Shouldn’t We Invest More Thought In Our Parenting Than Planning Our Next Vacation?

by jennifer on November 10, 2008

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The decisions we make for our daughter today may affect her for a lifetime in more ways than one, which, in my opinion, makes them some of the most important and far-reaching we will ever be faced with. And yet, it seems that many people are willing to put more time into researching vacation destinations or what car to buy than into questions like what to feed their children (and why) or whether or not to vaccinate them, and if so how (selectively? delayed? or according to the standard schedule?).

It’s easy to defer to other people with some authority – real or perceived – especially on such intimidating subjects. The pediatrician, the self-proclaimed “expert” author of a popular book, or even our parents might offer an easy answer. Certainly following their advice is convenient, and provides a sense of assurance that we made the “right” choice. But while other people can contribute valuable information to the analysis, ultimately the responsibility for decisions made for our daughter rests with me and my husband. It’s a responsibility we take seriously, and not one we’re willing to delegate.

That parenting should be a conscious and thoughtful process is very much a part of the AP philosophy. Every child is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work for each of them. Accordingly, the principles of attachment parenting don’t prescribe specific techniques or conclusions for most issues parents must consider, but rather reminds them to educate themselves and make informed choices about what’s best for their children instead of simply accepting conventional parenting practices without question. My best AP friend and I may have ultimately made different decisions about which vaccinations our kids would receive – or whether they’d receive them at all – but both were made after careful consideration of our individual children and circumstances and with all the information we could reasonably collect. What’s important is not necessarily the final determination, but the thoughtful inquiry and awareness that led to it.

My husband and have been accused of over-thinking many of the decisions we make for our daughter; I’ve been known to plow through several sources on a subject before I’m ready to settle on a course of action (my personal parenting library definitely reflects which issues I struggle with the most). It’s been pointed out to me that “not everyone reads as much as you do.” True. But we’re not talking about curling up with a glass of wine and a good novel here. We’re talking about the choices we’re making for our child. Shouldn’t those merit a certain amount of attention from parents?

Jennifer blogs about her family’s journeys in attachment parenting and natural family living (as well as photography) at Postcards From the East End.
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jennifer (8 Posts)


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

justine November 11, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Brava, Jennifer! Displaying intellectual rigor in all aspects of our lives (and our children’s’) is indeed an important responsibility…and one that many are not confident to take on b/c they have been led to believe that the “experts” have their best interests at heart. I l often consult with “experts” to gain new information, but my hubby and I are the only “experts” when it comes to making the actual choices. I would rather be accused of over thinking a situation than live with the consequence of having over reacted…or worse, under reacted!

Thank you for sharing.

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TwinToddlersDad November 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I think you raise some interesting points. I enjoyed reading your post.

I don’t think it is an “Either-Or” situation. Just because you need to spend time planning your vacation, or buy a car, does not mean that it is not possible to ALSO spend time on parenting. Both are important.

Unless you are planning to leave the child behind with grandma when you go for your vacation, you need to spend time planning it well because your child is going to be a part of it.

We live in a world of choices. So much so that we are constantly having to juggle and make decisions. At times it can be overwhelming. To an outsider, it might appear that parents are somehow ignoring their children because they are spending far too much time on thinking about – and doing things – that are important to them. I do not believe so; I think that at heart, every parent is concerned about the well-being of their children. I have learned not to judge because parenting is a very personal thing.

I agree with you that parents should make informed choices. And of course, ultimately the buck stops with them. I am convinced that most parents do take this responsibility very seriously. They may “give up” once in a while if they cannot keep up. But over the long run, they are “programmed” to raise their kids to the best of their abilities.

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