The BBC magazine website yesterday had an article about six childcare gurus who changed parenting. It was an interesting read, and although I hadn’t heard of the earlier people (pre-Penelope Leach), I’d heard of the ideas behind some earlier parenting in comparison to those more latterly.
Nowadays, where there’s so much more talk around child-led parenting, it seems insane to think that around the 1920s Truby King was endorsing no time spent on bonding with your child; detachment was key to childcare. I agree that discipline is important, but it seems so wrong not to want to spend time cuddling and bonding with your children.
After that, everything seemed to get more liberal and more about listening to your child. I’m not sure I could agree with going too far the other way, as I believe children do need some routine and discipline to understand that there are boundaries and also make them feel more secure. Then Gina Ford comes in, there’s a strong sense of routine to adhere to and discipline with Supernanny.
I’d say parenting style, I’m in the middle. I wanted to try Gina Ford as I myself am a lover of routine, but N wouldn’t play ball and wake up when he was meant to. He also wanted to feed more regularly, meaning we never managed to get past week 2’s routine! However, by letting him do his own thing in the day, he fell into pretty much Gina’s routine himself. So I’d say it seems to be a realistic routine for children if they’re doing it naturally. We did follow her basic bedtime routine, and it did work, with him sleeping through by the time she recommended babies should be able to.
We did pick and mix, and I think we were lucky that N was an easy baby, and so far is turning into a fairly easy and straightforward toddler.
Pre-baby, I did used to watch Supernanny, and I agree with her parenting recommendations. We’ve not had to use the naughty step yet as one telling off if required, plus a request for an apology usually works. N is so shamed by being asked for an apology, he usually hides his face, tries for a cuddle and then shuts his eyes so I can’t make him look at me when I’m talking to him. It’s so hard not to laugh, as I can see him trying to keep his eyes shut not to look at me.
Due to me working, he obviously had a structured routine…in fact yesterday, he was telling me ‘go to Julie’s’ who he goes to twice a week, and then tried ‘go to nursery’ before I managed to get him to change it to ‘swimming Saturdays’. But otherwise, we’re pretty relaxed on what he gets up to.
I think parenting’s all about finding exactly what works for you and your children, and if you’re after advice from ‘experts’, then there’re lots of methods to choose from.
Mind you, if I had the child we know who I’ve never seen do what the parent says, I think I’d have tried a lot earlier to stop some of the disobedience. Especially where there are 2 parents in tow.
What are your thoughts on childcare gurus? Have you followed any or just done your own thing?