The Internet says: Only feed your kids organic foods with no sugar.
I’ve discovered: Feed them whatever fills them up so they don’t wake up at 4:00am because they didn’t eat their organic quinoa cakes with free-range chicken patties and raw milk that you had for dinner.
The Internet says: Reason with your three year old [who has the emotional range of a sociopath].
I’ve discovered: You can’t reason with a 3-year old at all. I just have to discipline her. After all, she can’t even pronounce the word “reason” yet, let alone understand it
Internet says: No screen time until school-age, and then only 30 minutes a day.
I’ve discovered: This doesn’t make sense to me. Does the kid’s head explode at 31 minutes? This rule seems egregious and arbitrary. Television and films can be just as artistic as books. Use YOUR discretion, not the voices of the Internet. Remember this fact: YOU are the parent.
Those are just a few parenting suggestions (and my reactions) that I’ve come across during my limited reading of parenting blogs. (Which is close to never). To be honest, if I read anything from a parenting blog it is because my wife suggested I do. I just can’t get behind them, and so it’s actually hard for me to write a parenting blog post.
This came up today because when I was trying to think of a blog post. My wife suggested I write a parenting one.
Not easy for me, and this is why: Every family is so different. Every child requires different parenting techniques or needs a different type of discipline. What works for your child, may not work for mine.
Your child may need a gluten-free diet, mine may not. Your three-year old may be compliant, mine may be strong-willed. Some kids shouldn’t watch television for whatever reason, but it may not really affect mine.
Our kids need a lot of down time and get really tired of structured extracurricular time (like playing on a team or doing dance or whatever), but your child may thrive in that environment.
The kind of parenting advice I can get behind, though, is the kind that spurs you on to foster the really important qualities in your child: being kind to one another, obeying her parents, putting other’s needs before her own, trying to be honest, that type of thing.
Because let’s face it, the kids we are raising today are going to be the adults of tomorrow. And, we all have interactions everyday with people who needed more of the virtue-teaching by their parents rather than another ballet class or more organic vegetables.
So here’s my parenting advice to you (and me) today: focus on the really important stuff and remember to teach it to our kids, not just through our words, but through our own actions.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.