Before I begin my little diatribe on celebrity parenting advice, I should start out with a few things. 1.) I am extremely pro-vaccination. 2.) My kids slept in cribs. 3.) I love my stroller. With that in mind…
Celebrity Parenting Advice – Do They Publish Anyone Now?
I have to wonder just how easy it is for these books by famous people to get published. Jenny McCarthy has books published on pregnancy, the first year, and autism. Marilu Henner wrote I Refuse to Raise a Brat. Now Alicia Silverstone has her own very special and spiffy new book, The Kind Mama.
There’s only one celebrity parenting advice book that I’m not going to hammer on, and that’s by Dr. Mayim Bialik. No, I don’t agree with the majority of her conclusions, as I do not parent according to the philosophies of Dr. Sears, and I most definitely disagree with her commentary on vaccination… but at least she has a Ph.D. She’s educated. But she acknowledges that her lifestyle choices with attachment parenting are different than other non AP parents.
Why Do We Read Celebrity Parenting Advice, Anyway?
I’m not sure what the draw to reading celebrity parenting advice books may be. Could it be that it’s some sort of voyeurism, sort of like the popularity of tabloid journalism? Is it because we are a society who is fascinated by what is strange and unusual to us? (After all, what else explains shows like Jon & Kate Plus Eight or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?)
Or is it because some of us do have “non-mainstream” parenting practices already and love the sense of validation that we get from famous people who do the same way we do? (After all, they are famous and have money, so they must be doing something right. Right?)
Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things. Either way, though, I certainly don’t feel that the vast majority of these celebrity parenting advice books are written by people who are qualified to tell us how to raise our children. Yes, they can tell us how they raise their children… which, really, isn’t that what every blogger who writes about her kids does, anyway? Isn’t that what we do every time someone asks a question on Facebook about toilet training or why Aiden won’t stop hitting Emma at the play ground?
There’s a fine line, though, between telling someone how you do it and telling someone that it’s how they should do it.
Is Celebrity Parenting Advice Mostly Harmless?
Some of it is, of course. Dr. Bialik suggesting baby led weaning isn’t going to put your child in harm’s way. It certainly can be a far more entertaining method of feeding your child than purees on a spoon. It can be absolutely infuriating when a bit of celebrity parenting advice includes things like “cribs are abuse” because that isn’t just saying “I parent differently than you.” That’s saying “You’re doing it wrong because you aren’t doing it like me.”
The real danger, though, in celebrity parenting advice is when they suggest things that are harmful. Jenny McCarthy is the one that I hate on the most for this with her insistence that vaccines are what cause autism. There are all kinds of people out there who don’t vax. I don’t agree with them. Fine. But I absolutely think it’s dangerous when celebrities use pseudoscience or no science to back their ideas.
It’s dangerous for moms struggling with postpartum depression to listen to Alicia Silverstone’s ideas that a vegan diet without sugars will take care of postpartum depression. This is a real issue that shouldn’t be dismissed with “put down the chocolate and think happy thoughts.” Moms need help, not unicorn farts and rainbows.
Really, I just wish that they’d stop with the celebrity parenting advice. Even what isn’t dangerous is often irrelevant. (Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m referring to your only allowing your children to watch foreign language television on those occasions that they are allowed to watch at all.)
What do you think of celebrity parenting advice?
Stock image from adamr / freedigitalphotos.net