Thursday, July 16, 2015

Parenting: Against All Odds And Intuitions

When you read as many Mommy and Daddy blogs as I do, heck, if you are any kind of parent at all, you will inevitably come across some version of advice that goes like this: trust your intuition.

Like most Moms and Dads, I feel like I'm pretty good parent.  Lord knows I've set a low enough bar that I really, would, could, should be. It sure would be easier if there were Inside Outesque little people running around inside me ensuring I do it right.

Maybe I'm not.  But as I said, I like believe I am, even sans the little people

But you know who else thinks they are doing it right? These people who object to vaccines. These people who object to getting medical care for their kids. The people here.

I'm not saying these people are doing it wrong. Though the people here probably are. As near as I can tell, 99% percent of all deaths result from people following intuition.

Screw intuition.

I'm just not sure follow your intuition" advice amounts to anything more than a cop out. I've written before about the worst advice we give kids, and the worst advice we give those who are college bound. "Follow your intuition" really amounts to "I don't know, don't ask me." You might has well tell someone who is depressed to simply get over it for all the good it offers.

Parenting is both easier and harder than we make it. Easier in that kids will largely live to grow into functional adults with or without much input from us; harder in that each kid is wired differently, requiring different techniques to deal with specific behaviors and presenting unique challenges.

And beside, most of my intuitions are completely wrong. All the time. When my kid falls, the first thing I want to do is baby them. But I can tell you, rushing over to a child who has fallen does nothing but incite crying. When my kid gives me his sad face my intuition is to erase it by giving him what he wants. But he pulls that face out when I go to work. If I gave in every time he pulled that look out he would be playing in the street. With guns.

When you bring your kids in for their vaccines and squelch away from the crying and pain the shots entail - that is intuition telling you to stop hurting your kid. But that isn't the right path. You know in your head that intuition is wrong. The intuition against pain has to be overcome by the knowledge that the pain comes with great rewards.

Screw intuition.

Am I alone in this? I sure hope not. Leave a comment about a time when your intuition about your kids was all wrong.

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