Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good vs. Bad Baby Post

I simply have to do a post on this topic of good vs. bad baby because it's a question that I was/am asked a lot with my son, and one that I (now embarrassingly) have asked other moms. Some may think this a lot of analysis for me to do for one simple question, but I think it's important for us all to be conscious of what we say due to the negative implications it could later have on both the child and parent.

The question is: "Was he/she a good baby?" 

Now I know this question sounds innocent enough, but after some thought I've decided that this question isn't fair. It isn't fair because...

1) It labels the child before he/she has even had a full chance to really figure out what their world outside the womb is like, what they need, and how to communicate those needs.

2) It sets the parent up to think they either the best or luckiest parents, OR the worst or unluckiest parents.

Both of these conclusions are pre-mature since ALL babies are constantly changing. Some babies may adapt faster to one particular environment, others may not, others may also be more adaptable when they're younger but not when they get older. The beautiful things about babies is that nothing they do is either "right" or "wrong" but simply what they prefer to do at that time based on their needs. 

As a first-time parent myself, I found the best way for me to approach things parenting related was as a new learning opportunity. With learning anything new comes a whole range of emotions from uncertainty to pride. So yeah, at one time I may have felt like the best mom, other times the worst- but lucky or unlucky? I don't think there's such thing because any person who has the honor to become a parent is blessed, and every baby is truly a miracle.

So let's get this silly question out of the parenting world and replace it with something like- "What have your favorite moments with your child been?" By inserting the word "favorite" you automatically focus on the positive and remind the parent to appreciate those special moments that they shared possibly amidst all of those harder ones. I know we as parents serve as a support system for one another, but I think it's important for us to step back and see the bigger picture of their growth before applying pre-mature labels on them and ourselves- ESPECIALLY in their presence!

To back-up my opinion on this topic, here's a excerpt from 

Is there anything I can do about my baby's temperament?
If there's something about your baby's temperament that has you worried or that you hope to help her with (such as shy behavior), it's important to be understanding and not judgmental. Don't label your baby, criticize her, or otherwise make her think she's flawed or "bad," whether in private or in front of other people. Instead, sympathize, and encourage her when she behaves in a way that seems healthier. Recognize that you can't really change your baby's natural tendencies, although you can encourage certain behavior and help her to learn and grow in a way that supports her temperament.

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