Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Parenting Books Suck.

There. I said it. No surprise, I have lots of unpopular opinions.

I'm an avid reader...of fiction and have course read a lot on bed rest. It also seemed like a good idea to read some parenting books I hear people rave about. I'm not interested in pregnancy books, as I read one during my last pregnancy and it was fine, but non fiction books have never really been my thing. Plus, my pregnancy is far from normal and I can't relate to those books. If there was a "Hey, you've got one fucked up pregnancy going on" book, I'd probably check it out of the library. But I haven't seen one yet.

So I ventured into the land of parenting books and I regret it. I did like one book, and which book it is will probably give you an idea of why I didn't like the rest of them: Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay, by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. That is my kind of book. The highly recommended bible of sleeping strategies, The Happiest Baby on the Block, is not my kind of book.

Without going into details of why this book bothered me (um, 4th trimester theory? Clearly something only a man could come up with), there are many general reasons why I think parenting books are crap. I'm well aware that I'm not dealing with a newborn yet and I may eat my words...but I don't think so.

What bothers me is the mentality that these methods, whatever they may be, will work for every single baby. Not all babies want to be swaddled. Not all babies will react the same to each method. It's a false sense of security that you'll read this book, know what to do and have an infant sleeping through the night by the time they're a week old. Your baby may respond well, but your baby may not. Then what do you do?

But what bothers me even most is the need for these books, and the fact that they are such money makers, in the first place. What happened to trusting your instincts and asking your friends and family for help or suggestions when you need them? Oh yeah, I forgot. That's not always a good idea, either.

For whatever reason, women are grossly unsupportive of other women who raise their child differently from themselves. Whether it's attachment parenting versus crying it out, formula feeding versus breast feeding, routine versus no routine...somewhere along the line, instead of accepting each other's parenting styles as whatever works for your family, it became a different parenting style equalled a wrong way to raise your child. As a result, many women don't share their tips or advice with new moms for fear of being crucified because Johnny drinks juice before he's 2 years old. Who cares? Really, how does it affect them?

For me, and what works best for my family, is I'll stay away from the books that I think are crap and ask my friends and family for their advice when I need it. By the way, Kyera - I have a question about bottles. So email me, k?


Stefanie said...

Hey thanks. I wrote Sippy Cups and I hate all other pregnancy books too! I only like mine. Other people in general with their precious attitudes about pregnancy and child rearing suck. And they bore me. I like to do my own thing. And it sure isn't easy especially with one of my twins weighing it at 8 pounds at 5 months. But I don't need a book written by some pseudo know it all to tell me how to raise my children. So there! Right?

sara said...

I agree, I'm only pregnant with my first but after looking through some of my sister's parenting books I felt like if I ever saw another one it would be too soon! I'm sure you'll be a great mom and not in need of any parenting books to do the job! I hope your hanging in there okay on the whole bedrest thing. Just wanted to let you know there were still people checking in on you from lost and found land.

Sheila said...

Katie, I had no idea you were on bedrest. :-( I'm sorry! Hang in there. I've never been able to make it very far with Healthy Sleep Habits. It actually has some good concepts, but it is the most poorly written book I've come across. And when you need sleep advice, poor writing is the last thing you need!