Parenting Books Junkie: Where the Self-Help Books Get It Wrong

My name is Casey and I’m a parenting book addict.

Parenting Books

I have a problem. I love a good book. And I love research. And I worry that I’m not being a good mom all the time. Not because I’m doing anything wrong, really, but more because of the weight of having 3 lives that I will shape – good or bad. It feels so heavy when I think about it – what if I mess it up?

So, to feed my fears, I read more than my share of parenting books. If I see a book that speaks to me, I cannot help but buy it. Sometimes they get read all the way through, sometimes I hope that I can receive their information through osmosis, and sometimes I read a few chapters and abandon it for a new novel or get lost in a new TV show. Because, really, how many of us moms want to spend that precious hour or after the kids go to sleep reading about how to be a better parent?

Even before I buy the book, I know that I won’t read the book through all the way. I know that I already have 3 books telling me how not to yell, how to be a “fun” mom, 2 audio books that address my parenting failures, and multiple websites I follow. I have learned enough to carry out the type of parenting I want to. I have formed my opinion and have my parenting “philosophy” if you will. But somehow, the idea that I could possess the solutions to sibling rivalry, emotional health and so much more within a book… it’s just too tempting.

Pbooks

And guess what? The books I own are not consistent. There will always be contradicting research. There will always be a new study that says what you have been doing is now wrong.

But what the books forget to tell you, many times, is that it is OK to struggle with parenting. It is OK to have no idea what you are doing and to apologize and correct it later. You do not have to have all of the solutions at your fingertips. You are a good mom, you can do this, and if you need to fly by the seat of your pants today, it will be OK.

Put that book down tonight, give yourself a break, and know that every day that you wake up and provide for your children, love them, take care of their emotional needs, and are there for them means that you are a good parent. And if you can’t accomplish all of that today, tomorrow brings a new start.

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3 thoughts on “Parenting Books Junkie: Where the Self-Help Books Get It Wrong

  1. So true! I definitely will pick up a good tip or two from each book that I read, but they always contradict each other. Sometimes I wonder if my inconsistency from trying different methods isn’t doing more harm than good. I might just start going with my instincts instead of reading a dozen books a year that all say something different!

  2. I completely agree, though, I have the opposite problem- I probably should read parenting books and don’t. My toddler’s tantrums can be out-of-this-world intense, and it probably would ‘t hurt me to read up on the subject.

  3. Yup, fantastic advice. I even heard that just the fact that you read parenting books and advice already makes you a good parent. I think it’s good that books contradict because that’s what people do—we all have different philosophies. So reading many of them can help inspire which direction you want to go in.

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