Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but we believe the topic is highly relevant in this crazy age of internet access where there is a bevy of parenting information and personal stories at our fingertips. How do you know whom to trust or what is the real deal? Today one of our favorite sponsors, The Parenting Center, provides some practical advice on filtering your parenting advice!
When my twins were born 29 years ago, I can remember thinking, “How can they just hand me these babies and let me go home from the hospital?” No matter the professional training someone has, the responsibility of parenting your own children creates insecurity.
Some parents know they need ideas – regarding discipline, for example – but others also benefit from having support in adjusting to being a parent. What kind of authority figure do I want to be? What kind of relationship do I want with my children? How is this responsibility changing me as a person and what kind of values do I want to teach in my family?
While parenting can be a rewarding and exciting experience, it can also be exhausting and frustrating. Parents need resources and support to do the job well. In good times and in bad, parents benefit by having a community, large or small.
Becoming a parent changes you and your daily duties and can separate you from the people you spent time with pre-children. But parenting in isolation can be stressful and lonely. Whether it is extended family, neighbors, your church community, a group that gets together at a play spot or your community here at New Orleans Moms Blog, parents need to feel supported and focus on just being a parent.
Parenting is not an exact science and at times feels like it falls somewhere between an art and a combat zone. This most competitive of activities is suffering from an overwhelming glut of advice and information.
What is your go-to source after you’ve googled the topic, asked your friends and talked to your mom? How do you sort out conflicting advice to settle on what feels right and works best for your family?
There is NO ONE WAY to be a parent. The choices parents make should help them meet the needs of their children, their spouses and themselves. That’s sometimes a tall order and means considering competing needs, thoughts and feelings in order to make decisions in the best interest of your family.
So how do you evaluate conflicting information about child-rearing?
- First, look to the credentials of the person offering advice. Some people go on the lecture circuit offering advice based on the success and fame of their children, their storytelling abilities or charismatic personalities. Professional training in child development, counseling, medicine or family therapy provides better qualifications.
- Second, educate yourself by seeking out sources that may conflict with your instincts, then carefully examine them for validity. While parenting advice and practices have changed over the years, the way children develop has not. Advances in science have now shown how brain development reflects early experiences and relationships. Parental responsiveness with a focus on emotional development is the most effective way to enhance this development. Even the path to school success is actually better predicted by a focus on early relationships, play experiences and social/emotional development.
- Learn to be a good problem solver. Examining behavior, brainstorming options and settling on a path of action, only to re-examine the results, is essential to parenting. One response does not fit all situations and the adage that you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results certainly applies here.
- So how do you choose what’s right for you? Having access to information and gathering information is something most of us are good at; it’s the knowing how to choose between conflicting points that requires some consideration. It’s important to find someone you trust, someone who reflects your values, who will listen when you’re stumped. Give yourself permission to learn as you go, for when those babies become defiant toddlers, it’s your chance to be the kind of authority you want to be.
- Parenting is a challenging job, but it should not be all work and no play. Make sure the advice you get suits you and your family and enhances your relationships.
How The Parenting Center Can Help
The five Parent Educators at The Parenting Center have collectively 75 years of experience as parents and as a group have worked with parents for more than 55 years. For 31 years, The Parenting Center staff
has kept up with the latest research, evaluating sources and synthesizing advice to keep up with best practices. We have over 1,000 books in our library for check out, reflecting a wide range of approaches, including sections on sleep, toilet training and discipline.
The field of Parenting Education is based on the belief (supported by research) that parents who know what to expect at different ages and have a repertoire of skills to manage what happens in their families are best prepared to respond in ways that are helpful to their children and encourage positive, healthy development. A professional parent educator doesn’t always give advice, but listens, helping parents sort out all the information they have gathered and decide on a course of action that would best fit their own family values and feel right since parents are the ones who know their children best.
The Parenting Center was that source for Laura Kinney, now a Texas resident and mother of a college student and a young adult in the working world. She sent a note just this week to say she “found the voice of reason and wisdom at The Parenting Center” as a young mom. She “carried these messages with her as her children grew and felt better able to face the challenges of parenthood.”
Here are some of the go-to parenting resources we like on the web:
- Aha! Parenting :: Dr. Laura Markham has daily tips for parents
- Zero to Three :: National Clearinghouse, advocacy and parent information to support the early years
- Talaris Institute :: wonderful resource for supporting parents and caregivers in raising emotionally and socially healthy families
- The Child Study Center :: sponsored by the NYU Child Study Center
- Common Sense Media :: reliable reviews and tips for managing all types of media and technology
- The Greater Good: The Science Behind a MeaningFul Life :: The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.
- The Truth About Children and Divorce :: Dr. Robert Emery’s website helping families do their best through separation and divorce.
The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital has over 30 years experience helping New Orleans families get off to a good start. If you would like more information about the center, the classes and/or available support you can check out the website, Facebook or call (504) 896-9591.
Barbara LeBlanc has been the Director of The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital since 2005, having served as the Assistant Director since 1988. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is currently an adjunct professor at Tulane School of Social Work. Barbara was the inaugural chair and currently serves on the Guidance Team of the Louisiana Parenting Education Network and is the Chair-elect of the National Parenting Education Network. In addition to her professional experience in parenting education, she is the mother of three adult children and a new grandmother.