We’ve all done it at least once – searched Google for answers to our most pressing parenting questions. In the age of information, we can find answers to anything we want (and even things we don’t want). I’ve read numerous blogs warning against putting too much stock in things found on the Internet (oh, the irony). It’s true that if you take everything you read to heart, you might find yourself curled up in fetal position crying onto your keyboard.
I’ve been personally criticized for turning to Dr. Google for answers when my daughter is sick or behaving differently.
“Oh! How did people ever survive without the Internet?” they ask, mockingly.
I don’t know. How did they survive without cars and electricity and other luxuries we readily accept as part of daily life? Clearly not everyone needed those things to survive, but we use them every day now. And they make our lives easier.
Today’s parents have a huge advantage over previous generations. We are lucky enough to be raising children in the age of information where anything we could possibly want to know is available at our fingertips. It’s true that it can be overwhelming and sometimes be misleading or confusing. But if we use discernment, follow our instincts, and adjust the advice according to what is best for our families, the Internet can be an invaluable asset.
Generations before us didn’t have the luxury of turning to instant information when faced with a tough parenting question. Instead, they had to turn to friends or family to draw from their personal experiences. While this was great for people who were lucky enough to be surrounded by people who respected their roles as parents, I imagine that it was sometimes like playing Parenting Roulette. You never knew what kind of advice you would get, but you best take it or feel the harsh sting of disapproval and judgment.
Now our resources are unlimited. We get to create our own villages rather than relying solely on the ones we were born into. We have the advantage of online message boards, social media, and Mommy & Me groups where we can connect with other parents in the same stage of life, with the same struggles, the same pressures. We can use these things to stay connected with people we would otherwise have lost contact with years ago. We can use these resources to widen our support networks.
There have been a lot of discoveries and developments in child safety and health in just the past five years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe it benefits our children to stick to the old ways of doing things simply because we “turned out okay.” We should take advantage of the new information readily available to us and strive to always improve. Stubbornness will get us nowhere.
Before becoming a parent myself, I had parenting ideas that immediately flew out the window once I held my precious girl in my arms. Once I realized the true magnitude of my responsibility, I resolved to do everything in my power to be the mother she needed to grow into a healthy, happy adult.
Isn’t that the common goal? We want to give our children things that we didn’t have – not because we were deprived, but because resources and knowledge were limited. If the Internet can be used as a tool to make my child’s life better, then I am going to use it.
I’m not saying to believe everything you read or give into the fear that too much time on Dr. Google can generate. I’m simply saying to filter the information through your own natural instincts to increase your knowledge and help you parent better.
I’m not aiming for “good enough” or mere survival. My hope is to raise my daughter with my newfound knowledge and do better than my parents did just like they strived to do better than their parents. And I hope that if my daughter one day chooses to have children of her own, that she uses the new tools at her disposal, whatever they may be, and parents better than me.