According to Parenting.com, more than 79% of parents find that social media is a great resource for parenting advice, and we have to agree with them on this one. Social media has really been a great turning point for those who seek parenting advice from real parents who are happy to spout off their many opinions from behind the computer screen. I do it on occasion. Being the mother of 1-year-old twins, I find that belonging to a number of twin groups has helped me significantly. Not only does it provide me with answers to questions I might have, insight as to what’s happening to my body and advice on raising my twins, it also helps me to see what not to do in some situations.
See, moms, social media is a good thing as it pertains to parenting. Perhaps you don’t agree with what other mothers have to say or do or believe, but that can help you just as much as advice you might actually follow. For example, if you are considering a certain parenting method for your children, seeing that it’s not working for other parents might help you to make a more informed decision as to your own situation. I never considered cloth diapering any of my kids (I like to throw them away and call it a day) but after seeing a Facebook friend of mine post a photo of her walkway from her drive to her front door littered in laundry hanging racks covered in cloth diapers drying in the sun, I knew for certain it would never be for me even if I did consider it (for one, my homeowner’s association would have a fit and secondly, I’d be furious if I had to look at diapers all over the driveway of my own neighbor’s homes and that just did it for me).
There are so many different ways you can use social media for parenting advice, too. You can read it on the posts of other moms. You can offer it to other moms. You can read the articles that are shared by other parents on social media to gain a little insight into things. One of my favorite ways to use social media as it pertains to parenting is simply seeing that I’m not the only one going through certain things. I appreciate reading articles shared by other mothers that say what I’m thinking about how much my kids make me nuts or how crazy I feel at certain times of any given day. There are so many things I see online that make me feel validated, like part of a team rather than just the mom who is dealing as best she can.
Something else that parents might not take into consideration is just how helpful they might be when offering advice to others. For example, I had no idea a simple comment would mean so much to a friend when she posted to Facebook that she was so stressed that her son would not catch onto potty training when she wanted him to. She’d tried everything and everyone was telling her that it wasn’t normal that at 3 he wasn’t fully potty trained. When I commented telling her that it’s all right, and to stop stressing and remember he will not graduate in diapers and that each of my kids took significantly different measures and amounts of time to potty train, she sent me a text thanking me. While everyone else was using her upset as an opportunity to tell her what to do and to tell her she’s doing things wrong or to brag that they are “sooooo glad my kids picked up on potty training right away at 16 months,” (not helpful), I was honest with her and told her that it took two years longer to potty train our second daughter than it did our first and that we learned quickly to just let it go and not stress. She was so appreciative of me, and she felt that my comment helped her to see that it’s not the big deal she thought it was.
Another incident like this occurred when a mom-to-be on one of my twin groups asked about what life is like with newborn twins and dozens of mothers told her to expect to be very stressed, to never sleep again and to never leave the house again, but that it “gets easier in about 5 year.” She commented that the comments on the post were making her cry and that she was dreading the birth of her twins, so I was honest with her. I told her we added twins as our third and fourth babies, put them on a schedule, had them sleeping through the next before they were a month old and never let the stress of taking them out bother us and that it was already ‘easy’ and that it would just get more fun as time went on. Suddenly a myriad of other women who felt the same with their own twins began commenting saying that they didn’t want to be bashed by other moms for not being overwhelmed with their twins, but that they agreed with me.
Sometimes, just a comment can be helpful to someone in a desperate situation.
Additionally, social media is a good outlet for real parenting advice. Sometimes it’s far easier to tell your followers what’s going on than it is to admit to your friends in real life. Sometimes it’s nice to see a number of different opinions held by mothers you might not spend time with in real life, since your friends are probably very similar to you and these women might have very different parenting beliefs.
The moral of the story is that there are so many reasons that parenting advice online can be so helpful; it can give you an idea of what to try, what not to try and it helps you feel a bit more relaxed about the entire thing because you will realize that you are not alone.
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