Parents today are bombarded with advice from every corner. Experts have new theories every week, it seems, on the Best Way to Raise Your Child, and parents can begin to feel like they’re doing it all wrong in pretty short order. No longer are the things our parents did safe or wise or kind! Instead parenting experts tell us that we must try this new technique of parenting lest we permanently damage our children and they grow up to hate us, landing either on America’s Most Wanted or on some mid-afternoon show telling the world how horrible we were because we took their iPod away once.
Dr. Ray Guarendi is a haven in this madness, and his advice (as well as his humor) has helped me stay sane as a parent. I jumped at the chance to have a look at his new book Advice Worth Ignoring: How Tuning Out the Experts Can Make You a Better Parent. As usual, Dr. Ray doles out great advice (that’s worth reading, not ignoring) that’s been time-tested by parents for generations.
His book is set up to debunk 50 of the latest ideas that experts have put out that are wrong-headed. And Dr. Ray backs up his debunking with both data and personal experience. (And as the father of ten, he has a bit of experience.) He divides his book into six categories of advice: Early Misdirection, Moral Questions, Discipline Don’ts, Smarter Discipline Advice, Miscommunication, and Advice Not Worth Adopting. These ideas from The Experts include things like “Children are Naturally Cooperative” and “Never Let Them ‘Cry It Out'”, “Let Children Decide Their Morals” and “It’s Normal”, “Don’t Make Your Child Fear You” and “Don’t Spank”, “Create a Bedtime Ritual” and “Pick Your Battles”, “Don’t Ask Questions” and “Give Choices”, “Don’t Adopt to Rescue” and “Don’t Adopt if Your Other Children Are Against It.”
Again and again, Dr. Ray’s advice is both refreshing and old-fashioned, new to your ears (especially if you’re under 50!) and something that you’ve always seemed to know. While some of the ideas presents made me literally laugh out loud, it was good to know that I’m not crazy for thinking these things, and that real, in-the-trenches parents think them with me, too. (And, probably, so did my grandmothers.)
This is exactly the kind of book I could have used before my kids were 15 and 18, to be honest. So much of the New Parenting Advice out there goes against our innate judgement as parents and makes us second-guess ourselves. I spent years thinking I had to go against my instincts on so many parenting decisions! Dr. Ray is one of the few experts who works to help parents tap into their instincts as well as the parenting techniques that have worked for centuries in the past.
I definitely recommend this book, especially if you’re a parent of young children. If we listen to every new parenting trend that comes along, it can turn us about and make us feel like we’re ruining our children. (Trust me, I know this first-hand!) Advice Worth Ignoring is filled with advice you can follow, and it’s likely to be what your gut is telling you, too.
Cross-posted at CatholicMom.com
©2016, Christine Johnson