The Big Problem With Parenting Advice

Yup I fully appreciate the irony of a post about the problem with parenting advice on a blog which focusses on giving parenting advice… but bear with me…!

As a young mum, I lapped up every parenting book I could get my hands on. I scoured the internet to find out what I should be doing and how. I wrote lists, booked classes, and absorbed everything I could from other parents.

I was desperate to do the very best by my kids.

But here’s the thing – every child is different.

Unwanted parenting advice - two girls with clipboards

Every child is different

When it comes to parenting, there is no one-size-fits all! Each child has their own personality, their own speed of development, and their own life experiences.

To be honest, this is something I didn’t really appreciate until baby number two arrived…

Jenny was almost four when Charis came along. I was well on my way with my parenting journey. I thought I had a good understanding of what should happen, when, and how to tackle the different stages.

But Charis has a completely different personality to Jenny – she’s more assertive, less outgoing, more independent, less sensitive.

They’re different.

And they need to be parented differently.

For example, Charis will happily sit down and learn her letters with me, but Jenny will need a lot more encouragement to sit and do her spellings. On the other hand, a simple look is usually enough to correct Jenny’s behaviour, but Charis can go through the whole “time out” process and still be angry.

What is gentle parenting - my big piece of parenting advice - child looking over a bridge at canal boats

Parenting advice should be adaptable

So here’s the thing I’ve learnt – parenting advice should be adaptable.

Just because one child needs 12 hours sleep every night, doesn’t mean they all do. And just because one child potty trained by 18 months doesn’t mean they all will.

Parenting advice should be a starting point, to give you an idea of what to do, but then you need to make it your own. You know your children. You know their life experiences. You know how to get through to them and what they are capable of.

When it comes to your children, you’re the expert.

The problem with parenting advice - two children in a wigwam den of sticks

Gentle parenting as a core belief

So yes this blog dishes out parenting advice but, essentially, I’m prescribing a single idea – that children deserve fairness and respect.

This is my core belief, and all the tips and tricks are simply my thoughts about how to turn that idea into practical, everyday parenting.

These are my ideas – things that have worked for our family. They’re not set in stone.

If you want to do gentle parenting, you simply have to make empathetic decisions out of respect for your child and yourself. That’s the only rule. Everything else is just people’s ideas about what that looks like in real life.

The problem with parenting advice - child riding a bike with helmet on

I hope you’ve found this post encouraging. You don’t need to tick other people’s boxes to be a good parent. But if you like my ideas and my approach to gentle parenting, please keep checking out my content at Lucy At Home.

What is your core parenting principle? Do you worry about meeting someone else’s definition of a “good parent”? Do you like getting parenting advice from other people or do you prefer to make your own decisions? Let me know in the comments below.

And for any mums out there who, like me, often feel overwhelmed by the task of parenting, click this banner to join our supportive Facebook Group – Mums With L Plates.

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Add yours
  1. 4
    Liberty Henwick

    I notice that I respond differently to each of my children which is not always fair but in some ways I need to in order to match their temperament. It’s impossible to be a perfect parent, we will make mistakes so one of my core principles is grace, ie teaching forgiveness and kindness as well as practicing it. #blogcrush

  2. 6
    Debbie Denyer - Squidgydoodle

    I love the idea of gentle parenting. I think as a parent you always feel that you’re failing in some way. You think you’ve just cracked it then another child comes along who reacts completely differently to your approach. I do look to others to see how they approach things and I think back to how my parents treated me. I think there’s always things you can learn from others, but you’re right, you need to adapt the approach to suit your situation and your child. #BlogCrush

  3. 8

    As a mum of five, I think I’m with you on the every child is different! My older two had a very strict Dad but he left when they were still quite young and I felt I couldn’t carry on the same level of discipline which caused confusion. So, I’d say consistency is important too. You also have to take into consideration that every parent is different too. This parenting lark can be a proper jungle sometimes.

  4. 9

    #BlogCrush I love reading parenting advice from your blog because it MAKES SENSE and you are non-judgmental. I do not like receiving unsolicited advice, and when I do ask for advice, I only ask those who genuinely love and care for me.
    I usually ask for health-related advice from my mom, who is a pediatrician. For other matters like discipline, I don’t personally ask for advice because I know my own kids, and I read up on gentle parenting (Lucy’s blog).

  5. 11

    #BlogCrush. Yes, what you say makes sense. The first book I read was about strict routines, I tried but got in such a tizz and it didn’t work for us. I found it better to feed my daughter on demand rather than according to the clock. I think it is important to be a positive a positive role model (core value)

  6. 12
    Rosie Doal

    I’ve never paid heed to parenting advice which is judgemental. And one-size-fits all doesn’t work in reality. You need to go with your gut and what feels right for your child x #BlogCrush

  7. 13
    Daydreams of a Mum

    Like you , I parented the first born literally by the book. I didn’t have a mum and was the first of my friends to have babies to I turned to the books. However when 2nd came along 18 months later then no.3 a year after that. . Well there were no books for that so had to just trust myself . Like you say they all needed,and still do need different things from me . Love this post #blogcrush

  8. 14
    Malin -Sensational Learning with Penguin

    When we had our son, I had some preconceptions about what parenting would be like and what kind of parent I would be. But then it turned out that our boy is very unusual, and so responds differently than most kids. As you say, all kids are unique, and I don’t mean to question that. But kids who are ’differently wired’ neurologically, like our autistic boy, bring an extra special parenting experience. I’ve heard it being compared to buying a new car which comes with a manual, but then realising that what you’ve actually been given is a space ship. You can throw the manual away then… I totally agree with you about spending time with your child and getting to know them well! And I love the overall theme you have, of gentle and respectful parenting. Xx #blogcrush

  9. 15

    LOVE this Lucy. You are so right, all children are different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. I have learnt so much about gentle parenting through your blog as I complete agree with your key principles but have always struggled to find practical ways to implement them from day to day xx

  10. 16

    I really enjoyed reading this as it has opened my eyes up to how different children need different parenting techniques. I currently have one son and now feel confident in Mummyhood, if we ever are blessed enough to have another little one I’ll be sure to reflect on this post and remember how the different aspects of children’s personalities require different parenting techniques! I also love gentle parenting and it’s great to read a post advocating strongly for this. Thank you for sharing!

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