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Why Modern Parenting Is Designed to Drive You Completely Crazy​

Posted by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 10:56 AM
  • 12 Replies

Why Modern Parenting Is Designed to Drive You Completely Crazy​

conflicting parenting advice

Have you ever thought of parenting as a “fear-based industry”? I’m not sure I would have arrived at that exact term on my own, but when I read this interview with actress Emily Blunt, I found myself nodding in total recognition when she used it to describe the modern approach to raising children. “There used to be one book that everyone read, now there’s How to Raise a Gluten-Free Baby, How to Raise a Scientific Baby,” Blunt says. “It’s insanity!” It’s true, don’t you think? Parents today are faced with a million different passionate arguments for why we’re completely screwing up our kids by not adhering to whatever precise child-rearing methodology is currently generating the hottest Internet search terms.

My youngest son is 6, and I already feel like the advice for pregnant women has shifted all over the place multiple times since my big-belly days. Tuna fish is one of those topics I never feel like I fully understand: are we supposed to eat it because of those omega-3 fatty acids that help our babies grow big smart brains, or are we supposed to avoid it altogether because of those rising mercury levels that fry our babies’ brains?

Deli meat was mostly a non-issue the last time I was pregnant, now I realize I was practically playing Russian roulette every time I ate a ham sandwich, thanks to the possibility of listeriosis. Don’t go thinking your cantaloupe craving is healthier than packing on the pounds from Ben & Jerry’s, either, because that’s the EXACT fruit that caused the 2011 food illness outbreak that was the deadliest in nearly a century.

Of course, you read that and it sounds absolutely terrifying: THE THIRD DEADLIEST OUTBREAK IN ALMOST 100 YEARS HOLY SHIT BURN ALL THE CANTALOUPE BURN IT IN HELL’S HOTTEST FLAMES AND DO IT NOW. But acknowledging the awfulness of dying from a food borne-illness (very painful, very preventable, very sad) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put it in context: something like 3 dozen people died from infected fruit that year. Meanwhile, more like 3,000 died in car accidents. Are pregnant women warned not to drive?

Pregnancy truly seems like one big horrible game of Choose Your Own Adventure (where whatever food/activity/medicine/household toxin you expose yourself to next leads directly to pediatric cancer), but that’s nothing compared to how you can screw up your kids once they’re outside of your body. Did you sleep with them, or let them cry it out? Either way you risked death and are almost certainly now raising a sociopath. Let’s hope he’s the handsome, humble, convincingly charming type like Dexter.

More From The Stir: 10 Snarky Responses to Unwanted Parenting Advice

Assuming you manage not to cause too much permanent damage, physically or psychologically, during the baby and toddler years, you’re bound to drop the ball once they’re older. You thought standing in the baby food aisle contemplating the screaming cacophony of branded choices before you was bad enough (oh, did you go with the sustainably-harvested organic goo hand-squeezed by indigenous tribes? FAIL. You should have been premasticating your meals in order for Junior to get the maximum amount of macronutrients and rich microflora), wait until your kid comes home from school one day crying about a bully and you have to decide whether to tell him to take the high road or kick that little jerk right in his pint-sized frank and beans.

Did you vaccinate your kids against the flu? BAD MOM. Teaching kids to wash, wash, wash is the only way to prevent disease! NO WAIT LET THEM GET DIRTY EXPOSURE TO ALLERGENS AND BACTERIA LOWERS THE RISK OF AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS. Did you let them play outside? Good mom! Free play nurtures creativity and research shows that too much screen time can impact social interaction and HANG ON YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THEM FOR A MINUTE DID YOU, WHAT KIND OF MONSTER DELIBERATELY INVITES THE POSSIBILITY OF ABDUCTION AND SEXUAL ASSAULT?

The bottom line is, as a parent, no matter what you decide to do — seriously, hear me on this: no matter what you decide to dosomeone somewhere is going to be convinced you’re doing it wrong. Going back to Emily Blunt, she has the right attitude on how to preserve your sanity as you navigate your various options:

I haven’t read anything. I’m just letting (my baby) do her own thing.

Yes. They said it best in everyone’s favorite '80s-era Cold War sci-fi movie starring Matthew Broderick, really:

How do you deal with the over-saturation of advice and hysteria in parenting?

When you were a first time parent, did you read any parenting books?


by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 10:56 AM
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by Platinum Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:48 PM
1 mom liked this

In my opinion there is way TOO MUCH hyperparenting going on.  People have been raising children for generations and frankly most of us had far less problems then the kids of today who are constantly bubble-wrapped and coddled.

by Emerald Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 1:08 PM
1 mom liked this

The first step in avoiding the hysteria in parenting is to step away from Fox News.  Seriously people, turn it off, walk away, and don't ever turn it back on.  You and your children will be much happier this way.

Most of today's parenting issues are caused by too much media sensationalism.  If you stay away from all of the hyperbole in the media you won't spend your life worried over every little thing that most likely won't happen.

by Ruby Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 1:33 PM

 Too many people freak out over the every little thing these days. Good thing I don't really listen to too much of it.

I don't put my kids' first names on their backpacks, but see no problem w/ putting their last name.

As long as they take a walkie-talkie, they get to roam our subdivision. Granted, dd has a more limited range, but she is younger, a bit less observant, and our subdivision is still under construction. Once it's built out, she'll probably get a little more freedom.

They forgot to wash their hands, or use sanitizer? Oh well. Builds their immunity.

While they have all the required vaccinations, and will get the required boosters, I do not get them the flu shot, nor will they get the Garasil shot.

I still get all 3 kids up for school and keep on top of them to make sure they get out the door on time.

Either dh or I stay up w/ ds1 to make sure he finishes his homework.

I'm sure the helicopter parents would criticize me for the free-range aspect of how we parent, and the free-rangers would get on our case for the slightly helicopter aspects. I don't care- my kids are healthy, relatively well-behaved (for others, anyway!), and happy.




by Bronze Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 4:35 PM
When I was a first time parent the Internet didn't exist and that was pretty wonderful to be honest.
It meant you actually knew who you were getting your advice from and whether they were full of crap or not.
by Tammy on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:52 PM

 I agree with most of the article. It gets to be insane. I'm glad the only thing I did online when my kids were little was check email. I enjoy social media now, but am glad I was separate from all of the parenting advice chaos, especially as a new mom.

by on Jan. 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

I don't recall read any parenting books, but there weren't nearly as many back then.  I also didn't typically seek out advice most of the time either.  Mostly I just decided what my goals as a parent were, both short term and long term, what my child(ren) needed at the time, and what I had in me to do...and then chose my actions from there.  

It was funny when after moving to a new community and my third child was born I was suddenly labeled as practicing "this" type of parenting and being "that" kind of parent.I didn't know anything about any of the different parenting philosophies I was being labels with and didn't care to learn more.

by Platinum Member on Jan. 22, 2015 at 1:49 PM

People are crazy these days. My little sister is pregnant right now and she was telling me how much she misses coffee and lunchmeat. I was like "what do you mean?" she informs me you "can't" eat that or drink coffee while pregnant...why not?! I was told to limit my coffee to 2 cups a day, nothing was said about lunchmeat, I was told no soft cheese and to limit my fish consumption. But that really was it. Other than not smoking or drinking of course.

I don't know, my kids seem pretty healthy to me...

by Platinum Member on Jan. 22, 2015 at 1:54 PM

I've never read a parenting book. I'm not all weird about germs. We do proper food handling procedures but I'm not going to be all "OMG you touched the cat wash your hands!!" I didn't cloth diaper, I don't make my own granola bars (learned the other week I'm just awful for that). My kids are vaccinated, including flu shots. I take them to the doctor for checkups, I listen to my doctor. I don't believe in this pseudoscience that floats around these days.

My sister tried asking me about teething jewelry and amber baby necklaces, I still have no clue what that is or why she wants it.  About the only thing I could get pegged for being crazy about is Car seats, but since the car is the most dangerous place you will ever stick yourself or your kid I don't believe my vigilance is crazy. My 9 1/2 yr old is still in a booster, her sister road in one until she was 11. She didn't leave a booster until she passed the 5 step test and I don't give a crap what her idiot friends did, that's their parents problem.

by Bronze Member on Jan. 22, 2015 at 7:18 PM
I don't read parenting books, I don't research anything. I use my God given common sense and so far, have managed to keep everyone alive.

I don't believe in parenting by method. I make decisions as they come and treat all 3 as individuals. My parenting style runs the gamut from old school to more updated approaches. I do what I do.
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by Member on Jan. 25, 2015 at 8:41 AM
I didn't read any parenting books. When I was pregnant I constantly told my mother and mother in law they can offer advice but it is dh and my decision if we follow it.
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