I swore I’d never stoop to the level of giving unsolicited parenting advice. Especially when in all truth, although I have three children, none of them have actually so much as successfully navigated kindergarten yet. However, I’m sure at least one will (probably the one I choose to call Adam, as Ben and Grace may be in Juvie before then). Besides that, my child raising tip is SO awesome and infallible it doesn’t even matter. My tip TRANSCENDS all other tips and childhood personalities. I’m so excited. But I digress…I have some thoughts on fear to lead up to my tip and tie it all together like two under-threes tying pasghetti together in an effort to scale the back fence and…God only knows.
Anyway…I admittedly am somewhat counter culture in my approach to life. I was one of those kids who never felt like I fit in. I was overweight, wore glasses, really REALLY loved reading as a child which didn’t make for instant fitting in and due to my inability to embrace moderation, once I decided to shed my nerd girl image I went WAY too far in the other direction causing some issues (ahem). These days, I try to live my life by being in gratitude and generally avoiding mainstream media. For instance, I don’t listen to news radio, I don’t have cable television, I intentionally avoid googling health conditions and I consider Facebook a source of entertainment and not advice.
The way I figure it, I’m not missing much. Whenever I am exposed to mainstream media I am astounded at how fear seems to be the primary product, wrapped up as ‘news’ or ‘entertainment’. There is so much information out there about the latest health scare, different ways your children can be harmed, terrorist attacks and the like that I completely see why people who are too plugged in might feel the need to anaesthetize themselves. It’s downright horrifying.
Last week alone, I learned, thanks to the New Yorker magazine via Facebook, that the Pacific Northwest is about 50 years overdue for a cataclysmic earthquake, followed by an even more cataclysmic tsunami, followed by more cataclysms It was very unsettling and several people I ‘know’ on FB are considering moving out of state (to where they will be exposed to fires, tornadoes and other disasters but the New Yorker wasn’t talking about that last week).
There is a weird type of insanity that tells us if we make ourselves aware of everything there is to be afraid of and engage in mental contingency planning then we are somehow proactively avoiding impending disaster. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking preparedness by any means But a lot of what we are fearing is so unlikely to happen in the first place, then we soothe ourselves with meaningless actions, feel better, and when it never happens we somehow feel more in control of the uncontrollable. I used to live this way and now see it as complete insanity.
I feel terrible for the younger generations, because they are exposed to so many more things to be afraid of than my generation was with the information available to them. So many things to worry about and so much mental energy to waste being anxious. A friend of ours recently told me that he and his wife are expecting their first child. He said he never knew before this how many dangers there existed for children. For example, you can’t feed a child grapes. He was very concerned about when his mother would come to look after the (mind you yet unborn) baby because what if she didn’t know all this and tried to feed the baby a grape?
Part of me wants to laugh, but having three very young children, I get it. If you lay the baby on its tummy it smothers, if you lay it on its back it chokes. If you let them cry they won’t bond, if you don’t breast feed until they’re (what is it now, one year, four, sixteen, I can’t keep track) they’ll be asthmatic, and autistic and subject to rickets or some other childhood disease. It’s definitely terrifying and not only that, everyone has a theory, and everyone has followed their theory and their kids turned out okay so that convinces them that their theory is right.
Of course my husband and I have our theories as well. However, I do have one piece of advice for parents that transcends all other theories. If you take this advice you will be saved endless pain and countless bad experiences with your children. Not only this, this advice works for every child from birth to adolescence every time without exception. Avoid my advice at your peril. This is, actually, the only thing I really KNOW with confidence about childrearing. Are you ready?
Whenever you pick up a child, GET YOUR FACE OUT OF HEAD RANGE!!! Crane your head to the right or left, it doesn’t matter, but do NOT let your face come anywhere near their head. Ever. The very first time you ignore this advice you will get head butted in the teeth or nose so hard as to make you see stars.
So there you go. My infallible tip. You’re welcome