And it’s making you more than just a little angry. It’s too big an issue, too important… means too much to so many…the proverbial elephant in the room that’s so big, we just assumed it was a hairy wall and the room was supposed to be THIS small!
Every blog, every magazine, every online advice column on parenting hints at it. But no one comes out plain and just tells it like it is.
I’m not talking about those mommy blogs that promote freebies mind you. I’m talking about outfits that talk about how to parent… how to teach kids the important life skills, attitudes, values and habits that will make them win at this thing called life.
Some are written by doctors and other professionals. Others are done by savvy, experienced parents who know what they’re talking about. These are the ones that come out plain and tell you, “Here’s some information you need to have, skills you have to learn, solutions to some situations that will smack you in the face as a parent.”
Others take a different approach. They don’t even offer solutions. Why? Because they KNOW too many parents don’t really like to hear what they SHOULD be doing. There’s a whole movement going on out there. It’s message is some form of “Anyone can be a parenting expert… till they start having children.”
Makes you feel good, right? I mean, if the so-called experts learned all that stuff in college, then can’t even practice what they preach when they start having kids, how can anyone blame YOU for not being able to put all that “expert” crap into practice? Besides, there were no experts until just a hundred years ago or so, and the human race still came this far.
So these parenting blogs and websites focus on discussing and sharing stuff you can relate to. Some rant and rave. Some bitch and moan. Others are funny and entertain, exposing real-life every-day stories that make you think, “Durn.. even on my worst days I’m not THAT bad.” And don’t get me wrong. I like those ones too. At least their only claim is that you’ll feel pretty normal after hearing their stories.
So who’s interested in parenting blogs anyway?
I think parenting bloggers who bash experts are just as arrogant as the folks they claim no one wants to hear. In fact, they’re worse nine times out of ten.
The truth of the matter is that different people read different blogs for entirely different reasons. Among them, are folks actually searching for parenting information. Most don’t go online. I’ll give you that. They prefer to go get advice from an elder. Maybe it’s just a cultural thing, and that’s cool too.
The problem I’m seeing is that with all that going on, I still coach parents who really do want to know what the experts say about various issues. Some aren’t ready to follow all the advice, but many want to try. Who am I or anyone else to deny them that?
When my own kids were still under my roof, I can remember learning all these cool things from the scientific community, then being confronted with the fact that through sheer force of habit and tradition, I’d still do what my parents did with my own children…occasionally even spanking them.
Then I’d beat myself up over it, knowing there were smarter, more effective ways that were more helpful for my kids. But let me tell you. Last thing I would have wanted was for someone to come and insult my intelligence by placating me….trying to make me feel better by telling me not to bother with what the experts say. I KNEW that was hogwash…wasn’t good enough for the standards I’d set for myself.
Don’t tell me I’m the only one who went through that struggle. Parenting blogs would have been a Godsend if I had known they existed. So come tell me to my face that parenting blogs aren’t worth reading. That sure as heck shouldn’t be coming from a parenting blogger, regardless of his style.
Using outdated methods wasn’t good enough for my children. Not by a long shot. I’m proud of how I was raised. But that sure as hell doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. My parents educated me and wanted me to go further than they did. All parents feel that way. Why not make mine proud and start with my own parenting methods? Seems to be a logical place to start, doesn’t it?
So..do blogs really help?
To me, the real issue should be whether or not people who are looking for answers can really find them online when they decide to go that route. Well, you can…and you can’t.
You can get accurate information on children and child-rearing. But the truth of the matter is that it will only go so far. Parenting skills are exactly that… skills. Skills require you to take the information, put it into practice over and over until you get good at it. If some people came to parenting with some of those skills already, they shouldn’t be bashing those who didn’t. Nor should they bash those of us who offer solutions…and some pretty nifty ones if I can say so myself.
I started TLP as a place for the parents I train every year to be able to go online and get my stuff. It’s not perfect. I’m always looking for ways to make it better. But my little group of followers appreciate it and tell me so… and their numbers are growing organically. It’ s slow, but it’s enough to keep me going.
Besides, like everything else, blogging is a thing in progress. We’re all getting better at offering real-world solutions every day.
Never give up
Our kids are worth the effort. So what if its harder to put into practice than you thought? Do you just tell yourself that blogs can’t really teach you anything about parenting? Or do you bite the bullet, keep taking the information, keep trying stuff out, keep doing what works for you while throwing out the rest? Do you settle for just going with what you already know? Or do you keep trying to get better?
If you don’t hear it anywhere else, We’re shouting “elephant,” and making it plain:
You can’t master the best parenting practices just by reading or hearing about them. They’re hard skills to master for those with children.. and for those without. Parenting skills are essentially high-level people skills that will serve you well in all your relationships. Click To Tweet Don’t let anyone tell you not to bother learning them, and where best to learn. Many who will tell you that already have those skills and take them for granted. I say get what you can from wherever you can and use your own judgement.
Even if you choose to get the information elsewhere, you’ll still need to hone your skills in certain areas. It’s like everything else in life…you use your strengths and keep plugging at it where you need to improve. Chose a few blogs you like and follow their stuff. If you like TLP and haven’t done so yet, subscribe so as to get whatever I publish. You’ll find that as time goes on, all dedicated bloggers get better as they continue to hone their craft.
Next: Level up
This is actually an exciting time if you follow blogs. Publishing tools are getting easier to get and easier to use, so they offer you better resources if they’ve been in the blogging business long enough, and are creative and dedicated enough.
So how do you level up from having good information, to mastering your parenting skill-set? Well I said it before, but one thing for sure is that you have to practice.
And to help with that, luckily as we speak, more and more bloggers are designing paid-for courses. But all courses weren’t created equal. Credible parenting information and advice are readily available all over the internet for free. You certainly don’t want to be paying for more of the same. You’re looking to build skills. It’s not the same.
Course builders should have a sound knowledge of educational design in order to take you to the next level of demonstrating all the key skills, then providing structured opportunities to practice them. Doing this online is no easy task without some kind of peer or coaching review to evaluate your demonstration of the skills, or some other method built in for you to check your own performance against a list of criteria. If you see evidence of both, you’ve got a winner.
The down side of all this is that such courses won’t be free. The more thorough the oversight and individual attention you get from a coach or practitioner, the higher the price point.
Small window of opportunity–the time is now
Luckily, there’s a way around the price issue to some extent, but only for a limited time. I’m going to boldly predict that in five years time or less, you’ll see a large number of these courses available online, and you’ll have to pay a hefty price to enroll as they continue to upgrade what they offer.
It’s therefore a REALLY good idea to try and get in at ground level, when they are offering their “beta” courses. Here at TLP we are very likely to be offering a number of such courses in the very near future, so I should know. Online companies will offer you either access to a membership site where you pay a monthly or annual fee for as long as you want to remain a member, or give you life-time access for a higher one-time payment. For something like parenting skills development, its far more likely you’ll see offers for lifetime access.
So whether you choose TLP or not, chances are you’re getting the info from us first:
Find a good outfit offering you huge discounts for their beta courses.
In return, you will be expected to test their first course thoroughly, and provide them with the feedback they need to upgrade.
If they’re smart, course designers will ask you to purchase the beta even before they produce it. That’s their way to make sure that they’re putting all their effort and resources into creating more than just a “cool thing,” and that it’s also something of such high value to you that you’re willing to pay for it. But they should offer it to you at a fraction of what it will cost once it goes public. That’s the strategy we’re using here a TLP. Here’s how to take advantage:
If you’re a TLP subscriber, you’ve already received an email with a link to help us out with a simple two-question survey. Go ahead and do the survey, and you’re in…simple as that!
If you’re STILL not a TLP subscriber as yet, now’s the time to become one. How about taking our 30-day challenge to a better parent-child bond? The process will eventually lead you to the survey.