Beyond the Books–parenting tips


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’ve decided to do the Beyond the Books meme sometimes, because I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is parenting tips.

Will this matter when she’s 16?

My daughter potty training her doll

My children are grown and have flown the coop. But the best advice I remember from when my oldest was a toddler and I was trying to potty train: “Is this going to matter when she’s 16?” In other words, whether it takes a week or a month isn’t going to matter or be remembered when she’s 16! I discovered when I had my first child that parents are quite competitive when it comes to their kids. The milestones: “When did she begin to crawl?” Walk? Talk? Use the toilet? Read? And it goes on and on. And if my child does it earlier than another child that was good–Right? And I should let other parents know–Right?!! Wrong!

Now when l look back I can see that we were all uncertain. Not sure our child was developing the “right” way or soon enough. And if we could say “Suzie walked when she was nine months old” that must mean she’s doing great and is smarter than all the other children.

We were all stressed, wanted the best for our kids and not sure we were doing it “right.”

Books and well-meaning advice

I tend to turn to books when  something new is happening and/or I’m stressed.  So as soon as I was pregnant with my first child I read and researched about pregnancy, birth and childhood. I went to the library and bookstores so I had lots of books to choose from! Plus advice from our parents and other mothers. And I discovered as I read: “experts” often didn’t agree. And it was stressful to read all the different advice. What was “true and scientific” tended to change over the years. The best advice was that there is no “one” answer for every child, that we will make mistakes. And that we need to love our kids and try to do the best we can.

The end-game

I learned I didn’t have all the answers, but neither did books or other mothers. I did decide when my daughter was potty trained wasn’t going to matter when she was 16! I did decide to relax and learn to follow my instincts. And love and enjoy my daughter (and two more children when they came along). And listen to experts like my pediatrician when necessary. I used my mantra: “Is this going to matter when she’s 16” over and over again. Sometimes it mattered, but most of the time it didn’t.

What about you? Are you a parent? What are the best and worst advice you’ve received?