I was searching for something to read and pulled one of my many parenting books off the shelf. I do that from time to time, often rereading certain passages or chapters as I feel the need. I've noticed, though, that the parenting-book-trend often seems to be taken to extremes. Just as many mainstream parents turn to Dr. Spock or the What to Expect series, now that there are so many wonderful alternative parenting books on the market, APers seem to be turning more and more to books for answers, as well.
Maybe it's that I'm so thrilled to see a parenting book I (at least mostly) agree with, that I simply can't bring myself to leave it in the store. I've amassed quite a collection of parenting books that, for the most part, jive with my sense of right and wrong. But, more than once, I've had to remind myself that I am very capable of parenting without the advice of authors, experts and organizations. I know my child like no one else, and when I'm having trouble deciding what to do in any given situation, the best advice usually comes from within, rather than without.
But there are so many books and websites and discussion groups and boards out there! It feels wrong, somehow, to disregard them. A few years ago, this information was hard to come by, but now it's everywhere.
Instinctive parenting is a quality that's been on the decline for decades - ever since doctors replaced mothers as experts on birthing and raising children. We gained a little ground with the resurgence of natural childbirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc., but many people still depend on books to tell them even these things are all right. That's certainly better than formula feeding, but still undercuts the trust that we, as parents, should have in ourselves. These practices are natural and instinctive. We shouldn't have to pore over websites and books to understand this. Our bodies know it, and our children tell us - often quite clearly - that this is what they need. We just have to look beyond the books to our children and to ourselves.
Okay, rant over. Now back to skimming through my parenting book....