Parents often find themselves looking for advice on how to raise their kids. It’s not surprising in a society in which we spend so little time around children that we go into this parenting business with little to no experience. However, we have to be careful where we seek advice for not all advice is equal. While there is huge variability in the advice out there, most wouldn’t be so bad as to say one should flat out ignore it, even if it’s not in line with a personal view of how to raise one’s kids. But there are books so bad that we need to be clear parents really ought not to be reading them. Sometimes it’s the entire book, sometimes it’s just some of the advice, but regardless, the following five books all contain information that should be ignored by parents everywhere…
5. Shitty Mom by Karen Moline
What is it with the slew of books on “reclaiming your life” from your kids or parenting in a way that minimizes disruptions to your life? I use this book as an example, but there are many others like it, all of which spout the nonsense that you need and should come first regardless or that parenting is something that we really don’t need to take seriously at all. We’re not talking about accepting that you won’t be perfect or the idea that you need to make sure you’re healthy in order to care for your kids, but rather the idea that you should be able to do whatever the hell you want and your kids better learn to just suck it up and go for the ride. After all, it’s your world, right? Everyone else is just living it in.
Although these books are supposed to be funny, I’m not sure there’s a lot of funny in the advice doled out. And they all have the premise that babies and kids are awful. You read it and wonder why these people had children. Ms. Moline compares one of her children to Hitler (I’m sure he’ll appreciate reading out that when he’s older; in fact I often wonder what all kids will think when reading these kinds of books when they are older) and starts the book off by pitting parents against kids (“It’s about not letting that baby win every battle.”). She advocates sending sick kids to daycare because it’s too inconvenient for you to care for them (remember it’s her world and if your kid gets sick because of it, well that’s just what happens in her world). Perhaps there would be humour here if the views were so damn prevalent with parents all over sighing with relief upon seeing advice like this. Or perhaps it’s just not funny to view your child as a burden, a pain in the ass, or the enemy who ruined your life and when you view your child that way, your parenting is going to reflect that. If you want funny, read the Bloggess or Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures or The Honest Toddler… not this drivel.
4. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Mukoff and Sharon Mazel
Yes it focuses on pregnancy, but isn’t that the beginning of our parenting journey? If we feel totally disempowered and useless when pregnant, won’t that kind of carry over to parenting? And yet that seems to be the message of this book: You know nothing, there are a million things you can do wrong (and probably will), and you need to pass over all control to your doctor because s/he knows what’s best for you. Let’s also not forget how it sensitizes us to make sure we fear Every. Little. Thing. My goodness, horror movies aren’t as good at scaring women as this book is. I fear that the majority of women who have read it believe that pregnancy is a “condition” rife with all sorts of horrible things and that they are all lurking around every corner. If you don’t fear everything, something horrible will happen. (This isn’t to say bad things don’t happen, but when you’re at the stage of telling women not have baths, you’ve hit a realm of paranoia that is beyond what anyone should have to experience.) Not surprisingly, there’s very little in terms of citations for these pages of fear-mongering.