Scores of parenting books are published every year, often with opposing titles and recommendations. Every parent wants to do right by their children, and many are turning to parenting books in order to gain skills, knowledge and ideas.
Can parenting books hurt more than they help?
In a recent essay for National Public Radio, entitled “Why I’ll Never Read Another Parenting Book,” writer Samantha Schoech addresses parenting and the 2013 Bestseller, “How Children Succeed.”
“Like the ever-changing tide of nutritional advice, the constant and contradictory world of parenting advice is as confusing as it is enlightening and as shaming as it is helpful…. Parents are not people machines to be tinkered with and adjusted until the product comes out right.”
Many parenting books offer ideas, tips and well-researched advice that can instill confidence in new parents and help them tackle scenarios from potty training to back-talking.
How can a new parent know when enough is enough?
It’s important to remember that parenting books are a relatively new phenomena. In the generations before us, parents didn’t have an information overload and seemed to do just fine.
”When I had Emma, my first child, there was no information for new mothers,” notes Heidi Murkoff, author of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” in England’s Daily Mail newspaper. “My generation had been raised by stay-at-home mothers to be career girls. We didn’t know how to cook and had never even held a baby. My generation struggled alone through the mysteries of child-rearing, confused and longing for support.”
Murkoff bemoans that “Society’s race for the perfect parenting prize has become all-consuming… It scares me that today’s mothers — dashing from one activity to another — won’t get to enjoy that same precious time with their children.”
Perhaps the best parenting advice is too simple for a parenting book. As Murkoff says she advised her daughter: “Allow Lennox time to just be a baby, and allow yourself time to enjoy each chubby, dribbling, gurgling moment of joy (and even those moments of red-faced despair) that motherhood brings.”