Reading Kted's comment on the toddler angst post made me realize that I've never really posted anywhere my basic philosophy. (My friend Scott gave me the idea of putting up my philosophy on my blog. I'm just calling it a manifesto because of the alliteration.) Those of you who read my very first post ever, or who are regular readers, have a good idea of where I'm coming from and why I write this blog. But for those of you who are newer or just ended up here from a Google search, I thought I'd lay it out for you.
(And, hey, this is a work in progress. Do you guys have any idea how much I learn from you? There's no way I'd be able to write this without all of you commenting and keeping me honest and on track. And giving the correct answer when I'm not coming anywhere near it.)
- You know your own child best. When there's a decision to be made about anything, you need to think about what you know about your own child, and do what's going to be better for him or her.
- Don't worry about what the "experts" say. A lot of what they write is based solely on their own experience, anyway. Are they there with you and your child at 3 am? No. So who cares what they tell you you "should" do?
- There are some thing parents do that really screw up their kids. But those things don't have a whole lot to do with the sequence in which your baby eats, sleeps, and plays, or when s/he gets off the bottle/breast/pacifier/thumb, or how old the baby is when it sleeps in a bed in a room alone, or when they're potty-trained. Yeah, those things affect your day-to-day life right now. But in the longterm, they're not something you'll remember or that your child will remember. So do what makes it easier and more loving for everyone in your house right now, and what gets everyone the most sleep.
- If anyone tells you there's something you have to do one
way or your kid will be screwed up, run fast the other way. If you like
reading books, read a bunch of them; something you read might help you
out. But be really wary of anyone telling you what you're doing is
absolutely wrong, or who prescribes some way of life that just doesn't
seem to make sense for the way your child and family are. (I really
really can't stand the people who tell you you have to do it their way or your kids will be ruined! forever! *cough*EzzoSearsHoggWeissbluth
*cough* If you read them, take them with a grain of salt.)
- No one gets to tell you what to do unless they're also willing to take a shift at 3 am.
- Everyone has problems with their kids. Most people don't talk about them, because they're afraid of admitting weakness. If you're having a problem, chances are a bunch of other people are, too. And it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the choice you made, because people who make different choices just have different problems. It's all a trade-off.
- If you can control the situation, then you won't have to worry so much about controlling your child. If you can avoid having to control your child, it'll be easier for you to teach your child to make good choices instead of having a constant battle of wills.
- When you're having a problem, realize that you're doing the best you can at the time. Don't blame yourself, and try to step back and look at the problem from a systems point of view. What's the real issue, and how can you solve that issue, even if it doesn't look like you thought it would look? If it fixes the problem, it's working.
- How your child sleeps doesn't say anything about you as a parent or a person.
- If you can just wait long enough, the problem will probably go away as a function of time. If you can't wait, then change something.
- I think you're doing a great job. Your child is lucky to have you as a parent.