Beyond Dr Spock

When we become new parents, there are many voices that try to guide us.  Remember that the loudest voice should be your baby’s.

Quote by Port Elizabeth based psychologist and Babies in Mind practitioner, Samantha Naicker

A few months ago I was chatting to a child-minder for a wealthy family. I noticed that the parents were very particular about how they wanted the baby and toddler to be managed. The strict, time-based schedule was crucial and all feeding, nappies and activities had to be recorded in a little black book. I asked the child-minder if this style of parenting was different to the way in which she had raised her own children years ago. Her response to me was, “No. I did things another way. But you people, you like your books!” The approach that she was expected to use in raising her boss’s children was very foreign to her.

We often look to our mothers, friends, relatives, books, magazines and the internet for help and guidance about parenting. I’m not suggesting that you ignore your friends, stop surfing the net or tear up your parenting books, but perhaps you should sometimes take what they say with a pinch – or a ton – of salt.

Because raising kids is so confusing at times, it can be easy to fall into the trap of looking to parenting experts for the answers to impossible questions. Forty years ago things were simpler because Dr Spock was the guy who most parents followed. His book, Baby and Child Care, sold more than 50 million copies and it was translated into 39 languages. Clearly, what he had to say was extremely helpful to parents at the time. Nowadays there are a mind-boggling amount of parenting experts willing to tell you about how to parent. Most of them have something worthwhile to say but none has found the holy grail. Whatever style of parenting you choose, you’re guaranteed to find an expert who will support your ideas and beliefs. You’ll also find one that will strongly disagree with you. There are those who advocate rigid boundaries and routines, those who recommend being totally connected and in tune with your child all of the time, and those who fall somewhere in between.

Who or what has been your best guide through the parenting maze? Post your comments and share your experiences below.



One comment
  1. Karen Kallmann

    I think that listening to my own inner voice and not being shouted down by the many many opinions that everyone else has to offer has kept me on track. I think it is really important that mothers are told to trust themselves because most of the time they know what is best for their baby. Definitely ask for help if you need it but ultimately the decision is yours and you and your baby are going to live with the consequences of what you decide to do.

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