Childrearing

My Parenting Style Is Ruled By Irrational Fears And Unfounded Research

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Any hot button parenting topic you can think of – like sleep training, co-sleeping, feeding, scheduling, and more – has opposing parenting “experts” with supporting research willing to duke it out on both sides of the fence.

In one sense, that means you can normally find any expert willing to back your preferred parenting style so that you can righteously defend yourself at your next mommy group. In another sense, if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and don’t know what type of parenting approach to take, you may leave your research session feeling even more confused.

Even if you ascribe to a specific parenting philosophy, like AP or free ranging, that still doesn’t guarantee you’ll be fully equipped to make tough parenting decisions in a sea of conflicting research. And so, the fun begins.

Every time my baby or toddler does something out of the ordinary that I deem “abnormal behavior,” I plug it into Google. I guess this means I don’t implicitly trust their doctors because I have a world wide web full of information at my fingertips.

If my son has a fever, I type the exact temperature and symptoms into Google STAT. Of course, I also place a friendly call to his pediatrician, which usually results in some ambiguous advice given over the phone that is pretty conflicting in itself. The doctor may say that a temperature within a certain range is totally fine but watch for symptoms of wheezing, rashes, or lethargy, for example.

Wheezing? What constitutes wheezing? And what would a rash look like exactly? And can I confidently recognize lethargy? I don’t think so. Back to Google I go.

After scouring the Internets and mommy forums, I normally come up with a long list of possible causes, cures, and outcomes of any given situation I’m facing with my kids. I have to be honest and say that I don’t think I’m the better for it. But I also don’t know what I would do without this information overload that has become a comforting addiction to me.

I definitely have an obsessive personality. (Can you tell?) I’d like to think that all new parents are well-acquainted with this brand of crazy, but maybe there are other mothers out there that have harnessed their inner yogi and can take their doctor’s advice at face value. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

But in the defense of crazy, hypochondriac moms everywhere, I’m not sure if it’s possible to make it through that rigorous first year of parenting without becoming addicted to Dr. Google. Even with your best intentions and any labels that you want to put on your parenting style, parenting can still be pretty damn confusing, not to mention intimidating.

If I decide to take advice from other inexperienced moms that have posted their two cents on a forum, at least I know I’m in good company.

(photo:  BeardyFace)

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