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According to media headlines you are the worst mother ever

Every day moms are confronted with media headlines proclaiming some new study has found their chosen parenting styles to be the worst ever. If we base everything we know about parenting and raising children off of what the media tells us, we are all basically inept at this whole parenting thing.

As someone who writes about parenting, every day I scour studies and headlines and attempt to determine which new information moms and dads need to know in order to effectively parent. In my own scientific research (which involves the meticulous action of making up a random statistic) 89 percent of the information I come across is totally stupid. Meaning that I refuse to believe so many of us are making detrimental and harmful choices in regard to child rearing based on what I read.

Just this morning I read a new statistic that claimed: 

Mothers who choose not to breastfeed are ‘twice as likely to get postnatal depression because they miss out on mood-boosting hormones released by the process’

I think breastfeeding is awesome. I also think moms who chose not to breastfeed are awesome. And even though some of these studies do back up what they are saying with scientific research there are so many other factors that play into scenarios like the above. When it comes to parenting, the only headline I truly believe in (which I also just made up) is: 

Your kid will probably turn out OK

How can you determine if you are parenting correctly? Ask yourself a few simple questions.

Do you feed your child?

Do you clothe your child?

Do you talk to your child?

Do you hold your child?

Do you keep your child away from household poisons, sharp objects and loaded handguns?

Do you use a car seat?

Do you let your child sleep when they are tired?

Does your pediatrician tell you they are doing just fine?

Your kid will probably turn out OK!

Parenting is hard. There is no scientific method to raising some perfect child who will one day grow up to be happy and healthy and independently wealthy and bestow upon you a summer home in France. There is no scientific formula to this. Sure, if you want to raise a child who is one day someone who enjoys books, you read to them. But I cannot think of a single parent who flat out refuses to read to their child. If you want to raise a child who will one day eat vegetables, you feed them vegetables. But I cannot think of a single parent who reuses their child broccoli. You hold their hand when you cross the street and kiss them when they fall down and make sure they play outside and feed them when they are hungry and change them when they have a dirty diaper. That’s how you parent. Which you already know.

So the next time you read some inflammatory headline that claims whatever you are doing is the wrong way to do it, look at your kid. Unless they are eating a broken lightbulb and playing with your collection of used syringes while triple X-rated movies play in the background, you are probably doing OK.

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