a family decision based on beliefs, values, and ultimately what works well for their family. There are so many parenting trends out there, that it is easy for parents to feel pressured to raise children a certain way, or question their own expertise as a parent. It is so important for parents to feel confident in their choices, and not let others make them question these decisions - it's YOUR family!

I just started my own blog with parenting & child development tips and would love for you to check it out! Best, Jenna

http://www.freeparents.blogspot.com/

Jennifer said...

Agreed! My sister-in-law used Babywise with her 3 kids before we had kids and I knew there was something to it because her kids are great in so many ways! I'm so glad she helped me get started on it because I love everything it has done for my family!

elle said...

Thank you so much for this! A friend of mine was struggling with many family members and friends trying to push their parenting methods on them. It's important to remember that what's best for one family, isn't always best for another.

Ikaika and Laura said...

Sum
All 3 of our boys (3,2 and 10months also) ground or are currently grinding his teeth! With our first son I tried all I could think of to stop him from doing it, but sure enough after his molars finally broke through the grinding stops almost instantly. Needless to say, with the next 2 I knew it was short lived and must be some-what soothing to their poor sore gums so I just bear it (despite how irritating it can be)! I am sure your little guy will stop soon. Just be prepared for it to start up again with the next set of teeth:)!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome everyone!

Plowmanators said...

Sum, I have no experience with that with my kids. Others have given you great insight.

One thing, though, is that my neice grinds her teeth (she is 8) and has ground them down to almost nothing. That is supposed to be due to stress in her case.

With the 10 month old, my guess is it is teething, and I wouldn't do any discipline for it. If you are worried about it, you could take him to a pediactric dentist to get some insight.

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