Tue, 03/01/2011 - 22:00 — amywickstrom
Gold or Garbage? 5 Ways to Filter Parenting Advice
If you are like most parents, you’re constantly bombarded with information about how to be a good parent, what your child should or shouldn’t be doing, how to improve your marriage, and so on.
What the media doesn’t tell you is that scientific research on children and families is frequently a painstakingly slow and tedious process, with significant conclusions few and far between.
But because the media needs new stories on a regular basis, the same information is reported in different guises.
So how do you distinguish between the good stuff and the garbage? Here are a few pointers:
1. Think about what works for you. You know yourself and your family better than anyone else, so use your intuition to guide you through all of the information presented to you by the media. What works for your friends and neighbors may not work for you.
2. Notice biases or stereotypes. A lot of information comes from opinionated people. There is nothing wrong with a strong opinion, but an opinion isn’t a fact.
3. Go straight to the source. Remember the childhood game “telephone?” As information gets passed through different people, it has a tendency to get a little distorted. So don’t stop at the media reports. Instead, consider going to the original starting place of the information.
4. Be a critical thinker. Some information has little value apart from entertainment, whereas other information is useful for learning. When reading parenting advice, consider where it came from and whether or not the source is trustworthy. At the end of the day, a lot of “advice” isn’t credible (although it’s interesting!).
5. Get more information. It’s hard for one person, one study, or one article to tell the whole story. If you are interested in something you read, take some time to look into other perspectives on the issue.
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Source: Dr. Amy Wickstrom, Marriage and Family Therapist & Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor
More Than a Toy (www.morethanatoy.com)