Last week, my wife and I were looking at preschool for my little girl. We found two preschools in the area with great reviews, and both visits went well. However, one thing stood out to me as a reflection of modern day parenting advice. At both preschools we asked about the necessity of being potty trained before beginning class. Both schools assured us that there was no issue with the kids not being trained yet, but there was one amusing difference. The first school told us that the kids absolutely must wear pull-up diapers, and that helps them bridge faster to being potty trained. The second school told us that the kids must absolutely not wear pull-up diapers, and that it hampers their progression to potty training.
Within 3 hours we had heard two completely opposite views on child rearing from two extremely reputable places. This story illustrates the near impossible web of parenting advice in our modern world that moms and dads attempt to navigate. There have got to be as many parenting blogs, books, articles, and guides on this planet as there are kids. There are schools of thought on parenting that have almost become religions in their own right. Should we let kids cry it out at bedtime? Are kids allowed to drink juice? Is co-sleeping ok? Are space heaters turning them into aliens?
As a parent we always want to do the best we can for our kids, but the catch is this. There is no one best way to parent, and on top of that you are going to make a ton of mistakes (don’t worry, kids are pretty mistake proof). Sure, there are some pretty agreed upon guidelines, but most of how you raise your kid is up to you. Here is the real kicker, if you spend hours upon hours reading parenting advice, then you probably are doing the right things. Not because of the advice, but because if you are dedicating that much time to raising your kid correctly, then you are probably raising your kid correctly. Just try not to float so far into the ocean of opinions that you forget to just enjoy the idiosyncrasies and ridiculousness of your kid.
So in the end, use the pull-ups or use a regular diaper, feel free to co-sleep or not, and the space heater is probably not the reason your toddler is speaking in tongues. Just follow this one piece of advice, and you will do just fine… Be very wary of anyone who tells you they know exactly how to raise your kid.