The Real World Iterations of What Parenting Books Suggest

Children Helping Make Cookies

Remember how you devoured parenting books when your child was a newborn? You frantically researched every aspect of infant care, from how to clean her belly button to how to cut his tiny fingernails. As a new parent, you hung on to the advice of experienced parents – parents with babies at least three months older than yours. Sometimes it seemed like the experts had all the answers, while you floundered.

Eventually, all parents develop their own style of parenting and adjust to fit the needs of their particular children. Traditional parenting tips provide the groundwork to raise happy, confident children. Then reality hits: The traditional parenting tip doesn’t fit your distinct personality or the needs of your child. Other times you know drastic measures need to be taken to make an impact on your child. That’s when you resort to “Parental Reality,” the highly creative and innovative technique of doing something totally outrageous to catch your child off guard.

Here are a few traditional parenting tips found in books and websites. If those don’t work, read on to see what parents really do!

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Master the morning rush

Traditional parenting tip: Eliminate the morning rush by getting your children in the habit of setting their backpacks by the front door, ready for school. Have them lay out their clothes for the following day before they get ready for bed.

What parents really do: My kids dress in sweat pants or leggings and T-shirts for school the majority of the time. Since those clothes are comfortable and don’t show wrinkles, I decided to let them sleep in their clean school clothes. At night, after their bath, they put on clean underwear and their sweat outfits. The next morning, they simply come downstairs for breakfast, already fully dressed. We find this saves about 10 minutes every morning. My kids are in a better mood because there are no clothes hassles to deal with. Now, while they eat breakfast, I read a few headlines from the morning paper and we have an informal lesson on current events.

Teaching empathy

Traditional parenting tip: Teach empathy skills by asking questions like, “What do you think that homeless man is thinking as he sits on the bench?” and, “Why did Grandma get teary-eyed when she read your poem?”

What parents really do: I work out of my home. This means my kids take it for granted that I get them ready for school in the morning, deliver forgotten science projects, and drive to an assortment of after school activities. In fact, they…

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