I remember as a young, first time mother respecting and appreciating the advice I received from older more experienced mothers. I was compliant with nearly all recommendations I received these maternal warriors and supplemented my parenting by following all of my pediatricians advice. I was a sponge absorbing any little tidbit that would make life easier and keep my little one happy and healthy. By the time my youngest son was born, the well intentioned advice was more like fingernails on a blackboard. Inevitably, a young mother with a new baby acts as a magnet for well intentioned advisors, but by then I felt pretty confident in my mothering abilities.
As a grandparent raising my grandson, I am spared all the well-meaning advice unless I encounter a new situation and seek the advice of others. This has happened a few times as I discovered Aaron wouldn't drink milk anymore after we broke him from the bottle, or he would panic during potty training when the urge "to go" overtook him. I had never encountered these situations when my sons were little, so the advice of other's was certainly helpful. But, for the most part I am pretty much a mothering know-it-all and it's rare that I will let my darling husband think otherwise!
There are numerous areas in which parenting has changed, some of those things I completely endorse and others make me step back and say "What the BLEEP?! Are they serious?!". For instance, I am fully supportive of the move away from corporal punishment. I have never approved of spanking a child to gain obedience and I love that it is not typical today. I have threatened Aaron by asking if he wanted a "pop on the hiney" when he was acting out and he usually responds with "yeah" because he has no idea what a pop on the hiney entails. I've also threatened to hang him from the ceiling by his toes and he merely laughs at me. It's a fun game we play that eases the frustration of a moment and brings some levity to a grumpy situation. Yet, the trend of limiting fruit juice when it was recommended in abundance years ago. The habit of giving infants, toddlers and children flu shots or giving infants formula that hasn't been warmed. I'm not so terribly sure about some of these practices and many others.
I shot two down of these questionable practices a couple of weeks ago when we went to the pediatrician for Aaron's 30 month checkup. Our pediatrician questioned me about the amount of fruit juice Aaron drinks each day. I informed him that he drinks between 8 and 16 ounces and was told I should reduce the amount to prevent Aaron from becoming overweight. I asked if he believed Aaron was overweight and I was told "No, not at all, he is proportional to his height". So I told the pediatrician that I didn't believe in restricting any food or drink from children.
Whether it's cookies, cola, juice or ice-cream, as long as it is in moderation and the child engages in a healthy, active play, weight shouldn't be a problem. My son's had all of these things, but soft drinks were not kept in the home except for birthday parties or family events. Sweets were s[ecial treats a couple of times a week, not a dailey staple. My oldest son got his first cavity at age 22 when he was away at college and my youngest has never had a cavity; neither of them are fat in spite of obesity being common in the family genes. Time spent on television, gaming consoles and computers were limited and they stayed active by playing outside, riding bicycles, playing ball and participating in school sports. I think excess is a huge problem in today's society and technology has made it far too easy to be lazy. I teach my children, and now my grandson, that all things can be good in moderation.
The pediatrician agreed with me and didn't press me further with regard to juice. I also decided against Aaron having the flu shot. Perhaps if he were in daycare where he was subjected to germs on a daily basis, but that is not the case. He is at home with me at all times and I am a self professed germ-o-phobic. If someone catches a cold I am wiping every door handle in the house with bleach and when I go to public places I use my shirt sleeve to open doors. I am not comfortable with injecting this stuff into my grandson "just in case".
I've rambled a bit, and should get to my primary point. We raised healthy happy children without the gadgets and obsessions circling through today's generation of parents. Some of the gadgets are cool and do make life easier, but others are completely unnecessary. Do not feel pressured to do things the "new" way, when our "old" way of doing things worked perfectly fine. Be selective in what new techniques, medicines and gadgets feel comfortable for you. As grandparents raising our grandchildren we have no standard to meet, we are the standard for new parents to meet. Do what feels right for you and, as always, be kind to yourself.
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