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longgone's avatar

Do you think it is beneficial to read parenting books?

Asked by longgone (17089points) December 8th, 2014

Ever since I was about eleven, I have been reading my mum’s parenting magazines. My mum has done a lot of reading in this field, and continues to do so. However, I also know many people who consider parenting books a waste of time. They argue that being with one’s children is not something that can be learned from a book.

What do you say?

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think they are beneficial, but I also think a mom knows her own child and should listen to her own intuition too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, I do. Always open to other ideas.

When my kids were little I read “Tough Love,” by Dr. Dobson I know, I know. Don’t say anything. The one thing that I remember taking away from it is if you tell them not to do something, not to cross whatever line, and they “flop one hairy toe over that line,” then discipline is required. I still agree, to this day.

Too many parents say “Don’t do this or that,” and the child slowly starts doing “this and that,” and the parents wait until it becomes a problem, then they yell or spank or whatever.

My oldest kind of had a problem with that (she was also very, very young when she had him.) Her son would be sitting on the coffee table (not an offense in my book,) and she’d tell him to get down and he would. Then, 5 minutes later he’d be back on the table. She’d respond with “Well, he never listens to me anyway,” and never say another thing about it. Very inconsistent.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Being open minded enough to expose ourselves to new ideas, research and evolving knowledge and understanding can only help us to be better parents. I’m a parent but my experience doesn’t cover every aspect of parenting and I didn’t experience every problem and situation a parent might encounter. Not to mention, children and parents are all individuals and there’s no one rule that fits all. In addition, our understanding of child development has improved since I had my children and will continue to improve.

I don’t think there is any situation that can’t be improved by engaging with quality texts. As with anything, we need to read from a range of sources and be critical about how we interact with the content.

janbb's avatar

“Your Baby and Child from Birth to Age Five” helped me immeasurably when my kids were little. As they aged, I didn’t read parenting books as much.

ibstubro's avatar

Opinion 1: Cookbooks
Parenting books are a lot like cookbooks.
*People have been doing both since the beginning of time.
**The only way to fill an entire book is to jack with things just to add ‘ingenuity’.
***We’re in the information age, and it’s better to seek specific answers to specific questions from trusted sources.

Opinion 2: Self-help Books
Parenting books are a lot like Self-help Books.
*To a lot of people, the information seems self-evident.
**If the information presented is not self-evident, “Hooray for Books!”

Opinion 3: Heloise
*You’ve been reading Heloise for years. Sniggering at the ‘Vinegar shined my glass!” gushes. You read a hint, your jaw drops, and you’re all, _“Why didn’t I think of that??”

In short, it depends on your dynamic with your kids. There’s no right or wrong. Do what you feel makes you a better parent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But it does help to get other opinons @ibstubro. Whether you incorporate them or not is dependent on your dynamics with the kids.

hominid's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit: “I don’t think there is any situation that can’t be improved by engaging with quality texts.”


But I will admit to that even though I have 6, 9, and 12-year old kids, I have yet to read a parenting book. I’ve read plenty of articles on child development and specific issues. And I’m surrounded by people who take parenting very seriously. However, most of my parenting has been driven by a few core principals that are very important to me. Parenting is like meditating – the instructions seem simple (pay close attention to the breath, etc) – but the practice is extremely challenging.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I remember having an argument with my ex once. I told him he needed to start thinking about his parenting skills.
He responded with “Parenting isn’t something you think about. It’s just something you do.”
That may have been when I realized we were in trouble.

LornaLove's avatar

I have used quite a few books and guides since I felt that my parents were not adequate and therefore I was lacking in some skills. I think it should be a mix of both. Being guided when confused and using your own intuition if you have that intuition.

ibstubro's avatar

ALL of my options incorporated other ideas, @Dutchess_III.

Read my last line on the post you commented on!

zenvelo's avatar

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, “Your Baby and Child from Birth to Age Five” and “What to Expect The First Year” were all helpful because they weren’t preachy or trying to tell us how to do thing the right way, they were more explanatory on what was going on.

And by the time my son was 2 or so, he was enough of an individual that the books didn’t mean anything about him. By then his individual quirks were something to talk to his pediatrician about.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Reading damned near anything is beneficial. On a subject as crucial as parenting, the more information, the better. Those books and magazines are like combat manuals. Of course reading the books won’t make you a veteran, but they can well open your eyes on whether or not you’re ready to join up.

Buttonstc's avatar

In general, I believe you can’t have too much information so yes, I think parenting books can be a terrific resource.

However, for any one particular parenting book to be helpful depends upon who is the author and how much their basic philosophy of life matches your own.

Secondly, your life experience in your family of origin is also an important contributing factor. If you came from a family with a lot of love, security and good structure then you’ll likely follow the pattern laid down by your parents and need a lot less info and guidance than someone else not so fortunate.

But if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, for whatever reason, it’s more important than ever that you get good solid info. from parenting books in order to avoid perpetuating the same dysfunctional patterns from the family of your childhood.

Well balanced parenting books from reputable sources could be an invaluable resource for you in this regard.

longgone's avatar

Thanks. I agree that growing up with loving and capable parents may make reading books less important. The point that “parenting books” in and of themselves are not necessarily helpful is a good one, too – it certainly helps to research sources and find concepts you feel comfortable with.

prairierose's avatar

Sure, I think parenting books can be helpful, although each child is an individual and what information may be useful for one child may not apply to another child. Parenting books do have some good ideas, the trick is to decide which ideas to try.

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