Parenting Books Are a Racket: Here's Why

You know those parents who always talk to their kids in calm voices?  And are always saying things like, "I think you could have made a better choice"? And are irritatingly peaceful when their children are doing things that would make the rest of us want to scream and/or run for the hills?

I used to roll my eyes at them.  Now, I want to be one of them.

I used to think they were acting that way because they were sure that doing so was a better parenting strategy, that they would raise better children with this method than with all that yellin' the rest of us do..

Lately, I'm thinking that this is not the case.  I've tried that calm voice thing.  For days on end now, I've been curbing my yelling, encouraging better choices, offering positive alternatives, and modeling the change I want to see in my children.  It's totally not working.  They remain shrill gremlin-like harpies.

I don't think parenting makes a whit of difference.  Case in point:

Kids bickering to beat the band?  Making you want to tear your own ears off?

  • If you yell and scream at them and get really pissed off that they can't manage a 5 minute car ride without being evil to each other, they will still fight and bicker and behave abominably
  • If you calmly tell them that you expect them to be better to each other, and calmly explain a tangible consequence if they choose to keep fighting, and calmly grip the steering wheel without going all Samuel Jackson on their asses, they will still fight and bicker and behave abominably.

The only difference is you.  If you chose the latter, you will not have succumbed to hypocrisy and your throat will not hurt.  You will not have anything to feel bad about later (unless you count having children who ignore you; depending on the day, I do) and you will not be exhausted by your own rage.  The kids?  Will be exactly as unpleasant as ever.  Mox nix.  Makes no difference.  Calm parents know this.

I suspect that every parenting book in the world is really only about making parents feel better about themselves, not about changing children's behavior.  It's as if the title of every single one should really just be: How Not To Be A Hypocrite, and Save Your Vocal Cords in the Process.

All those books?  Are about exactly the same thing.  Survival.
image from

The kids will raise themselves.  I'm just gonna try to get them to adulthood with my throat and my dignity intact.

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Homemaker Man said…
I haven't read a parenting book since the first one was less than a year old and my kids are . . . I don't know where they are at the moment actually, but I'm sure they're fine.

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