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« That's not a Diaper, that's my White Flag Waving... | Main | Modified Cry-It-Out »

Comments

Meg

Interesting, this part: "...suggest weaning children from bottles and pacifiers before 18 months. After that age, they're so much more aware, and the weaning process can be far more difficult on them than when they were younger..." because this actually applies to potty training as well, otherwise known as "weaning from the diaper!" In our current culture, potty training has become "don't even think about potty training until 2 or 3 yrs old." This misinformation has sadly become accepted. But wow, before 18 months, if you introduce the potty at strategic times like upon waking and after eating (even quite early on, as early as 0-6 months, as long as it's always non-coercive, gentle, and matter-of-fact), it's amazing how much easier potty training becomes for both child and parent.

Which leads me to how I find it fascinating that parenting advice in our culture is so inconsistent, typically based on what is seemingly most convenient for the parent (which I'm somewhat sympathetic to) and not necessarily based on what is most physically & emotionally healthy for the child, the parent, or their relationship (to which I am more sympathetic).

The irony is that often what is often the most physically & emotionally healthy for the child is also pretty darn healthy (again, both physically & emotionally) for the parents. And oh yeah, good for the parent-child relationship.

Thanks for the post - love stumbling onto good tidbits of info that help connect the dots even further!

Mary P

I had a Chinese client a couple of years back who had her son on the potty well before a year old. (Standard practice for her culture.) He wasn't fully potty-trained (by which I mean able to stay dry and clean quite independent of adult assistance) until 2.5 or thereabouts, but they never had any power stuggles over it, probably because sitting on the potty was just something he did, like eating or getting dressed.

Hmmm... Except that LOTS of toddlers love to make power struggles over getting dressed and eating, and a dozen other perfectly normal, everyday things. (This tot was an easy-going little man, on just about every front.)

I see no harm in early potty training, though children haven't the physical ability to control those muscles until about 18 months or so. However, I see no great benefit in it, either. This is an example of people choosing to do what feels right for them. As long as the training is, as you say, gentle and non-coercive, there is no right or wrong time to begin.

Is parenting advice inconsistent, I wonder, or is it simply that there are so many different sources for advice in our culture, sources which don't agree with each other, and which each insist on being "the right way"?

Meg

"Is parenting advice inconsistent, I wonder, or is it simply that there are so many different sources for advice in our culture, sources which don't agree with each other, and which each insist on being 'the right way'?"

Excellent point to ponder - is it the information? the delivery? the combo of the two? It's such a complex web of information for parents to untangle. Sometimes that's exciting, but sometimes it's irritating. I do feel lucky, though, for being a parent with the internet at hand (and blogs like this one) where it's possible to learn about a wide variety of approaches in a short period of time (go PiP and other parenting blogs, sites, lists, etc!).

As parents, we receive info & opinions, both asked for and unsolicited, from professionals (like pediatricians, child psychologists, teachers, etc.), friends & family, both IRL and virtually. When we choose to rely on another's opinion (which is inevitable at some point, for most of us!), we hope that we've chosen to listen to someone who is giving us legitimate info either backed by evidence-based (well-performed) research or by solid personal experience.

And don't forget the natural flow of "new" information:
* well-performed new research studies (which often take time to trickle down into our cultural consciousness)
* resurrection of older parenting approaches that, though previously abandoned, have been found to actually be more healthy than current cultural habits (again, this transformation is slow - look at the last 100 yrs history of formula vs breastfeeding as a good example)

At any rate, there is a lot of stuff to wade through, a ton of interesting approaches to discover & try on for size. And the one sure thing is that there is definitely no one-size-fits-all parenting silver bullet. :) "The right way" is different for each parent-child pair.

PiP rocks because it presents multiple angles in the posts & the comments. :)

P.S. - But the "children haven't the physical ability to control those muscles until about 18 months or so" part? No *good* studies show that to be the case (not a lot of money in it, so hard to get funding for something like that). The "18 months" age cut off for sphincter control is pure cultural myth, accepted as fact in our culture (though well disproven in other parts of the world) and perpetuated lovingly by disposible diaper companies who benefit handsomely from customers who maintain such beliefs. :) It's only when we diaper our babies full-time from 0-18, 24, 30, 36 months (essentially diaper-training them, and I do NOT mean that in a negative way at all - did it w/ my first baby!) that our babies get out of touch with those sensations & muscles, essentially losing the "physical ability to control those muscles" until they're older. But the irony is: "After that age [18 months], they're so much more aware, and the weaning process [from the diaper or *insert any habit here*] can be far more difficult on them than when they were younger..." http://whatisec.com/

:)

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