How to answer those important parenting questions

By admin
27 August 2013

Our parenting blogger Meg Faure shares the type of advice she gives to new parents. And how she gets parents to trust their intuition.

I was recently on a phone-in TV show,  which has a wonderful platform for advice for stay-at-home moms. The panel was made up of three members of the Johnson’s Baby Sense Seminars team plus celeb yummy mummy, Zuraida Jardine, and between the four of us, we chatted and answered questions.

We were faced with a barrage of questions from the host and mommies alike and spent an hour dispensing sage advice. There were so many questions because as any honest mom will tell you – for a few weeks (or even months) after the birth of her little one, most moms are insecure and terrified of whether she is “doing it right”.

So what do we, the advisors, say to moms when they ask for advice? Well there three categories of answers:

The “black and white” answer presents itself when a question is a no-brainer. If it’s a health issue and we haven’t seen the baby – that’s a clear-cut response – “See your doctor” or when it’s a question that has been thoroughly researched and has become indisputable information, like “in which position must my baby sleep – tummy or back?” This answer is grounded in so much research that it would be irresponsible to divert from it.

Then there’s the “open up options” answer, which is a good response when there are a wide variety of options to consider, like “When shall I introduce solids?” Or “When is the best age to have a sibling?” Here it’s often helpful to chat through pros and cons and guide people into making a good decision for their personal situation.

And finally there’s the “what do you think?” answer. This answer is, of course, a question and on the surface seems completely pointless – I mean, if the mom had the answer, why is she asking? Actually it’s far from pointless. I would go so far as to say it’s the best answer. I cannot tell you how many times, I have asked that question back and the mom has told me the wisest answer – wiser than any I could give.

The reason it’s the best answer is that in truth, the answer to most parenting questions lies within – it’s called intuition. It’s this intuition that is buried below layers of opinion, unsolicited advice and madness that parents are confronted with as they trawl the internet for answers to parenting’s greatest questions. So deep are these layers of opinion, that the mom thinks she has no clue. But asked for a moment: “What do you think?” and she will respond with her wise instinct as a mom. She just needs a little nudge to hear her inner voice.

So, it’s my job to dispense advice and I can and I do. But I learn the most and my advice is most accurate when I ask the simple question – what do you think?

Meg Faure, an occupational therapist with a special interest in treating fussy babies and those with sleep problems which brought the Baby Sense brand to life in 2005. She is also the owner of the Baby Sense Company which develops innovative baby products.

She co-authored the bestsellers Baby sense and Sleep Sense with Sister Ann Richardson, Feeding Sense with dietician Kath Megaw and Dr Simon Strachan and Your Sensory Baby.

Meg’s Baby Sense Seminars take place in PE, Cape Town, Joburg and Durban between 24 and 14 September. For more info or to book visit http://www.babysense.co.za/seminars/ emailbookings@go4word.co.za  or call 021-461-4669.

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