January 10, 2008

What is the worst parenting advice you've ever gotten?

I go to Starbucks nearly every Wednesday when our babysitter comes. It is near the house, smoke-free and a decent place to sit n' knit. It is like having my own weekly Stitch n' Bitch where I am the only audience for my litany of complaints. I sit with my iPod, sticks and yarn while I escape for an hour in thoughts. It is pretty nice.

Yesterday, I ordered my usual 3 shots of espresso and as the "barista" handed it over she commented, "You're crazy!!". It was all I could to not retort back, "Actually, you are the one who is crazy. You call yourself a barista, yet you are not even pulling your own shots because that automated machine back there does it for you and furthermore, you just served this to me in a cappuccino cup instead of a demitasse". Somehow, I did not think she would appreciate, much less comprehend the sarcasm. Whatever. For the record, 3 shots of espresso has less caffeine than most of the fancy drinks dispensed there AND no sugar.

The other day, I went up to get Arun when he had woken up from his nap. He was crying and I checked to see if his pants were wet from a leaky diaper. I exclaimed "Oh good, your pants are not wet!" and he sniffled back "No, eyes are wet. EYES are wet." Cannot argue with Toddler Logic.

Another question from Goofy Girl: "What's the worst parenting advice you've ever gotten?" I generally do not talk about what I am about to talk about. It is a loaded subject and one I do not care to argue about - everyone has to do what they feel is best for their child, so why fight about it? Right? However, since Goofy asked, I will answer.......

Without a doubt, I think the worst advice has been variations on the theme of "Just let your kid cry it out. Otherwise, you will spoil him". Yeah - that makes a lot of sense. And folks, I am not talking about fussing for 15-30 minutes or so. I am talking about crying. Sobbing. Wailing. Against my Mommy Gut, I did try it a few times and ended up with a shaking, snotty, puking kid. Who then took even longer to calm down than the original amount of attempted CIO. Again, the Mommy Gut? Needs to lose a few inches, but she still holds true.

My favorite Wise Parenting Tome, The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderlandd is based on extensive brain research by Jaak Panksepp. I LOVE this book as it looks at the science of what is going on in our wee ones' heads. Often, our kids do not make sense to us and this book helps us to understand why (I love the section on tantrums - GOLD.) {EDITED: I had a bit of a diatribe here about my anti-CIO opinions. Then, I went to take a shower and thought about it. Yeah, this is my space to rant, but I felt my diatribe was not respectful to my friends. We are all just parents, trying to do our best. So I deleted some of what I said. I left the part about the book in because it truly is one of my favorite parenting books and does a great job of explaining why CIO can be harmful to your baby. Still, I would love to hear what your own worst piece of advice has been. Peace.}


meno said...

From my mom who said, "You can't just have one! She'll be spoiled and lonely"

Ha, watch me.

Jenny said...

I honestly can't remember any of the bad advice I got, because I sort of just got used to listening to people and then ignoring them and doing what felt right anyway.
But I did let my kids cry it out, especially at night, although I didn't know at the time it was called "Ferberizing". I didn't read any help books except The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, and I read that one because it was hilarious and most of her advice worked for me in some way. I never ready BabyWise, or What to Expect...or any of that, because truly the best advice I did get was you can't learn how to be a mommy from a book.
When I say I let my kids cry it out, I temper that with knowing in my gut that it would work. You can tell when a kid is so damn tired that a little crying wears them out to the point of relaxing and falling asleep. Just like you can tell when they are so worked up and going over the edge into bad territory that you have to soothe them to help them calm down. Its an instinct, and all mommies have it, some of us are just better at trusting ourselves than others.
PS - I would love to meet you at your Starbucks sometime and hang out quietly, although Starbucks is no longer on my diet, but I can have a green tea, Ommmmm....

Leah said...

The worst advice I got was when I got bad breastfeeding advice from my ex-pediatrician. I stopped going to her, but honestly it is good that I knew my stuff because she could easily have sabotaged my ability to breastfeed with her "only bf for 10 minutes per side," "don't let her use you as a pacifier," "use formula to help your nipples have time to heal," etc etc etc she kept on like that until I switched to a new, intelligent pediatrician.

Christy said...

The worst advice I received was regarding co-sleeping. Everyone kept telling me that it wasn't safe, which I think is a load of crap. Doesn't it disturb these people that SIDS is also referred to as "crib death".

Anonymous said...

"Eyes are wet." Mine are too, now.

Worst advice? Hmmmm. "Potty-training should be accomplished by eight months of age."

More recently? "Let him ride the dirt bike and get hurt. Then he'll learn."


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Man, I love that we're getting insight into what goes on inside that hairy little noggin of his. So cool!

Kristen said...

I'm not sure that these fit under the advice category so much as "general comments you should have kept to yourself" category but here goes.

When I was worried that Caleb would only nap on his tummy (I'm over that worry now) my Mom announced "You slept on your stomach and you didn't die!" Thanks Mom we also didn't have car seats but managed to survive that.

My favorite Aunt (didn't breastfeed at all) "If you go much past a year breastfeeding I might have to take action!" LIKE WHAT!?

Great Aunt (93 years old never had kids) about my 4 week old baby. "Is he on the bottle yet?"
"No and if it is up to me he won't be"
"Well I guess he is still a little small but you really should get him on the bottle soon"

Why can't all moms (and non moms) realize that we are (most) all doing the best we can in our current situation and level of knowledge?

Mojavi said...

i didn't get any crazy advice from anyone... seems most of my family and friends were on the same path as I am.

Except my Brother in law did once ask me if being on an adult bed confused my 10 month old daughter. Righhhhhhtttt... because she knows the difference.... I just laughed at him....

Mamma Sarah said...

I, like Jenny, don't remember any bad advice... other than "he'll eventually grow out of the cradle cap/eczema" from our old Ped. doctor. Yeah, we left and went to someone more intelligent.