Friday, August 11, 2006

Are babies objects?

Your baby is not an object. It's a real life form, with feelings - they can feel joy just as much as pain, they can feel your love or they can feel it when you reject them. If someone tells you to ignore your baby because it says so in the book he or she wrote do you listen to them? Who would you listen to out of the following list with reference to your baby?

1. A mother of three children reared to adulthood
2. A GP who has 2 children
3. A self-professed parenting guru who has never had their own children and who has no formal qualifications in child development or medical knowledge
4. A PhD in Child Psychology but has no children
5. A health visitor
6. A father with 4 adopted children
7. Your baby

What is the answer?

Well you could listen to all of them but I hope that you would also listen to 7. your baby most and yourself as well. The mother of three may have raised them in the 1950s - parenting knowledge has changed since then. The GP may have 2 children and have medical knowledge but may not see much of his or her own children because they are working flat out so may not know very much either. The guru may just be full of hot air but may be able to write well and have a marketing exercise and publicist behind them. The PhD may know all the academic theories and may well have worked in clinical settings with children but did they get up last night at 4am? The health visitor may know quite a few things about mainstream medical care for babies but may not know anything about non-mainstream practice because they don't get to think outside the box. The father with 4 adopted children probably knows a great deal about the adoption process and hopefully would be a good parent to those 4 children.

So the answer is whatever you deem it to be for most of the list, because there's no real wrong or right here, but you as a parent need to check around, cross reference, get up-to-date and also trust in your own instincts by listening to your baby.

As I said at the beginning of this piece your baby is not an object. If you take on information from others without trusting that you and your baby are amazing together then... Yes by all means read around (I did, a lot), learn about the general care of babies but do you need to put your trust in one person who isn't even present in your life other than in a book and who hasn't even seen your baby, let alone knows you personally? Certain methods of parenting can result in emotional trauma and longterm psychological effects which go through from baby, childhood into adulthood. I wouldn't say any one method is perfect but there are ways which are more ideal than others and both mother and baby have to be taken into consideration.

It helps to share information and to discuss and guess what... it is allowed in the UK to evaluate and criticise books. I personally believe that some of the ideas Ms Ford presents in her books are dangerous to the wellbeing of babies - I think they are in parts cruel and may well amount to mental abuse... and yes I can say that because no court in the country has a law that can stop someone from saying that.


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