Have you ever received one of those uncalled for parenting advice and tips, notably from unreliable sources, such as childless friends?
Well, am not making a sweeping statement that any parental advice that emanates from a friend or a family member, who has no kids is automatically invalid; rather, what am saying is that it is often unreliable, or worse still, misleading. Moreover, even if your uninvited parental counselor had children, it doesn’t give you any guarantee that what works for their families will obviously work for you.
My Experience with Contradictory Parental Advice
As the saying goes, experience is the best teacher. I happen to be one of those parents who regularly receive parental advisory opinion from colleagues, friends, religious leaders, and even strangers at times. The interesting bit is that I become vexed on realization that some of the unsolicited tips I receive are contradictory. For instance, I recall one Saturday evening, during one of the corporate dinner parties, and I was seated next to this great associate of mine who leaned towards me and said, “Ben, sometimes I think it is wise to give your kids unlimited freedom to do what they like. They will learn best if they make their own mistakes.” I nodded in agreement, but did not comment anything about it.
The following day, the priest was all too enthusiastic in the pulpit admonishing ‘soft’ parents who give unlimited freedom to their children. He wound up his summon from the book of proverbs, where it says that, ‘spare the rod, and spoil the child.’
Honestly, such contradictory parental tips can leave one not only confused, but can lead to poor child upbringing if you went about implementing every single idea you hear out there from every tom dick and hurry.
Lesson learnt: The Parent’s Sense of Judgment and Openness is the Key to Good Parenthood
At the end of the day, I think every parent should have a fairly balanced sense of judgment. I always tell other parents that there is no such thing as parental rules and guidelines; that is, nothing is written on stone.
Above all, I think it is important to always remember that no two families are the same. What works for Tom may not necessarily work for Harry. However, I have always been also conscious of the fact that I may be at risk of closing the door to learning from other well-meaning people if I dismiss every advice I get.
In conclusion, learn to strike the fine balance between the uniqueness of your children, and the ability to listen to other people’s ideas, but such ideas should come from reliable sources.