My dad still sometimes rolls his eyes about my car seat obsession, and believe me, I could be far more informed about the subject. In fact, I would likely make a car seat checker cringe with my habit of loading the car with projectiles. I’m not exactly sure when real car seats came on the scene but it sure wasn’t in my childhood memory and I’m not THAT old.
Here’s the thing, I know my dad adores his grandkids and wouldn’t intentionally put them in harm’s way. I’m pretty sure I can nearly universally assume that all parents and extended family feel the same way. So why do we find ourselves on the offensive or defensive so often about the care and feeding of these small people?
Well-meaning older generations may be offering advice and opinions that might have been the norm when they were in the trenches but the parenting landscape now, compared to then, is often like comparing gardening tips from the bottom of the ocean to the Arizona desert. So how do we find some common ground? Here are a few ideas for both sides of the generation gap:
- Ask each other what it is/was like to be a parent and then LISTEN.
- Build your confidence and do your research (whatever that means for you) about what and why you are doing what you’re doing in family life. Blossoming Newborns and all of our Community Supported Parenting classes at Birth Roots are perfect for helping you figure this out.
- What are the experts saying – doctors, favorite parenting gurus, traffic laws… to support your cause. Then check in with instincts, intuition, and maybe even group sourcing to see if there is agreement. Sometimes grandmas “unstudied” solution really does work (best burp technique ever!), and sometimes it’s rather sketchy (whiskey on gums, anyone?).
- Don’t take it personally and be respectful. Whether someone thinks you should be doing something differently or YOU think something should be done differently, parents are doing the best they can with what they have and are making decisions based on the best combination of beliefs and facts of the moment. Ultimately though, parents make that final call.
- We can all be OPEN to something new, old, different, creative. Parents need SUPPORT more than OPINIONS.