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Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!

[ 3 min read ]

Let me start with a confession.

When we discovered that we were expecting, after the initial joy-meets-confusion-meets-breathlessness-meets-joy period, we too did something that we sort of feel silly about in hindsight. We spent a lot of hard-earned money on books about pregnancy. Yes, the very same fat bundle of literature printed on paper so flawless and shiny that you would probably feel the urge to sanitize your hands before turning each page, for the fear of making it dirty.

 

As expected, we too read them from cover to cover, often analysing why our (okay, my wife’s – but I did give good competition with my belly!) baby bump looked nothing like the perfectly formed round belly that the model on the cover the book had, to discussing about the authors’ various degrees that made them perfectly qualified to be giving us pregnancy advice. We read up on all everything related to pregnancies and babies until we felt like we’re totally in control of the situation and knew ‘what to expect when we were expecting’. Because that’s what the new generation of parents do; we like to harness the power of information that we have at our disposal because we’ve been trained to vomit out facts, at the drop of a hat.

 

What did happen was that (over)loaded with all of this information, we had frequent panic attacks when sometimes the foetus’ development was not at par with what they said in the books. Or we ended up rushing to the gynaecologist because we couldn’t feel the baby kick, when in fact, he was just taking a nap and all we needed was to drink some cold water to wake him up! Yes, in retrospect, we do realise that they were all sort of guidelines – but to be honest, it was perhaps the first time we realised that ‘too much information is not always a good thing’.

 

Of course, we didn’t really learn our lesson. Which is why, when the baby was finally born, we graduated to parenting books.  The very ones that somehow with their pictures of adorably cute babies with rosy cheeks and smiles that could take away all your worries, seemed to promise that they hid the secret formulae to raising strong-happy-intelligent-artistically gifted-musically bestowed-athletically inclined-children who would be the ones to make everything alright with the world. Instead, what we got were stunning examples of a broadly generalised class of kids whose behavioural and developmental traits resembled nothing of our son’s at all.

 

Needless to say, we soon quit trying to follow those books. Because this is the part that nobody tells you about:

 

 

It almost never goes the way it’s meant to go like in those amazing parenting books and magazines. And I reveal this, with all the experience of having read some of these books (just so you don’t have to – because I’m nice like that!) In fact, most of them are just the equivalent of click-bait articles that we read on the internet today. They draw you in with titles such as ‘How to raise the perfect kid who listens to you’ and then proceeds to tell you off in condescending tones, which makes you feel like you are the toddler now. No, thank you – I have my parents for that !😛

 

Of course, that’s not to say that these parenting books have not been at all useful.

 

In fact, we did end up using one of them to correct the shaky coffee-table that was missing one of those rubber thingamjigs on a leg. Oh, and we used another one to prop open the door when it gets really windy. And yet another to increase the height of my old desktop monitor. So yes, they have definitely gone ‘above and beyond’ what they were meant for.

 

In short, if you still want to go ahead and read these parenting bibles about raising ‘good kids’ – good luck. But remember this:

 

 

There’s fat chance of that happening.

 


 

Author’s Note:

Having said all this, if I do ever bring out a physical book with my #DaddyJournal adventures and anecdotes, I expect all of you to buy it 😛

Also, there are some really good books on parenting out there. Funny and relatable ones. Go read them. Oh, and some of these books do have really useful tips. Yes, really.

56 Responses to “Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!

  • Not a topic for me at all. But I’d say this, why need books when the whole world tells you how to raise your kids?

    P.S: I’d buy your book.
    Soumya recently put up this awesome post : Another Day At The Passport OfficeMy Profile

  • Hello Sid

    You are right, you can read bunch of books about parenting or you just behave toward your young and older children, the way you want them to behave toward you, themselves and others. For as you behave toward them, they’ll behave toward you, themselves and others.

    Best of luck to you and your family.
    Isabelle Clover recently put up this awesome post : Health and beauty benefits of nectarinesMy Profile

  • 😀
    I still remember a friend telling me that she was horrified after reading those “pregnancy and birthing” books! 😀
    I don’t know how helpful those books are – including the other self-help books out there… Do they work?

  • Well, I have no experience with parenting books, but I do have experience with cat books! Those are a mixed bag – some of that stuff induces paranoia – like if your cat pukes, dip your finger in said puke and sniff it, it could be a sign of cancer! Ok – I exaggerate, but I’m sure you get the point! 😉

    P.S.: I equate all parenting posts and conversations with my cats. My cats are my babies, so I really mean no offense at all.
    Modern Gypsy recently put up this awesome post : Self-Love-o-Scope Oracle Reading for Self-Care FebruaryMy Profile

  • Wonderful Read 🙂
    We are planning to have a baby and I am not going to buy parenting books now rather read your blog !

  • Whenever I’m gonna be a mother, sure I’m coming to you to know about the useful books!
    Reading your posts after a really long time and I’m thinking, so much it is I’ve missed all these months.

    Like always, you never fail to bring a smile and cheer up with your wriitng!

    Kudos to your good work, Sid.

    Cheers

  • very nice article.Thank you for sharing it.
    Tuitions
    NakulReddy recently put up this awesome post : DigitalBix TuitionsMy Profile

  • HI Sid,
    I didn’t read any parenting book during my pregnancy and after reading this post, I think I did the right thing! 🙂
    NEHA JAIN recently put up this awesome post : 10 things that change when you become a MotherMy Profile

  • Hilarious one, Sid!
    I am already sold, and you know that. Will definitely purchase #DaddyJournals whenever you come out with it!

  • LOL 😀 I can relate to this post sooo much. have read so many pregnancy and then parenting books. While books do give a general idea of what to expect and how to manage, but mostly parenting is an on-the-job training.

  • Ha ha! That was funny.
    Well, your book will be different. And better I not get into details of the ‘how tos’ it will list 😉
    Fun post, Sid!
    Parul Thakur recently put up this awesome post : A dive to rememberMy Profile

  • Hehehe 😉 Awesome , Sid, as usual !
    I’m happy to admit that I’d never heard of books on pregnancy, or parenting, when I was pregnant ( this is purely attributed to my ignorance). And I never got a chance to read them. As soon as the little one popped out, I thought I should read some parenting books, but I always found it easier to ring up my mom or mom-in-law for advice, which when coupled with their re-assuring patience, did wonders. Each parent is unique, and if n number of us sit down to write a book on pregnancy / parenting, I’m sure we’ll have n^n or even more unique ideas and thoughts pouring in 🙂
    The kids haven’t read the parenting books, but they ought to read toddlers’ manual of perfect behaviour ( if ever there is one ) so that they understand that LEGO blocks hurt 😛
    I love the humour with which you’ve woven this post.
    I just hope Trump doesn’t get the google idea , though 😀

    • Hey Sreeja,
      So good to see you here. Looks like you were in pretty solid hands during your pregnancy. Kids never read the manuals….it’s up to us to do the needful. Apparently 😉
      Thanks, Sreeja. Oh, i think he already did Google it 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • Still a long way to go, but nevertheless a great good humoured read. Kept remembering meg all through. She needs to read this :d

  • Oh yeah, I know what you mean. These books, they keep talking about the ‘model’ child and I don’t have the foggiest idea what that is, and where to find such a thing. I got the loud, cranky, exasperating variety of the model.

    The one ‘instructional’ book that I actually found helpful was called Baby Whisperer or something like that, and it talked about setting up a routine. That book I remember distinctly, because that got D sleeping through the night pretty much. Of-course it worked for like a couple of months until my child decided to change the rules of the game.
    Shantala recently put up this awesome post : Fitness 2016: A Look Back + Fitness 2017: A RoadmapMy Profile

    • I knew you’d be able to relate to this.
      Baby Whisperer? Like, for real? Sorry – I’m still giggling over that!
      The child always changes the rules of the game. Always 🙂
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • hahaha books are so far away from perfection sometimes… not that I have read any parenting books, just in general. I will definitely read your journal though, it would definitely be an interesting read.
    Rajlakshmi recently put up this awesome post : Hiking in Wentworth Falls, AustraliaMy Profile

    • Oh, they are. I think they biggest challenge is that they often end up generalising . . . but then again, I guess a lot of them do.
      You’ll read my journal? Aww ! Thanks, Raji – even though I know that you said that to be nice to me 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • If I’m ever going to have a kid, I’m not going to read any of those parenting books. Because all through these blogging years, I have come across some awesome Moms & Dads, and you people are the only parents and my-own (of course) I am ever going to ask for advice. 🙂

    • Hehe! Yes, we’re here for you. Though a fair bit of warning – sometimes, our advice will be things like ‘give them one whack on the bum. With that parenting book preferably’ 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • Despite the many parenting books I read from cover to cover, it was my Mashi (Mom to a 3 yr old) who was my Bible.

  • Ha ha ha.. Sid.. well said. Maybe one day we will find a way to teach the kids from these books while they’re still foetuses and then parents can have perfect little babies behaving perfectly by the book and their behaviour will be perfectly predictable. And what a tragedy that would be. Meanwhile we’ll use the books to prop up our monitors and enjoy our kids just the way they are.
    Obsessivemom recently put up this awesome post : Another Monday morningMy Profile

    • Perfectly predictable kids. Sounds like one those ‘fantasy words’ .
      Thanks, Tulika. We’ve survived so far – I’m sure we will survive without those too 🙂

      Personal stories are very welcome though 😁

  • I think almost every Parent can write a book but of course with their own experiences. I have read about Tests, feeding bottles and gentle products to use as it was my first one. They satisfy your curiosity but does not train us- Only hands on experience makes you a good parent but not perfect. There is no such thing as Perfect .Right Sid?

    • Haha! Of course, we all can. And absolutely – no thing as perfect 🙂
      As I mentioned in my comment to Menaka, personal experiences on parenting are always welcome. They’re relatable. My gripe is with this ‘one size fits all’ kind of approach that some of the ‘bestsellers of our time (Okay, my time) had 😄

  • Sid, I personally think people write with what personal experience they have had and some extra information they would have yearned they had when they were enduring a stage. At least I do so. So overloaded information must have been because they had wanted that much of information so as to bring some quality into their parenting.
    From my own experience I have seen fifty percent people reading a book and the other fifty not. Times are changing, we are not in a phase where our parents are with us to guide us, through our parenting. May be some people really do find some worth from the books they buy. ( P.S – I have not written any parenting guide, and am not intending to write in the near future)

    • Menaka,

      Just to clarify, my gripe isn’t with books that have personal anecdotes or stories in them. There are many of such Out there and they’re often a delight to read.

      And I’m not saying parenting books are all awful. This was meant to be taken with a pinch of humour and yes, for that I’ve had to generalise.
      But some of these bestselling books read like text books rather than sharing their experience.
      That’s all 🙂

  • I WILL buy YOUR book, Sid! I will buy it only to enjoy your giggle-inducing style of writing and your adorable use of some words that makes me wish I could write like you do!
    The book that we bought after Chikoo entered our life, still lies on the book shelf, unused and un-referred! So, I have a fair idea of what you are saying here!
    How I love reading your posts, man! 🙂

  • haha well honestly, I didn’t read anything during my pregnancy. Nothing related to pregnancy, that is. In fact, I stayed miles away from any discussion on pregnancy which was actually happening just next to my cubicle as my colleague was pregnant too. The husband did some reading, though. I think Baby Center was his go to site. I guess I was trying to postpone thinking about pregnancy and parenting till the D-day. I don’t think books can help in such cases. I remember my Ob/GYN saying that she was so pleased we were not trying to be doctors reading posts on Google or some book. So, you know many to-be parents do that and that’s why the books get written, I guess.

    • And kudos to you. Maybe you also didn’t read, because you were so busy writing like a women-possessed-by-the-keyboard 😛
      You’re spot on – there is certainly demand for it. Which is why I think I should write a ‘Daddy Journals’ 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • Parenting books – – I remember devouring a few of those during my first pregnancy. But mostly relied on online resources. It’s okay to refer to a few to calm our own nerves as long as we just use it for reference and don’t fret too much about expected milestones and behaviors.

    • I agree, Rachna. Some information is good – more like a guideline. But sometimes, they just go overboard. I know they’re just trying to make sure that the ‘parents-to-be’ aren’t taken by surprise, but that’s the thing with parenting right? It’s a surprise, every single day! 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

  • This was truly funny, Sid! Especially the using the books ‘above and beyond’ than what they were meant for: ::))))

  • With just 7 weeks left to my due date, I have just about read everything on the internet that has to do with pregnancy! 😛 Aaand I wouldnt be surprised if despite your warnings I graduate onto parenting books after our little one is born. Guess my generation is way too rooted in trying to know and understand everything at once O:) 😛

  • Reading this post reminded me of that tiny book in my bookshelf which has the title : how to be a good teen (or something like that, I haven’t touched it since five years). Those self-help books are oh-so-goody-two-shoes, and my curly-hair-i-dont-care personality can’t even begin to understand why teens would want to read books like that. I’ll save the rest for a blog post 😛

    Hilarious post, Sid 😀

  • Parenting, is best learned by actually doing it. No two kids are same and to set such strict guidelines for what a child should and shouldn’t do is just nuts. Even I am never ever sure of what I am doing as a person forget a parent. But that being said, I have read my share of books and websites and fretted of things happening and not happening too. I guess you learn as you grow.

    PS: You know I will buy multiple copies of your book, provided you write it.
    Jaibala Rao recently put up this awesome post : The Page TurnedMy Profile

  • Funny, this was. I actually read that line twice to get the meaning because I didn’t expect it to go that way, the line which said the alternative use of fat parenting book of replacing the wobbling leg of the table 😀 If this is just about parenting books, then I would like to tell you I have attended parenting courses. These days I have been eyeing a parenting book (from the Scholastic catalogue of books available at discounted price which son has received from school). Have to think twice, thrice or may be more now.

    • Hehe! Well, as much as I respect books and written literature – sometimes, they just find ‘better purpose’ elsewhere.
      Parenting courses eh, Anamika? I should talk to you about this. Might be a post in there somewhere 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Help! I’ve read a Parenting Book!My Profile

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