Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't Take My Advice (A Guest Post by Richard Monroe)

There are just some bloggers that you instantly connect with. Richard Monroe, author of The Butterbottom Blog is one of mine. He's funny, nice, and willing to help with anything. He also knows my favorite donut (peanut from Jolly Pirate) and delights in reminding me. I've become a peanut expert on Klout, and I believe it's all because of him.

Richard started blogging as an adjunct to his clothing line Butterbottom. He soon realized that he loved the process of writing as it helped him reflect on what is important in life, what's not, and, most importantly, what he can turn into satire. He lives with wife Laura and sons Henry, 7, and Turner, 5.


Don't Take My Advice

When my pal Erin asked me to contribute to her Dadtober blog special, first thought was: of course I'll help her. Which was soon followed by, does that mean I have to write something new? That sounds like work. Erin, being the great sport, said it was fine to contribute something already posted on my blog, which was relevant to her theme.

But honestly my reluctance wasn't complete laziness (although that was a large part of it), but the issue of parenting advice and its irrelevance to anyone but your own children.

As contradictory as this sounds, the best parenting advice and the only one I've ever adhered to was told to me by a former colleague who I never would have taken for a parenting guru. About a month before our first was born, he simply said, "Look, after about two weeks, nobody on the entire planet is going to know your baby better than you and your wife. So you don't need to listen to anybody else. Its your kid, you'll know him or her better, so just do what you think is best."

And that seems just about perfect. In reality, every single child out there is different. So however one person deals with their kid has 0% to do with what you should do with yours (unless that person is your spouse of course). And if you have more than one child, you will find that each of those kids needs their own style of parenting. The nice compassionate extremely patient parent may be great for one, while the other may need the 'tough love' parent. Just threatening my oldest with a timeout stops him in his tracks, whereas the younger will not stop till whatever punishment is put in place.

But what really complicates things is that they grow and change and no two days are alike. So suddenly, your once introverted kid is suddenly mouthing off at school and a cocky little son of a gun. Or one day, after weeks of just general unpleasantness, your kid wakes up and seems like a brand new child and you think "I don't know what happened, but I'll take it".

And then they can pull a 180 in the midst of a single day. How many days have you had the best morning turn into the worst night? Or vice versa? Or how many times has one of your kids been totally awesome and then turns into a complete sourpuss, just as the other one has suddenly gone from acting too big for his britches to being the best daddy's little helper?

Its like the scene from The Incredibles when discussing the Omnidroid 9000, Bob says, "Let me guess, it got smart enough to wonder why it has to take orders from you?" That's childhood in a nutshell.

So, who am I to give you advice? Whatever I think probably doesn't work for your child and even if it does today, it won't tomorrow. So all you can do is keep fighting the good fight and start looking at military schools in your area.

1 comment:

Bruce Sallan said...

Whether you call it advice or just feedback from others that have been there, it's still great to learn from other parents, as I've learned from your post, Richard!

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