Metamorphosis Elementary School Of Monticello Inc

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Similac Ad Thoughts

When my son was almost three I heard him remark, "I fink I need anudah botto of Simiwac." He was enroute to the refrigerator where his bottles were lined up in the door. Reflecting upon this, and a mountain of other mistakes I made as a young parent, I smile and shake my head. And yes I would have breast fed exclusively had I received better instruction, but honestly, now I'm more interested in the fact that I let a child who could verbalize the actual brand of formula he preferred drink from a bottle rather than a glass. Live and learn indeed. I'm not hard on myself anymore for not knowing everything I wish I had grasped back then. I was doing the best that I could with the knowledge I had at the time. And that is why this new ad for Similac just fascinates me.

If parenting has become this intense it is time for some serious scrutiny. The funny thing is that I did not find myself as interested in the feeding and diapering debate as I was the hypervigilance from parents and the focus of attention that today's children receive.  (I'm not speaking of the runaway stroller, but really, can today's parents have a conversation without the topic being their children?) Poor parents. Poor children.

Child-rearing questions have become part of the role of educators over my career. I don't want to delve deeply into the confusion here except to say that since the 1950's parents have been hit with so much advice from parenting books and videos, who can blame them for feeling lost?

But if these actor/parents were attending one of my parenting classes I would tell them three things...

1. Stop hovering over your children and let them develop their independence. Sure, show them how to do something, and then stand back. Let them play by themselves inside and out so that they can learn to imagine and think for themselves a bit. This includes making mistakes and getting hurt sometimes.

2.  Get rid of the diapers as soon as your child is in the sensitive period for potty training. Both kinds of diapers impact the environment, and the easiest time for a child to learn toilet habits is earlier not later.

3.  People fall in love and decide to share a life together for many reasons. For some people children are a part of that decision. A part. Not the be-all end-all that they have become. Children are happiest when parents are unified leaders. They are not well served by parents who have forgotten that they were best friends to begin with, and that the children are a wonderful addition to their partnership. So love and treat each other with utmost respect and let your children know that they are not the hub of the wheel--you are.

Three things--so many more, but these three, in my opinion, are crucial. You do not have to be perfect parents. I think that all of this striving toward perfect parenting is a big mistake for parents and children. Do not lose sight of the fact that there is a large margin for error in raising children. Thank goodness. I can look back and breathe a sigh of relief.

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