Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Unsolicied advice

Over on my friend's blog, Anthro Amy, she has a post about people who tend to give you advice when you're not seeking it and don't need it. I was typing a response to her, in specific regard to parenting advice when I started having flashbacks on some of the advice PDaddy and I were given (or get, still). Some of the instances now make me laugh because they were so ridiculous, but others I still find pretty disturbing. I'll put them in categories. Family names have been changed because I still want them to talk to me.

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
1. "You can not do this. You must choose to wed or face bringing a
bastard child into the world."
I was pretty young with my first pregnancy (20) and went to Church (like the good little Catholic I was) to talk to a priest about my feelings. I was scared shitless. And, he played me like a Stradivarius by telling me how adopting my child to an "upstanding Catholic family" would please God. He said, "Either marry or put the baby up for adoption through Catholic services."
Talk about your false dichotomy! In case you haven't noticed, P1 has turned out better than fine.
2. "My my...you're a big boy. It's a good thing nothing happened to
you before you could get baptized." - Nun
When P2 was born, he was in the NICU for a bit and we were told to not take him to church until his immune system had a chance to develop. So...when we finally got around to baptizing him, he was at least six months old. The nun who said that was helping me get P2 dressed for the service and I fought the urge to run to the car and leave. What she said was sick.

3. "Parents! Your duty is not to cater to the child's needs.
Your job is to bring them to the Lord with humble hearts and innocence.
Attempting to create, with them, a more loving relationship than the one they
have with their Creator is wrong." - Priest


Um...says the man with no children. And, what kind of crap is that!

4. Last, but not least...""Why would you insult our God by coming
undressed in his holy place." nursing in church. I breastfed all of
my children. I had children. I know they need to eat and that's why you
should bring bottles!" - Nosy Catholic Mommy

This little gem was said to us during the time when Catholics give the sign of peace to their neighbors. This "Catholic Mommy" gasped when she turned to see my feeding P3. Pdad had taken off his suit coat wrapped it around us AND I had a nursing dress on (the kind with vertical slits in the top to allow access to the boob without pulling your top off). It's a tit!! A breast. A boob. A mammary gland. How is it that women like her can believe in a divine creator and then question breastfeeding. Was her God not responsible for breasts that produce milk perfect for a child? Was her God responsible for making the distance from baby's eyes to mommy's eyes the clearest distance an infant can see? I don't think God did it. But, if you claim God is responsible for creating us, you have to include breasts ad breastfeeding...or did those come from Satan?

Family Advice
1. "If you never put him/her down, then how will they learn to
crawl?"

Um. I've yet to see a three year old who can't walk because they were held to much.
2. "Crying won't hurt him/her one bit. Let him/her cry. He/she
will settle down if you don't respond."

I got this "advice" so many times that I finally xeroxed a bunch of articles telling them that, actually, letting a child CIO (cry it out) teaches the child that they can not depend on anyone to help them. I also sent them a video link from a study down to see what actually happens when babies are allowed to CIO. The babies usually cried until they were physically ill. If there needs still weren't met, they would start rocking back and forth in the crib to try and self-soothe. Eventually, their eyes glaze over and they, in 73% of cases, turned their faces to the wall and sobbed themselves to sleep.
3. "Co-sleeping is s dangerous and leads to sexual perversion."

Well, at least we know why there are so many promiscuous tribes in third world nations. Not! I doubt rapists become who they are because their parents co-slept until the decided they were too old for it. I may open myself up to a can of drama, but...it's no surprise to anyone who knows us in person that it's not uncommon for all six of us sleep in one room. During summer, I'll lie down with P1 and P3 on an air mattress while Pdaddy, P2, and P4 sleep on the bunks. I love the snuggling and small whispers and murmur of a family reading books to kids. In my mind, these moments should be cherished. And, just so it's clear...any of the children can choose to sleep in their own room. The family bed is not a requirement. We've found that, during school seasons, the kids retreat, on their own, to their beds. That's cool, too.

4. "We spanked you and you turned out okay! The Bible says, "Spare
the rod, spoil the child" after all."

The Bible also says to stone unruly children. Why should we take any advice in the Bible as a primer for raising children. I don't spank because I think it's damaging to the child's emotional growth. In my opinion (and I know some will disagree), spanking gives the child the impression that being big means controlling those smaller by violence. It also teaches the child to fear their parent. By spanking, you undermine the idea that discipline should be logical. If a kid, for instance, covers a wall in crayon, then you hand them a tooth brush, some soap and water, and make them clean up their graffiti. Spanking them, in that example, does nothing to help them understand logical consequences. And, last but not least, if you get to a point where you're spanking, then you've just shown a child that you can't control your own behavior.

5. "When my children were babies, we gave them:
rice cereal in bottles when they were six weeks old.
a little rum in their milk to help teething.
formula with Karo Syrup so they'd sleep through the night.

There are probably more, but you get my point. As I said in Amy's blog, in cases like these, I think it's a grandparent's attempt to justify the not-so-great things to their own children. Things do change from generation to generation, but not reading the current literature or ignoring current studies on infancy (or any other stage in childhood) is ignorant. Doing something simply because your parents/grandparents/older friends and relatives did it is stupid.

6. "I know you didn't want me to do this, but..."

I came to hate those words because it always meant they'd done something I specifically asked them not to do. If you know a mother/father doesn't want you to do certain things, then why do them?
What unsolicited advice did you get?

49 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

What no unsolicited advice yet? Come you circling christians.

Well here's some. When climbing the Sydney Harbour bridge do not listen to the guide when the say to strip down to your underwear before putting on the jumpsuit - cold does not begin to describe.

Jennifer Emick said...

No arguments for spanking yet, either...must be the heat? ;-)

The "in our day" stuff always gets me. I will never forget the day the office dingbat butted into a breastfeeding convo to announce that her mother had fed her "perfectly good" carnation milk...that was the most difficult time I've had in my life biting my tongue.

Half rabbit said...

Feeding children rum to help them sleep is true? I just thought it was a cartoon joke. The other comments are awful, but rum, six weeks old.....

Atheist in a mini van. said...

No joke. When I was only a couple of months old and started teething, my dad made this thing called, and I swear this is what it's called, a sugar tit. You tend to not see it now because it wasn't very good for the baby. Essentially, you get a clean square of linen and put a sugar cube in the center...if the baby is teething, you dip rag in rum. You gather it into a "tit" shape and give it to baby. I'm shocked that I didn't develop bottle rot.

Another thing that used to be in baby books was to put rum in formula or breatmilk and get the baby to go to sleep. CRAZY!

What floored me was that my parents were still recommending it as soon as 1995.

Donald said...

This article really rings true for me. My daughters are currently 2 and 4. In the first year of their lives, nearly all the advice I received was terrible. I got a lot of advice, and I don't think any of it was valid.

On the day my first child was born, my mother, who has 20 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, said, "Just let her cry. It's good for the capillaries in her lungs."

Within the first week of both child's lives, we were told by my wife's family that should put rice cereal in the milk to help the baby sleep at night. I told them repeatedly that studies show that babies' digestive system can't digest rice cereal at that age. Of course, they are religious nuts, so bringing up science to try to prove reality is like saying nothing at all. I encouraged them to find me a scientific study that says that it works, but they refused and would just fall back on their experience. "I raised 3 kids just fine, I think I know what I'm talking about".

I was a stay-at-home dad for our first child, and I did attachment parenting. So, I responded to any crying by picking up the baby and holding her, rocking her, etc. This, to my family, is heresy. They felt that I was being manipulated by the child, that the child had me, "Wrapped around her little finger". No phrase has ever angered me more than those words have. Christ, the kid can barely focus on the fingers in front of her face, how on Earth do they think she is capable of manipulation? Sure, when they get older, this happens, but at 1-3 months, I don't think so.

And of course, their alternative, is to just let them cry. Just let your 1-month old cry and cry and cry, because you wouldn't want to be manipulated. Christ, it's not Saddam Hussein, it's a child that needs emotional support.

Christian Parent said...

Parents who take a namby-pamby approach to parenting make my blood boil. God did says spare the rod spoil the child and that my dear weakminded one is how it needs to be done. Its not abusive to correct your children with an open handed stroke to the backside. It makes them pay attention to what you are saying and could save their life. Why you don't spank your kids is that you and others like you are weak. Be the parent and get your kid straightened out by any way necessary including spanking. If I hear one more thing about the family bed I will croak. It is perversion plain and simple. Are you going to snuggle your kid through his first night at college? Maybe I should not put that past you. Co-sleeping is about parents wanting to keep children young. Do you have sex with them in the room as well?

Your minister had it right. You want your kids to worship your twisted parenting when you should give God priority. Atheists love manking it all about them and they make the kids an audience of innocents.

No Possum Zone said...

At least there are two people who have common sense.

Bill said...

I agree with pretty much everything you said in the article. I do have a question on you and your readers though: when my daughter was over a year old, she still wasn't sleeping through the night. I or my wife (usually I) would pick her up and rock her back to sleep, which sometimes took hours. At this point, we were both seriously sleep deprived and we decided to try letting her cry it out. After a terrible week, she started sleeping through the night. I still feel guilty about that, but don't know what else I could have done. I've heard that most children just naturally sleep through after a month or two, but that was not the case here. Anybody have a better way to get a child to sleep through the night?

Nicest Girl said...

what's the matter, no possom zone? nobody reading your blog so you have to pop over to the popular one to try to get some airtime for yourself?

tsk tsk

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Well it didn't take long for the scum to float to the top. At least they wear their heart on their sleave this time and don't pussy foot around pretending to be all nice.

Christian parent,

Spank a child in my country and you may find yourself up on assault charges.

On the bed thing, you have a perverse mind going from children sleeping next to their parents to a wild incestuous orgy. You actually make me physically ill.

I sincerely wish you would fuck off and croak. As to how to strong Possumomma is - read the rest of her blog and eat you own hate filled words.

No Possum Zone,

Get an original idea will you. Starting a blog just to comment on another blogger, you are a serious attention whore.

Josh said...

"My my...you're a big boy. It's a good thing nothing happened to
you before you could get baptized." - Nun

I found that to be quite haunting. That's rather scary.

Caro said...

Thank you for posting this today. I've been feeding on demand but just spent time with a few mothers who have all been told to schedule breastfeeding. I think our health visitor is a bit old school. I still feel what I'm doing is right for my baby but I stupidly came away feeling a bit worried about it.

Oh and spanking is illegal in Denmark for exactly the reasons you describe. A perfect excuse for us to add to our reasons not to do it if we get advice about it.

invisible dragon said...

I feel kind of bad... The only 'family' advice I got when my son was born was to "keep him fed, keep him dry and show him you want him" from my mother. That worked out pretty well for me.

The fuckwit side of the family chimed in later when he was diagnosed as autistic. I remember the argument over whether I should wait until he hit puberty to institutionalise him or do it at age three. As you may imagine, we do not speak. ^___^

Paul said...

First time dad with a 6 week old daughter here, and while we're on the subject, I *want* some advice!

While she slept a good 5.5 hours solid the previous night, last night she didn't last more than 3 at a time, with an hour or two of feeding, changing and soothing in between. When can we expect her to start sleeping through the night?

Gramomster said...

Of my three kids, they all slept through the night at different ages. My grandson is another different case.
I think it really depends on the child, and what he/she needs. It will come, though.

Breastfeed on demand. Scheduling it only leaves you leaky, frustrated, and ready to quit nursing altogether.

I know! The breastfeeding in a religious environment thing! When my youngest was a few months old, we went to Sunday feast at a Hare Krishna temple, and little fella needed to eat. I discreetly began to nurse him, and was asked to leave the temple room as it was offensive to Krishna. Now, this from a religion that encourages mothers to nurse until age 5!!! Just as long as they don't have to know about it I guess. Gah.

Spanking = bad. It does, I agree teach them that big people control littler people through violence. Also, it seems that if you use spanking regularly, the kid gets sort of accustomed to it, and it takes more swats, of a harder variety, to get their attention. So just how far then is too far? No thanks. Consequences need to make sense, and fit the offense. I love the toothbrush and soapy water. I think the grandboy is too young for that one at 2, as he'd pretty likely just play in the water and create a small flood. Hmmmm.... flood creation.... perhaps he is god?

Gramomster said...

Oh right. This is unsolicited advice.

I think my favorite, from my mom, came just a few years ago, when my kids were 15 and 13. We were out west for my sister's wedding, and my youngest, while fiddling with his uncles Zippo, asked if he could have a lighter. I laughed at him, and said something like, "Yeah, sure kid. Because you need to go around setting things on fire. Keep dreaming." To which my mother said, to my sister!, "See, now, when you got interested in my lighter when you were about 7, I just got you your own. That took away the fascination, because it wasn't forbidden. This forbidding things just makes kids want those things more, and then they get in trouble with them later. It just makes no sense to not just get a kid a damn lighter! I mean, how much harm can they do?"
Oh, I don't know... maybe burn the house down?!?!?
And, I didn't say (still proud of myself for this), "And how did that work for you with letting (my brother) drink alcohol from the time he was 11? Didn't exactly prevent alcoholism, now did it?"
Ohhhhhh, that was a toughy.
Give a 7 year old their own lighter... sheesh.

Amy said...

"Crying won't hurt him/her one bit. Let him/her cry. He/she
will settle down if you don't respond."


Anthropological studies show that in "high touch" societies babies cry significantly less than "low touch" societies (such as the traditional west) and when they do cry it is typically for less than 30 seconds.

And goodness me, don't even make me pull out the baby monkey studies.

3. "Co-sleeping is s dangerous and leads to sexual perversion."

Actually co-sleeping reduces SIDS, and, incase of real danger like a burglar or fire, your child is right there with you.

4. "We spanked you and you turned out okay! The Bible says, "Spare
the rod, spoil the child" after all."


Guess what? You didn't ride in a carseat, either! And you're fine! I guess I'll strap junior to the roof rack. Oh, and the Bible says you should marry your rapist, so I'm guessing it's not going to be my end all be all on parenting advice.

Kevin Greene said...

I think the comment by 'Christian Parent' is a Poe. You can never be sure of course but it reads like parody to me.

Amy said...

Christian Parent wrote: Why you don't spank your kids is that you and others like you are weak.

I can agree with you on the point that children need limits and discipline, and it irks me to the ends of the earth to see parents sit on their backsides and let kids run amok.

However, not spanking has nothing to do with being weak. Any correcting of behavior that spanking does is out of fear and bullying, not respect or lessons learned. I was spanked frequently and with great vigor as a child (in my "christian" family) and I remember the spankings, not the reasons for the spankings. I remember being scared, resentful, feeling powerless, and being humiliated. Many times I actually thought my mother was going to kill me, and I literally lived in fear of her temper.

Hitting a child teaches them that using force, especially on people who are physically and/or emotionally subordinate to you, is acceptable. It teaches them that hitting and bullying gets you your way and is a good way to solve a disagreement.

And it is far too easy for a so-called spanking to turn into a beating when you are having "one of those days" as a parent.

Sure, spanking gets you immediate results, but in my opinion it is for parents who are too lazy to think up a logical, age appropriate consequence for the offending action, or, for lesser offenses with older children, calmly and rationally explain the issue and your reasoning to the child. It takes far greater strength of character to control your own emotions, decide on fair discipline, and model the kind of behavior that you would like to see in your children than it does to get angry and hit someone a fraction of your size with limited mental and emotional capabilities.

Children don't think rationally, especially under the influence of strong emotions. The part of the brain that deals with such things isn't even fully developed until adulthood. I could never forgive myself for beating my child over something he is not even capable of understanding.

Amy said...

To Bill:

Sorry to hear about your daughter's sleep issues, what a trial!

For more information about solutions I would try the books "Good Nights" by Dr. Jay Gordon & Maria Goodavage and "The Baby Book" and "The Fussy Baby Book" by the Sears family.

As a side note, anthropology and evolutionary psychology show that sleeping through the night at any stage of life is the exception, not the norm. We're just not designed to sleep deeply for large blocks of time, especially babies. One study in hunter-gatherers even showed that babies who would be classified as "high need" had much higher survival rates than their peers who were low need, so your kid just may have an evolutionary edge ;) I realize all this is cold comfort when all you need is some undisturbed sleep, though!

Perpetual Beginner said...

We were co-sleepers when our boys were infants. Somewhere between 18 months and 3 years they both moved on out to their own bedrooms, pretty much on their own. For a couple more years one or the other would move in for a night if they had a nightmare. Now they don't sleep with us at all.

But ohhh the flack we caught for co-sleeping. The suggestions that they'd still be sleeping with us come college. Christian parent's perversion comment was pretty typical - and what kind of mind does it take to flip from cuddling children to orgies? "How will he ever learn to sleep on his own?"

Yet, if you think about it, most people spend far more of their lives sharing a bed with a partner than sleeping alone.

The most unsolicited advice I've ever gotten was when I ran overdue with my pregnancies. "Take a car ride down a bumpy road." "Have a couple of glasses of red wine." It seemed like everybody had "the solution" - and more important, everyone was convinced that there was something I could do to bring labor on.

Milo Johnson said...

Bottom line? If you are hitting, you are not thinking. You are establishing your will by force, and teaching the one you are forcing that it is all right to do so.

Poodles said...

RUM???

Everyone knows you're supposed to give them Benadryl, not rum. :-P

Since I don't have kids, I really can't speak.

Best advice ever given to us "childless by choice" non parents...probably the old "you'll change your mind someday." Or, better yet, "once you have one of your own, you'll understand."

Ugh!

Enkidu said...

We had someone tell us we should shave daughter's head and rub olive oil on it so the hair would grow in thicker.

Enkidu said...

When can we expect her to start sleeping through the night?
Sigh . . . when she's ready. That's when she'll talk, walk, be potty trained, etc.

S said...

Great post! I've heard all of that and more but family pretty much stopped the comments after my first one. I'm an extended nurser, going on three years with my second and I'm also nursing an almost one year old, so there is no end in sight. We co-slept until my son was 7, both girls are still in our bed. CIO and spanking are ridiculous and completely counter-intuitive.

None of mine slept through the night until they were done teething, around 18 months. I didn't mind because they all dreamfed. I agree with feeding on demand. The best way to keep up your supply to is nurse when the baby is hungry. Schedules seems to always lead to supply issues in my experience. Growth spurts are very tiresome but they don't last too long.

spajadigit said...

What a great post!

The unsolicited advice we get all the time (from everybody with more than one child) is "Oh, you need to have another one!"

For now, one is awesome. If we want a second, we'll cross that bridge then. But, most of the advice we've gotten has been pretty good.

Victorian era mothers used to rub opium on a toddlers gums to get them to sleep. Thankfully, we don't do THAT anymore either!

AlisonM said...

I never spanked, and my two teen girls are regularly complimented for their manners and maturity. We made our expectations clear, and gave the kids praise and rewards when they met or exceeded them, and let them experience related consequences when they didn't (the example of cleaning the wall-drawings off was perfect - happened in our house only once!) It works even better today, when we can explain expectations and consequences, and discuss and negotiate with the kids.

I was born in 1960, and for at least me and my sister, paregoric was still available over the counter, and used to quiet babies. It was an opiate sold for teething pains - and lots of babies had teething pains at very unlikely ages! I'm pretty certain that I resorted to benadryl or tylenol to help one kid or another to sleep at some point, but not until they were older and told me they couldn't sleep. People who had heard my eldest scream and fuss thought I was nuts for not taking advantage of these medicines. . .

And hubby's baby book has a little sheet from the doctor's office outlining his recommended diet at 6 weeks old. It included scrambled eggs, liver, evaporated milk. . .compared to that, someone telling you how to dress or comfort the baby is nothing! Even today, how many people are comfortable going against the doctor's advice?

Country Wife said...

I just recently found out that my mother gave me some sort of drug to make me sleep when I was a baby. I can't remember which one. Hmmm...wonder where that short term memory loss stems from? Drugs as a baby? Probably.

I think we've been through every listed piece of unsolicited advice, and then some. I have relatives that worked in nursing their entire lives that believe my kids will 'catch their death' if I let them go out in the rain.

I agree with what Amy said about remembering the spankings, but not the reason for being spanked. I was spanked so often that I think the times that I did NOT get spanked stand out more in memory.

And I certainly never get tired of the "Well, we did it and it never hurt you" excuse. *rolls eyes* Just because people think I've grown up to be normal doesn't necessarily make it so. **starts chainsaw**

Enkidu said...

Christian Parent said...
Parents who take a namby-pamby approach to parenting make my blood boil. God did says spare the rod spoil the child and that my dear weakminded one is how it needs to be done.

I don't hit my kids, and they behave just fine. Straight As in school, talented musicians, well mannered and helpful around the house.

If you need yo beat your kids to get their attention, perhaps you don't have their attention the rest of the time, and that's your problem.

Katie said...

"You can not do this. You must choose to wed or face bringing a
bastard child into the world."


My mother was given the advice from grandmother at first to "get rid of it" on the count that my father was the parish priest. I hate the stigma the catholic church puts on bastard children, personally speaking as a bastard child, and the guilt those kids are made to feel.

Bwian said...

Well, we did sorta solicit advice on the subject, but "Any woman can breastfeed" turned out to be pretty lousy advice. No, really, not everyone can.

As for spanking, I did try it. My son was not responding to spoken words, regardless of tone or delivery; my wife and I realized we had to dial it back a notch when we accidentally drove another child to tears by using the same tone we were trying on our kid. He wasn't responding to facial cues (since he usually wouldn't look at faces). So we tried a lot of things to get him to recognize that we were telling him things that were important: "Don't pull bookshelves down on yourself", that sort of thing. Spanking was one. I don't think it worked, but to be honest I'm not clear anything we tried worked. I'm not clear he understands "urgency" tone even now, although he has gotten better about actually responding to speech.

Feel free to make the home diagnosis. You'll probably get close... (Well, except maybe christian parent. I don't think "not enough God" is a real diagnosis :p .)

Gramomster said...

Bwian,
How old is your kid? I ask because my oldest, now 23, did many similar sounding type things. He didn't talk or potty train until quite late either. Like, we're talking 4 plus. Lo and behold, the cause was discovered when he had his kindergarten physical. Although he had never demonstrated symptoms of ear infection, he had apparently had several, and his eustacian tubes were blocked or something like that. He got the little tubes in his ears, and bingo! He started talking up a storm, listening to what we said, understood direction to potty.... Holy shit! He hadn't been able to hear us well!!! Went on the be quite successful as a student and an athlete.
What a trip...

Enshoku said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enshoku said...

I wrote a response to no possum zone at my blog. So, so many ad hominems...

In other news, congratulations Pmomma on being popular enough to have an anti blogger, maybe if you get more of them and they join together you can be harassed as much as PZ meyers!

John said...

"Well, we did sorta solicit advice on the subject, but "Any woman can breastfeed" turned out to be pretty lousy advice. No, really, not everyone can."

My wife could breastfeed, but my son refused to take the breast.

He also would not go to sleep without Danielle Steele.

When my son was just born, he refused to feed from the breast. My wife would call the pediatrician who would advise us to just relax. "He'll eat when he gets hungry enough." Easy for her to say, she wasn't holding a screaming baby.

I had had enough. "That's enough," I said, "I'm giving him a bottle. He ate it up like he never ate before. (Which was easy to do since he had never ate before).

Two hours later, he wanted more, so I fed him. This went on all night. Every two hours. After he finished a bottle he would not go to sleep right away and I would have to comfort him until he fell asleep. It was boring as hell.

So the next day, while I was buying some more formula, I decided to buy a paperback from the best-seller section. I picked up Danielle Steele's "Daddy."

That night after I fed him, I laid him down on my lap and started reading. He was as quiet as a mouse; I thought he was asleep, but no, he was staring at Ms. Steele's picture on the back of the book. My daughter noticed it. "I think he thinks that's his mother", she said.

She might have been right. My wife had long dark hair in those days and while she doesn't really look like Danielle Steele, babies are pretty stupid.

This went on for two weeks. I would feed him, put him on my lap, and he would stare at the picture until he fell asleep. I would then put him in his cradle and I would doze in the easy chair. I couldn't actually go to bed, because I would have to keep my hearing aids on turned up to full volume so I would hear him every time he need his tank filled up.

Even after I went back to work, and my wife took over the lion's share of the feeding, he would be restless if she were feeding him when I was home. He greatly preferred having daddy feed him, and he continued to be comforted by Danielle Steele until he was practically off the bottle.

I read 28 Danielle Steele book in those several months.

I enjoyed it immensely

Emily said...

John, my oldest had latch difficulties - he couldn't figure out how to latch onto the breast, which wasn't helped by my engorgement, nor by his hunger. We were able to solve that with a nipple shield, available at Target for around $4. It provides a surface similar to a bottle nipple that's easier for a baby to latch on to.

I realize that may not have been your son's problem, but it sounded quite like what I experienced.

We went on to successfully nurse for 19 months, and thank goodness because formula is expensive.

M.V. said...

I have gotten, If you shave your babies hair it will grow back thicker. I actually saw one of our family members do that to their little girl. I couldn't believe they would actually do that. Poor thing.

redd said...

If "possum" means "To be able" then that means that the idjit who started the no possum zone is
incapable...

Which I could kinda guess, ya know? ;)

My MIL told me once I got preggers, I'd have to eat meat, or my baby would be born a preemie or dead! How insensitive can you be?

She also told me if I didn't stop nursing him (at 3 weeks!!) and feed him meat as he grew up...he'd be stunted and/or stupid.

Well, I ignored her....he was 10 lbs at birth, (9 days after the EDD), started college at 17, has an IQ of around 140 and is 6ft 5in now.

Stupid cow...;o)

Karen said...

My husband and I don't have children by choice, because of a host of personal issues having nothing to do with either fertility or not liking them. Over the years we've gotten TONS of unsolicited advice about how we're unspeakably selfish, children would keep us together (we've managed to do that by ourselves for 28 years), we were cheating our parents by not providing grandchildren, we were ignoring some god's plan for us, etc. GAH!

Enshoku said...

redd, npz is directly referring to possum momma, and she said she originally used possum as a euphemism for cleverness, so he/she does indeed exist in the "no cleverness zone".

On a side note, I don't find your mother in law to be a cow, rather a fruit and she doesn't wish to be eaten...

Jessica said...

Great post, Pmomma. I got a lot of unsolicited advise from my MIL, most of which I ignored. It was only a problem one time. My son had reflux when he was a baby, and my MIL insisted it was a tummy ache and insisted on crushing up a candy cane and putting it in his bottle with some water. He was maybe 2 months old at the time? I was really not happy about that. I totally agree with your stance on spanking. I was spanked once in my life, by my dad, and he made sure I knew why. He probably lectured me for five minutes on what I did wrong and what he was going to do, but managed to do it in such a way that I wasn't scared of him, I just felt awful for doing what I did, and never did it again. I don't even think the spanking hurt that much. I've swatted my son a few times, but it's usually a last resort, when time-outs and whatnot don't work. And sadly, it's usually done out of my own frustration. I don't feel great afterwards.

cockingasnook said...

This sort of thing is going on right now, today, in my 2-yo nephew's home. Old-fashioned Gramma and all sorts of early-childhood-development "help" versus insecure and inexperienced young mother.

The baby comes to us a couple of days a week and we are going to start encouraging young mother to come with him to see how living is done in loving and respectful homes.

Sigh. . .

Nance

Karen said...

I'm so happy that you posted this. We got a *ton* of unsolicited advice when our now-6-year-old was first placed with us. Everything we did was wrong; from letting her sleep in her car seat (actually, it was recommended to us by her foster family, and worked a treat until she was 3 months) to walking her around until she fell asleep at night to sprinting into the room when she started to cry. Of course, it was easier to ignore advice given from 2000+ miles away...

I may open myself up to a can of drama, but...it's no surprise to anyone who knows us in person that it's not uncommon for all six of us sleep in one room.
/whispers softly You know, even now we still do that...Like on the 4th of July, for instance, when the whole neighborhood seemed to be setting off mortars in the street.

walkingawayfromreligion said...

I just found your blog and thought this was very well written, it kept my attention and horrified me at the same time. I've been there, I've heard it all. My 17 year old son is a bastard - literally - so I got plenty of crap from the religious zealots in my life when I had him.

Anyhow, I won't comment on your comments...I just want to say that the only piece of parenting advice I have ever given is "don't follow ANYONE's advice unless you asked for it and it feels right for you". Mothers (and fathers too maybe? I wouldn't know) have a natural instinct. If you LOVE your child and you are a healthy person (i.e. you're not a drug addict or child abuser, victim of violence etc.) Then you will be able to discern for yourself what is right for you AND your child(ren).

Baal's Bum said...

Thankfully times change
we are know leaving behind the old wives tales and beginning to raise kids in a loving and disciplined environment without the need for violence. At least the ones which want the best for their children anyway.
We were not in contact with a church when our girls were young so we didn't have to put up with religious claptrap from people, we did however get a few raised eyebrows from MIL but even she acknowledges brain and baby first bullshit second.

drob said...

While I am not one of those Christians who try and beat you over the head with their beliefs, I do stand firm to my convictions. I think the problem that most aethiests have is two-fold, first, not unlike me in my younger years, you can't stand the thought of authority telling you what should or should not be done. There is a deep seeded resistance, an innate rebellion, in all of us that defies authority. Secondly, again not unlike me, you have probably been exposed, at one time in your life or another, to "bad regligion." Only in the past 5 years have I realized that there are probably more churches and "religious" entities that miss the mark of Jesus than who hit it, probably far more that miss. I am a Christian who has a spiritual relationship with Christ, I am NOT a religious man. Scripted, regimented, legalistic, screaming in your face "religion" is not what Christ taught and if someone claiming to be a Christian has offended you because of these types of behaviors, then I apologize. Christians should hate the sin, love the sinner, and that's what I attempt to do. So, with all that said, I would say this to the original comment posted. Spanking is a personal preference. I think the main key to discipline is having the child know that you are the parent and you are in charge and what you say goes. It doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't explain why you are doing what you are doing, but it does mean the child should obey. As far as the co-sleeping, the problem I have with it is from a psychological point of view, not from a sexual perversion aspect. Bonding with a child is vital to them becoming emotionally healthy adults, so having them close by in the early months of life is a good thing, but at some point, children need to develop independence and I do believe that this sleeping arrangement thwarts that. Even if on a smaller scale. There is also something to siblings bonding separate and apart from the bonding with parents, and with all of you in the same room, it is difficult to have that true bonding. Finally, with regards to the church, baptism, etc. I really seems like most people in this blog have had bad experiences in the Catholic church. I'm shocked (sarcasm). The Catholic church has probably done more damage to the Christian faith than just about anything (maybe other than televangelists)else. I would just ask you to find a local church that believes in the Bible and Christ, not in a man or woman, and who loves the sinner and hates the sin. And Sean, we can all get along if we just respect each other, but at the same time hold true to our beliefs. God bless everyone and have a great day!

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

While I am not one of those Christians who try and beat you over the head with their beliefs, I do stand firm to my convictions. I think the problem that most aethiests have is two-fold, first, not unlike me in my younger years, you can't stand the thought of authority telling you what should or should not be done. There is a deep seeded resistance, an innate rebellion, in all of us that defies authority.

I think the problem you have is that you form opinions on atheists, based not on what the atheist themselves say but on preconceived religious notions of atheists. Indeed you have cast a wide net here scooping up all atheists – atheism is the non-acceptance of a belief in a god that’s it, that’s all that can be truly said that groups us together. So you will find anarchist atheists, racist atheists humanist atheists. You have been extremely condescending in your above statement basically calling us rebellious children. I am a law abiding citizen. I respect authority when there is good reason to and not just when it’s aligned with my personal interests. I personally do not agree with the authority espoused by the religious. A good percentage of them do not have my education, my life experience nor do they seem to be able to see that the bible is an outdated, poorly written glut of superstition that is outrageously out of date.

Secondly, again not unlike me, you have probably been exposed, at one time in your life or another, to "bad regligion." Only in the past 5 years have I realized that there are probably more churches and "religious" entities that miss the mark of Jesus than who hit it, probably far more that miss.

I am now more convinced than ever that you have no real experience of atheists out side your own preconceived notions. First we are rebelling against religion, now we are just reacting to bad religion. Well I can’t deny that for some the catalyst that led them to question their religion was a bad experience, but the majority of people remain atheists because when you look at the credible evidence for God, it just is not there.


I am a Christian who has a spiritual relationship with Christ, I am NOT a religious man. Scripted, regimented, legalistic, screaming in your face "religion" is not what Christ taught and if someone claiming to be a Christian has offended you because of these types of behaviors, then I apologize.

Don’t apologise for others behaviours over which you have no control. That burden would, I fear be too much for you to bear. Do you apologise and take responsibility for all the evil perpetrated by Christians? You can’t apologise for other people.
You can, however, apologise for being ignorant(not an insult)of atheists and stick around and learn a bit more.

Christians should hate the sin, love the sinner, and that's what I attempt to do.


This is bigotry. Homosexuality is a sin, in your eyes (or the churches) it is also part of a persons psychology, an inseparable part of their make up. They are homosexual you can not divorce the two. Hating the sin and loving the sinner is an abhorrent idea. It allows you to hate a part of a person, but make yourself feel good, excuse yourself from bigotry. “I hate what you are but I love you”.


So, with all that said, I would say this to the original comment posted. Spanking is a personal preference. I think the main key to discipline is having the child know that you are the parent and you are in charge and what you say goes. It doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't explain why you are doing what you are doing, but it does mean the child should obey.

This is your opinion. Do you have in evidence that should sway my views on the matter?

As far as the co-sleeping, the problem I have with it is from a psychological point of view, not from a sexual perversion aspect. Bonding with a child is vital to them becoming emotionally healthy adults, so having them close by in the early months of life is a good thing, but at some point, children need to develop independence and I do believe that this sleeping arrangement thwarts that.

Again have you got any studies that would change my mind? In poorer countries, people do not have the luxury of sleeping in separate rooms and children, often have to be independent at a much earlier age. You link sleeping in the parent’s bed to stunted independence. Evidence please?

Finally, with regards to the church, baptism, etc. I really seems like most people in this blog have had bad experiences in the Catholic church. I'm shocked (sarcasm). The Catholic church has probably done more damage to the Christian faith than just about anything (maybe other than televangelists)else,

I have no time for the catholic church and will comment on their abuses, and the stupidity the continue to promote till the cows come home, I was raised a catholic in a loving community, never had a bad experience. So no we are not just reacting to a bad experience.

I would just ask you to find a local church that believes in the Bible and Christ, not in a man or woman, and who loves the sinner and hates the sin.
Believe in a book written down from stories by desert nomads with less education than an eight year old? Believes in a character that may not have even existed as a real historical figure(based on the evidence) – who displays contradictory characteristics and expounds contradictory philosophy’s. Belief in someone, who if they lived has crumbled into dust.

And Sean, we can all get along if we just respect each other, but at the same time hold true to our beliefs.

Respect where respect is due. My response to Christian Parent was entirely warranted. She accused PM of having sexual relations with her children (veiled though it was). I will show you respect as a human by pointing out the errors in your thinking. You can hold your beliefs but I will challenge them, as Christians seem to think it is alright to challenge mine all the time, it’s only fair.

Milo Johnson said...

It's incredibly easy to disprove that argument that "co-sleeping" somehow damages children. It's only for the last couple of hundred years of human existence that NOT sleeping together has become at all common, and it's still primarily in western cultures where that has happened. Most of the world STILL sleeps communally.