Celebrity Parenting Advice – Just Stop Already

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.

Celebrity Parenting Advice - Just Stop Already! (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

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

Children Know Best?

Parenting.  It’s most definitely not an easy job.  Sure, children can be challenging.  It’s not just the act of parenting our children that can make being a parent rough.  There’s also the push and pull of different parenting philosophies, disapproving strangers, judgmental mommy groups, and trying to be all things.  Some parenting philosophies maintain that as parents, it’s our job to make the best choices on behalf of our children.  Apparently, there are also those that believe that children know best.Children Know Best? (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Sure, there’s child-led parenting, attachment parenting, and other philosophies that believe that, to some extent, children know best.  It’s countered by, on the extreme opposite end, of philosophies that believe in strict, regimented scheduling and that children will fall into line.  I imagine that most of us fall somewhere in between.

I came out as pro-vax on this blog last month.  In other blogs previously, I’d written pieces to explain my position in the vaccination debate.  Generally, when I have a discussion about the vaccination debate, it can stay rational.  I don’t feel the need to get worked up, and since it’s my blog, I have the ability to just plain click delete on anything that’s profane or laden with personal attacks.

I rarely feel the need to insult the intelligence of the person who disagrees with me.

Every now and again, though, I see something that’s just so riddled with logical fallacy that I have to pick at it.

When Nissa at The Cloth Diaper Guru came out as pro-vax on her Facebook page, things on her page became a bit less respectful.  That’s always too bad when it happens.  There was one comment, though, that I had to pick apart.

JMC offered this helpful suggestion.

Natural methods are always better that (sic) chemical poisoning. There are reasons kids don’t like to get stabbed.

Okay, I’m going to ignore the assertion that vaccines are chemical poisoning.  Fine.  That’s her belief.  I don’t agree with it, and I’ll pick the “chemical poisoning” bit apart later.  What I found far more interesting was her suggestion that vaccines are bad because children don’t like them.  Or that somehow, children inherently know that vaccines are bad for them and that’s why they cry.

Since children know best, I’m going to have to make a list of things that are clearly bad for them.

Broccoli

Obviously, broccoli is poison.  Produce stores everywhere should have warning labels on the mini trees to let us know that children know best and their visceral reaction when made to eat the steamed green trees clearly means that it is toxic.

The Dark

The dark is, obviously, a horrible place.  If it wasn’t, then children would not fear it so.  This means that we must immediately lobby our governments to be sure that they create synthetic suns over every city to ensure that we have no dark ever.  After all, children know best.  Nevermind the need for darkness to help with sleep/wake cycles in healthy adults.

Car Seats

Who cares that infant and toddler safety seats have saved lives?  Sure, it can prevent our children from becoming missiles in the event of an accident.  But you know what?  They are clearly inhumane torture devices that should be banned immediately.  Children know best, and they frequently fight, twist, squirm, and scream when it’s time to go in.

Diaper Changes

Clearly, it is a horrendous thing to change our children.  If it wasn’t an awful thing, mothers everywhere wouldn’t commiserate about being kicked in the face or fought so hard during diaper changes.  Obviously, this means that the most reasonable course of action is to either a.) let our children run naked and defecate wherever they please or b.) let our children wear the same diaper until it falls off or disintegrates.  Bath time, bedtime, brushing teeth, and changing clothes are also acts of abuse that must be eliminated immediately.  After all, children know best.

At the end of the day, it falls to us as parents to make the best decisions that we can for our children.  If you decide that some commonly held practice, even if it has been proven to save lives and has eradicated disease, is not something that you want to participate in, fine.  But at least own it.  This nonsense that our children don’t like it because it’s bad is clearly just that: nonsense.

Have you ever gone against your children’s express wishes because you felt that it was in their best interests?

 

Parenting Advice? Back Off

Everyone of us will have a time when we need parenting advice.  I’ve reached out to some moms for advice on housebreaking Norton.  Others will reach out for parenting advice on a host of other subjects: vegan feeding, diaper rashes, when to start solids, or whether or not to sleep train.

No matter what we do as parents, someone will think that we’re wrong.  Fine.  You can’t please all of the people all of the time.  (But you sure can make them all mad.)  It seems that when we ask for parenting advice, that’s when it REALLY comes out. [Read more…]