Tuesday, September 16, 2008

does not apply

I just got this month's issue of Parents magazine which my sister continues to renew for me because she is a generous soul. I have not yet found a tactful way to tell her to not bother. I have nothing against the magazine, but rarely does an issue give me any information that is pertinent to my family.

Take this issue for example: in the food fun fast section, the authors claim that "you can hook your child on clam chowder or any kind of healthy soup simply by floating a tiny treat on top." I don't care if you float a life-sized Thomas the Train engine, my children will not touch clam chowder with a 10-foot pole. Danny never eats soup; in fact, he doesn't eat anything with competing textures: no chili, no stew, no soup, heck, not even ice cream with chunks. And don't think I haven't tried bribes and funny shaped foods, etc. but still the powers that be at Parents think they have my son's dietary problems solved. Please.

In another section, they suggest playing Simon Says before bedtime to get your kid through his routine in a relatively calm fashion. The author says, "It is a relatively quiet game that won't escalate your child's energy level before bed." This is actually inaccurate in our case. Almost anything, but especially a game, can escalate Danny's energy level anytime of the day or night.

I used to think the reason so little of the information in these magazines applied to my family because of Danny's sensory needs. I know that he is an unusual kid in a lot of ways and I can't expect the parenting authors to understand that. Still, it would be nice if these magazines had a decent article once in a while (more often than once a year, please) dealing with kids with special needs. I mean, there are probably more kids with special needs out there than we think. If you include kids with ADHD, speech delays, motor delays, physical handicaps, sensory problems, autism spectrum disorder, etc. we might actually have more special needs kids than "normal" kids.

Anyway, after this issue, though, I am changing my opinion; these articles don't even help me with my "normal" child. I think that the info is just so generic that the advice may not work on a lot of children. In another article this month, the author confesses to being really lenient. So, she undergoes a "pushover mommy makeover." I have no problem, per se, with the advice, but more with the outcome. The author claims that becoming less lenient was a piece of cake for her and her son, who she previously claimed was walking all over her. She says, "Surprisingly, it's been kind of easy. Will listens when I tell him what the routine is...He doesn't fight me."

Does anyone have a toddler who wouldn't fight them when the parents suddenly instituted rules? Because I would sure love to meet the kid. My daughter is a very spirited little girl, and like most toddlers, she wants her own way. When we lay down the rules (which I routinely am forced to do) she lets me know she is not happy about it. In her case, it could take me weeks to get her to really cooperate with a rule. In fact, we are undergoing this process as we speak, as I am forcing her to wear clothes when we leave the house and keep her diaper on when we stay at home. She doesn't like it, but after weeks of battling, she is finally giving up. Mostly.

Maybe the real problem is the magazines try to appeal to everyone: parents of babies up until teenagers, parents who work, parents who homeschool, parents with easy kids, difficult kids, etc. How can there really be one formula that actually applies to everyone? Each kid and parent is so different. Still, I often find myself rolling my eyes at yet another attempt to get my kids to eat their veggies by disguising them as caterpillars. Do they really think my children will fall for that? Or like when I read about some cliche piece of parenting advice, like potty training tips, which I have tried for years, and which are not working on my son.

I don't mean to bag on Parents magazine; it is just not the right fit for me. I do wish there were a good parenting magazine out there that dealt with unusual situations, not just the ideal, typical scenarios. You know, to help those of us out there who have kids who do crazy, unexplainable things.


kia (good enough mama) said...

I'm with you on this one! I used to get the Canadian Today's Parent and cancelled it for the same reason: none of it EVER applied to my kid. NOTHING. It was depressing because that was still in the days when I thought I must be doing something wrong because my kid was so "different." Frickin' magazines. The editors probably don't even HAVE kids. ;)

Anonymous said...

This is why we all need a "Titus Two" fit... someone who has lived some of life and can see the situation we are in and help us along. Trying to find any kind of fit in a four-color glossy magazine is a bit one size fits all... give me the real woman size ;-) Most of the time those editors and writers don't parent any where near the same ball park I'm in!

mrsbear said...

I just recently subscribed to "Brain, Child", you should check it out. It's not your traditional parenting magazine, it's full of honest sometimes humorous personal essays relating to motherhood. On the website you might be able to read some of the summer issue. None of those BS tips that are supposed to make life easier for the struggling parent, no one size fits all band-aid solutions either. My mother-in-law subscribed me to "Parenting" (what's she trying to say, I wonder) and all I use it for is to cut out magazine pics for my son's kindergarten homework.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister. I, too, roll my eyes when I read those articles (which is seldom these days). They are all generic - I think the writers just make stuff up. And you're right - it's not just that they don't work for our "special" kids - it doesn't work on my "typical" kid either.

Amy Jane said...


It's so funny that you mentioned the Simon Says before bed thing. I, too, get that mag, and when I read that, I had the EXACT same thought about Nick! If we tried to play Simon Says before bed, he'd end up totally spazzing and flailing from the perceived hilarity - he would most certainly NOT be calmer. :) What a hoot!

Tracey said...

I have 3 VERY different kids. The youngest is FINALLY one that might fit the mold for most of the ideas in parenting magazines. But I am "seasoned" now and don't need the ideas! My eldest... yeahhh.. the idea of putting a toy on top to get him to eat something? HAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!! That is a STITCH. No crazy creamy/chunky foods (minus mac n cheese but only prepared in a certain fashion and only if it's stirred enough and only if it's the right brand and only... you get the idea.)

Elizabeth Channel said...

Stacks and stacks of these magazines litter my closet.

My sweet grandmother-in-law (whom I honestly adore) gives me Parents, Parenting, Reader's Digest, Birds & Blooms, Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, and Martha Stewart.

They clutter my closet because I dream of the day I will actually have time to rip the plastic wrap off one of them.

When that day finally arrives, I won't be reaching for the Parents, however.

That thing about the healthy soup made me laugh so loud I think I disturbed children.

The things I've tried to disguise food to look like in an attempt to get my child to eat more than 5 things...