Kids Don't Come With Instruction Manuals

Where do you turn for advice on raising children?

I bet if nurses in Labor and Delivery had a dollar for everytime they heard, "Don't these kids come with instruction manuals?" they would be very, very rich.  It's that joke that I think most couples share when they're discharged from the hospital after welcoming a's not so much "Now what?" as it is, "Do  we know everything we need to know to take baby home?"

The answer, of course, is no.  Parenting is an ongoing process of learning.  While your child is learning about the world, you're learning about the best way to bring your child up in the world.  Also, I've heard from many parents that their parenting style varies from child to child, based on what works best with their individual personalities.  
Most women learn during pregnancy that advice is often easy to come by.  Perhaps too easy, actually.  Before I digress an unsolicited advice for pregnant women, I better get to the point...I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I have a few select people whom I turn to for advice on parenting, usually family or close friends who I think know a thing or two about a thing or two.  
I also turn to books for parenting advice and information.  Here are some of the ones I have around:
Healthy Sleep, Happy Child by Weissbluth
What To Expect From Your Toddler (from the What To Expect When You're Expecting folks)
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 from the American Academy of Pediatrics 
I'm thinking about buying the book Bringing Up Be`Be` by Pamela Druckerman after the segment about the book last week on the Today Show.   
No book has all the answers.  Some have no answers for some of my questions...and that's fine. By now, I have a pretty good idea of how to handle "Lauren the Toddler" (although I'm pretty sure writing that last line down will prove to be a mistake).   My favorite source for parenting information is now my own gut and maternal instinct.
I'm curious.  Do you have any books that you would recommend as good parenting books? 
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  • by Rebecca Location: Belhaven on Feb 24, 2012 at 12:56 PM
    If you are happy with how you turned out, then the best place to seek advice about raising children is with your own parents. If they have passed then people from thier generation. It seems the parents now days and the last couple of generation have not done a great job. Our young people are in a sad state.
  • by TG Location: Florida on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM
    Babywise is Bad News. Been there, done that. But building a community of encouraging, supportive parents? Priceless. May not have all the answers -- but will be able to help you through the ups and downs and brainstorm solutions that work for you and your child.
  • by justin Location: grifton N.C on Feb 16, 2012 at 09:14 AM
    i always call my mama , she rised 3 boys and we turn out to be fine at times lol . Mama knows best but if mama dont know ill the doctor ....
  • by Jon A on Feb 16, 2012 at 08:08 AM
    On Becoming Babywise. Followed it with our second child and she has always slept like a champ. Did not follow it with my son and while I love him he was a nightmare until he was 3
  • by Lisa Location: Farmville, NC on Feb 16, 2012 at 07:05 AM
    I love all of the Sears' Library Books! All of the Dr. Sears' books have been so helpful. There is the general "Baby Book" and then they have specific topics such as "The Breastfeeding Book" and "The Vaccine Book", to name a few. Also the Ask Dr Sears Facebook page is amazing. The Lactation Specialist at Vidant are amazing for Breastfeeding information. There is a support group at Vidant, the first Monday of every month. There is information on their website! With the help of the Sears Books and the lactation specialists they have helped me in so many ways…including still nursing my now 16 month old after a VERY rough start and general parenting tips!
  • by BJ Wynn Location: Everetts on Feb 16, 2012 at 06:57 AM
    I read all of the books too, but the best place I learned is from my Mom, Lollie Biggs. When a rash pops up or something medically unusual happens....when in doubt call MOM! For instance, with a baby with constipation, the "book" says rush them to the doctor. Grandma says just add a little dark Caro Syrup to the milk and all will come out. Well I wasn't sure this was good advice so I called the doctor and that's what they told me to do too. I quickly learned to call her first...she raised all of us and we are healthy. The maternal instinct is the best! With toddlers and pre-K the best advice is to remember to LAUGH! When they dump a full box of Cheez-Its behind the chair and you come around the corner and they look up at you and smile....don't get mad...just sit down and join the party and get a camera to capture the moment! So I say use the books to make a fire and roast some marshmallows and make s'mores. The kids will love them and you won't have your nose in a book! lol
    • reply
      by cat on Feb 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM in reply to BJ Wynn
      Must be nice to have had a mother who was a mother, not a child/mother, and who raised children to be independent. I used Dr. Spock, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, and neighbors who were reasonable. It's not some inborn skill, you have to be taught by somebody.
  • by Dawn Location: Snow Hill, NC on Feb 16, 2012 at 06:51 AM
    I had no one particular book I used. In fact, I used several good wide thick ones to raise baby up at the table when a booster chair was not available. :-) Seriously, I just tried to follow my own instinct. I think I did a pretty good job, because my kids both turned out to be wonderful adults.
  • by Barbara Location: Ayden on Feb 16, 2012 at 06:50 AM
    I attended La Leche League meetings and found many new mothers navigating the new path of motherhood. We shared everything from parenting information, nutrition and recipe information, how to "handle dad" issues, fitness tips, sleep ( or lack of it) issues, etc. There was a lending library of books that we could borrow and then discuss with each other. We also shared playdates, exchanged clothings and toys, and formed bonds that sometimes have lasted years. There is a saying there "take what information you wish to use, but be respectful if you don't think something will work for your family, as we are all different but are all trying to do the best for our family:.

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