It seems just about everything we do with our children is causing them harm these days, doesn't it? Let them watch 10 minutes of Dora warbling away so you can have a shower, oops, you've stunted their IQ. Don't let them see a TV until they're 16, oh, you deprived them of so much educational opportunity! Smack them, you're a monster, don't smack them, they'll turn into little monsters themselves.
Is it just me, or have we lost our common sense? We are so desperate to "get it right", that we'll listen to anyone with an opinion, regardless of whether they have any expertise or, more importantly, any children themselves.
One of the hardest things I had to get used to when I had my Gorgeous Girl, was that loss of confidence in myself. I went from someone who was very good at my job, had clear opinions on pretty much everything, and felt capable to take on anything. Then I had GG and realised that I knew nothing. My most important job, and I had no qualifications, no experience (Irealised quickly nieces/nephews and friend's kids do not, in fact, give you a "taste" of parenthood) and no confidence in my ability. Luckily, I quickly regained my confidence that I was the best person to take care of GG, and I like to think I've done a pretty good job so far. She's certainly so delightful it makes it easy to think so.
I'm also lucky in that I have a lot of family support, and that they've respected the parenting decisions I've made, even if they haven't agreed with them. Big lucky there.
Trolling around on the internet (where I do all my important research), I noticed something... In our grandparents era, strictness was Godliness. Babies were to conform to a sleep routine, play mostly by themselves in a playpen or cot with just a few basic toys, and believe it or not, formula was seen as a scientific improvement on breastmilk. Then the pendulum seems to have swung the other way, and it was the complete opposite, feed on demand, and it better be breastmilk, sleep in a family bed, wear your baby in a sling and be at their beck and call within seconds of every whimper. Phew.
Could it be that this pendulum is still swinging, even if the arcs are getting smaller? When will we get to the middle ground, where parents feel they can make decisions about their own family and others will say "Great, glad it works for you." Obviously, some decisions are never OK - smoking when pregnant, abuse, driving drunk and getting 3 yr olds high are always going to be big no-no's, but really, is a bit of TV really so bad for kids? Will every child who has been allowed a bit of ice-cream be obese at age 30? Will a smack on a nappy-padded bottom by a loving parent really scar you for life?
I'd love to hear what you think...