November 2nd, 2011


Literacy hour

This comment on a parenting web forum is an example of one of the reasons why I avoid parenting web forums:
"hi ya i had this with my lo she 9 months and she been theething like made i asked my h/v and she said stop all fresh juice only give her diluted juice but must be suger free, dont purt any her foumla milk in her foods only fresh milk and dont give her so much paracentmol coz that could cause it too
and i done so and its worked its better all round now which is nice."

It's not that I think being able to write is necessarily correlated with quality of parenting; it's just that I find it hard to wade through posts with lousy spelling and no punctuation. It slows down my reading and that frustrates me - especially when time is such a scarce resource.

I say "parenting", there, but I don't think I've ever seen a man make a post (or comment) on a baby/child forum; they're always pitched at "mums", and to read some of them you'd think "dads" were a different species entirely. That's another reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums: I am sick and tired of the "lol men just wudnt understnad" attitude. My daughter has two parents. OK, there is currently one thing that only I can do for her (since addedentry steadfastly refuses to lactate) -- and at the moment I'm just spending more time with her than he is, because that's the way our jobs worked out -- but everything else is as much an issue for him as it is for me.

The other reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums is the fact that they're nearly always anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-knowledge: they're an arena where perceived experience ("well it worked for me") trumps everything, and so-called experts are not to be trusted because they're always changing their minds (that is, they change their guidelines on best practice in response to new research... shocking behaviour!). I know that there are some areas of parenting where science can't give you the answers; I know that there are areas where there probably isn't enough research to be able to pronounce definitively. But there are also lots of areas -- particularly in medicine -- where there is considerable knowledge, and I'd rather talk to a health professional than ask a randomly chosen person on the internet what their opinion is. That's not to say that health professionals are infallible, or even that different health visitors, GPs etc will offer the same advice. But even if I accepted that experience trumped everything, I'd rather go to someone who has experience of dealing with thousands of children, not just one or two!

Anyway, time to stop ranting before Img wakes up. :-)

ETA: Since everybody seems to be namechecking mumsnet, I should in fairness point out that the example comment above is not from mumsnet!

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