Parenting is one of the hardest jobs a person could ever be responsible for, yet, a very rewarding one indeed. There isn’t a parenting book that accurately tells a parent how to parent his/her child. And, babies aren’t born with a manual on how to be cared for. There may be books here and there on parenting tips, but they don’t fit every single child. Children are individuals with unique personalities, so they should be treated as such. It is helpful to get tips and advice from other parents who have had years of experiences or from professionals who have studied different child behavior, but tips should not turn into parenting commands. As parents, we shouldn’t get too caught up in parenting tip articles, and here are some reasons why.
1. Parenting tips are usually based on personal experiences
Though they are often helpful, parenting tips are nothing more than ideas people usually share from personal experiences. Someone else may benefit from them, but it doesn’t mean that every single person would. Even when those tips come from social studies, there still isn’t a guarantee that they would also work for you and everyone else. Social studies aren’t necessarily ‘facts.’ Different factors such as the social-economic groups of the sample of people being used for the studies, cultures, time/period, and other similar factors need to be put into consideration.
2. There isn’t one correct way of parenting
The problem with seeking parenting advice or excessively reading parenting tip articles is when some parents start thinking that the only way of doing some parenting act is by enacting what they have read. It doesn’t work that way. What you read may be helpful to you or someone else you share the article with, but leave room for different interpretations. You may even come up with an idea that could be more beneficial to you.
3. Not all parenting tips work on every child
As I’ve mentioned before, children are individuals and need to be treated as such. We can’t expect every tip to work on every child. Let’s take discipline for example, every child responds to different types of disciplinary actions differently. It may be helpful to go through trials and errors to come up with the perfect one for your child.
4. Some parenting tips seem rather condemning than encouraging
Of the few parenting tip articles that I have read so far, some did seem rather condemning than encouraging, even if that wasn’t the intention. Honestly, after reading some articles, one can easily feel like the worse parent alive or feel as if he/she is doing it all wrong. Titles like, “10 Things You Should NEVER do as a Parent” sound very alarming, but not necessarily bad. It may become an issue when the list is comprised of things like “Do NOT tell your child ‘Good Boy'” or “Do NOT tell your child ‘You are Beautiful.'” Of course, there are always reasons people give tips and back it up with experiences and sometimes social studies. But, we should be very careful how such tips come across. Someone reading a title and tips like that could easily feel like a failure as a parent. Some things really aren’t as much of a big deal as they are made to be these days. But even when we think they are, they probably shouldn’t come under such alarming titles. People usually parent the way they know best, so we should assume the best, even when we disagree. That being said, tips are also welcome. We just need to make sure our tips come from a helpful, understanding, encouraging, and non-judgmental place. There are always extreme cases where some parents or parenting acts don’t fit the acceptable norm. Such cases should be treated differently.
5. People have different cultures and different understandings
One thing I’ve always found interesting is when people disregard that what’s acceptable in one culture may not necessarily be acceptable in another. One of my passion in life is learning different cultures, languages, and trying to understand different people as best as I can. Whether I agree or disagree, I’m always fascinated with the way people think and behave based on where they come from or the ethnicity they belong to. Parenting also comes under the umbrella of things people do differently based on their environment and cultures. A good example of that is spanking. We can go back and forth about whether spanking is acceptable, but we can’t deny the fact that depending on the society we have that conversation in, the conversation would be very different. There are extreme cases where we can all agree would be flat-out wrong, but even what the borderline of extreme is could differ from society to society. What makes a person a ‘bad’ parent in one society may not necessarily make him/her a ‘bad’ parent in another society. That’s a reality we have to be willing to consider when talking about parenting; especially when addressing a diverse group of people. That’s not to say that we should never challenge some of those cultural norms; we just have to come from a place of understanding and consideration.
It’s wonderful to share parenting tips and take tips from others, but we should try not to consider tips as facts that everyone should abide by. When reading parenting articles, take every advice with a grain of salt; including this one. Bookmark or take notes if you have to, but never feel the need to take on every advice as something you must do. Leave room for reflection, questioning, maybe consideration, or simply moving on. It’s okay, and you’re not a ‘bad’ parent for not taking every advice or abiding by everything you read.
Previously published on Ihsaan Home Academy.
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