Monday, February 14, 2005

Philosophy 101

I saw this article about a woman who guarantees to have babies sleeping through the night by nine and a half weeks.

Nine and a half weeks?!! Are these babies breast fed?

Baby sleep -- where, how and with whom -- is such a hot-button issue among parents that it truly can lead to arguments and bad feelings among lifetime friends. The co-sleepers are enthusiastic about the benefits of sharing their bed with their baby (or toddler, or children). The Ferberizers proudly proclaim their children will go to sleep anywhere, with anyone putting them to bed.

Whether you find yourself enjoying the pleasures of waking up next to your children every morning or delighting in a parents' night out without your six-month-old, you probably find yourself thanking one of "the names" in parenting philosophies. Dr. Sears, Dr. Brazelton, Dr. Spock...the list goes on.

Many parents are now seeking out parenting philosophies before their babies arrive. They feel pressure to know whether they'll be natural families or Bible-based practitioners.

The parenting style I'm most suspicious of is what I'll call "It worked for you." Its most vocal proponents are grandparents and inlaws. They have good ideas. But they also can forcefully insist on dogmatic adherence to the ways that worked for them. Their "We did it with you and look how you turned out" presumes they actually KNOW how you turned out -- and that the factors they use as determinants are the ones you, too, value.

I think a sampling of several sources, cut with a heavy dose of self-forgiveness, and a what-the-heck openness to things that seem a little too "out there" is what has worked best for me.

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