Parenting is a non-stop occupation. You never know when the next question or crisis will arise, so it’s a good idea to have some handy resources at the ready.
When we’re new parents, the first source we typically call upon is our parents, right? They raised us after all, and we turned out pretty well, didn’t we? But when considering the advice you get from your parents, remember that they might not be especially objective. Truth is, you might not be objective about them and their advice either. That, in fact, can make your parents one of the worst potential sources of parenting advice, because both sides are seeing things from what may be a less-than-objective point of view.
Next in line, we typically turn to our best friends and fellow parents, as well as professionals (family doctor, teachers, clergy, etc.). But these may not be the best resources for parenting advice either. Why? Because we may be looking at our relationship with them (especially our best friends) just as we did with our parents. We respect the relationship, or the title in the case of professionals, and, therefore, we may tend to automatically give credence to advice from these sources.
So, instead of automatically seeking and accepting advice from these traditional sources, here’s what I suggest doing:
First, when seeking advice on parenting from anyone, examine that person’s experience with children as well as with the particular issue on which you’re seeking advice.
Next, examine how that person relates to children, interacts with children, communicates with children, and what sort of value system that person has regarding the parenting of children. If it’s similar to your own, that’s a good foundation.
You might also seek out specialists (therapists, counsellors, etc.) and, if this is the case, you must again apply these same criteria:
– Is the professional/specialist honest, yet tactful with you and your children?
– Is the specialist objective, yet caring?
– Does the specialist have experience as a parent, or with your particular child’s issues?
And what about school-related issues? If you take your problem to a teacher or school counsellor, consider that you may be revealing more about your child or your family than you should. While I wouldn’t necessarily rule out such discussions or resource professionals, just keep in mind that you don’t want to bias a teacher in any way against your.
We all need parenting help and advice at some point. Just remember to do your homework on any source (i.e., consider and weigh the source), and proceed with caution and your own best judgment before leaping to accept any advice.