Who really reads/needs parenting books?

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Do you read parenting books? For real, as in from cover to cover? Did you get anything at all out of the book? Was it overall a great buy with an excellent philosophy, or was there at least one nugget of sage advice that has helped you shape your parenting style? If the answer to that last question was yes, then perhaps parenting books are good for you. For others, not so much.

I remember when I first started writing for ParentDish--way back in the Blogging Baby days. I was pregnant and trying to figure out if I had what it took to be a parent. I bought oodles of parenting books and tried to plow through them as best as I could. I found lots of conflicting information, some of it outdated. I had lots of conversations with other parents and got more of the same. I even asked them what parenting books they recommended. Some loved certain books, some hated said books. One such book was "What to Expect when You're Expecting." I wrote a post about that and got innumerable comments of both praise and abhorring. So it is with any sort of parenting advice.

Once you become a parent, generally all the things you were so scared of dissipate. You become more confident in your decision making and parenting abilities. Most of the time, you actually become a better wife, daughter, friend, sister, etc. in the process. Did the parenting books help? Maybe, maybe not. Being a parent did. The things we all fear--that we'll be bad parents, that we'll hurt our children, that they'll be taken from us through our own negligence--seem to go away the more we actually practice parenting. And that means whatever parenting style comes most naturally to us or works out best for us. And it is different for every person. I don't think it really matters how much attention you paid to WTEWYE--you're probably doing OK in the mommy or daddy department. Parenting books, if you actually have time to read them (see: before children) might offer some insight, but only you will be able to determine the right approach to raising your kids.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.