Parenting Books and Confirmation Bias

Just a teaser entry for now – I have recently come across several parenting books that I am really enjoying. Something seems to have clicked and I’ve found a few that are making sense for me. And now that we’re out of the mysterious newborn/infant phase and on to the sort-of-communicating toddler phase, it’s more about dealing with this individual as an individual–and yet still a child–so it’s much more interesting. Anyway, I will say more about them when I’ve finished them. But as i find myself choosing what to read and what not to read, I also got to thinking about “confirmation bias.”

Confirmation bias is often derided as a negative and closed-minded flaw that almost all of us fall victim to. We, apparently, seek out points of view that will confirm and validate what we already believe to be the case. Setting aside a discussion of confirmation bias in the general case, I’ve come to think it’s not inappropriate to do this, after a certain point, when it comes to parenting. There are certain parenting approaches that are anathema to me. I feel no compulsion to read books espousing and elaborating on how to most effectively implement those approaches. Similarly, as time goes on and we’ve gotten to know TLG, there are certain styles and approach that really resonate with us and how we’re dealing with stuff in our family. So I’m looking for more information on those styles and approaches. I still scan various multi-purpose/multi-approach parenting inputs in the event that things we’re doing end up not working so well when it comes to whatever the next phase is.

But to the extent that we’re comfortable and reasonably confident in our general approach I don’t feel the need to seek out inputs that will try to convince me I’m wrong. That way lies madness, I think. Note, of course, that strategy is different from tactics here; minute-to-minute and even sometimes day-to-day I’m stumped and welcome advice and tips on how to handle or manage all sorts of things. But in terms of overall approaches (for which there are zillions of books and references to choose from) in the large we think our approach has merit for this particular child. (As an aside, and perhaps this stems from my many years as a comfortably child-free individual, I have not found that only parents have good advice on parenting. As TLG has gotten older, I’ve gotten plenty of good advice from other parents. But as with so many other things, I’ve also gotten good insights and tips from child-free friends who are just generally insightful about people. TLG is a person, after all. One doesn’t need to be a parent to have thoughts about how to manage/interact/cope with other people.)

Anyway, if and when I actually manage to finish a couple more of these books, I’ll try to do a review or overview. For those who follow my Twitter feed, one of the books emphasizes a Buddhist approach of honoring the person that the child is (as opposed to who one might wish they were). Namaste, right? “I honor the spirit in you that is also in me.” I’m trying to practice that in other ways, too. As I said on Twitter:

Grumbling about grammar, then saying.. let it go.. let it go.. namaste.. I honor the inappropriate apostrophes in you..

Resisting smackdown on anti-vaxers. Namaste. I honor, I guess, the anti-science, anti-fact, community-health-diminishing impulse in you.

That’s probably not exactly the most faithful interpretation. But hey, I’m trying.

This entry was posted in Books, General Musings, Parenting, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Parenting Books and Confirmation Bias

  1. acm says:

    yeah, I’m with you on the parenting books. there are many “right”/functional/humane ways to raise a child, and only a subset of those will actually fit your personality, philosophy, and actual offspring. if you find one that seems well based in reality and also sympatico, WIN! have made no effort to cover all the other approaches just for completion sake — there’s already more than enough that needs doing.