Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parenting Again: The Experts

Whereas I'm quick to analyze the background and possible agenda of theological or historical writers, I was slower to bring this same critical analysis to the family section of the bookstore. I used to believe that having a childrearing book to your name or a medical degree in childhood illness made you an expert in parenting.

I badgered my pediatrician for advice on feeding and sleeping, despite the fact that the typical training for a pediatrician includes about 2 hours on breastfeeding and who-knows-what on sleep. I devoured every book from Ferber to Sears, with confusion and conflict at their differences.

These days, there's no one I'd rather see when my child has a fever than Dr. Medical Degree. But I'd no more ask my pediactrician for parenting advice than my OB for sex therapy.

Ironically, my new mantra for parenting did happen to come from our first pediatrician. It irritated me to no end at the time, because I wanted him to give me step-by-step instructions that would guarantee I was doing the right thing for my child. But now I get it. He said, looking at my husband and me with our son on the exam table, "You've just got to find what works for the three of you, and do it."

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