Don’t Let Social Media’s Obsession With Parenting Advice Get You Down
If you’ve let Facebook know that you’re a mom or dad, chances are you’ve seen a lot more parenting articles pop up in your news feed lately. As Parade’s Kate Rope explains, a lot of those articles offer information that’s neither life-changing nor particularly apt. But since the algorithm has targeted you for a steady stream of “relevant” content, you’re going to see a whole lot more parent-focused clickbait than the rest of your social network. That’s why you need to develop a filter for sifting through the wide range of stuff that enters your virtual space. Know what’s useful and know what’s just there to sell ads.
Some background: Rope is Parade’s new parenting and pregnancy columnist, so she makes sure to note just how meta it is that she’s making this argument.* She also emphasizes that her point isn’t to ignore parenting advice articles altogether, as some really are quite useful and insightful (shameless plug). But being bombarded with post after post after post only helps add fuel to the fires of supposed inferiority and ruthless self-critique. As both a columnist and mother, Rope finds such a state to be harmful for parents:
“I want to learn how to stop critiquing my parenting choices and accept that it is all one big learning experience—a process, rather than a finished project. I don’t have to get it right from the get go. In fact, I don’t have to get it right at all. Being able to accept failure and sit in the mess is as valuable (no, more valuable) as learning ‘the top 5 super-simple things you can do to boost baby’s IQ today.'”
So when going through parenting articles in social media, do your best to first read them outside the mom/dad context. What are the goals of the piece? Is it crafted in a way to convey information or to elicit an emotional response? If it’s the latter, don’t let any of the content negatively affect how you feel. If a parenting piece isn’t clear, concise and genuine, it’s not at all worth your concern.
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*Even more fascinatingly meta is how this is a blog post about why you should believe a blog post that stresses why you shouldn’t believe other blog posts.