"Babies don't come with an instruction manual" is a cliche that lots of potentially sympathetic people say, but I find it makes me feel a bit narky. These are my responses...
- If babies did come with an instruction manual, who would read it?
- If a manual existed, it would create a passive parenting style or a prescriptive one.
- Such a document would be raggedly ineffective due to the constant Windows-style updates.
- People would improvise/ cut corners/ experiment anyway.
- Babies DO come with an instruction manual, it says: "LOVE and LISTEN". But the listening takes work: time, attention and trusting parental intuition. It seems to me that wanting a manual is a sign of insecurity in following intuitive direction.
- Adults don't come with instructions either: very few people are honest communicators or know what works best for them in social situations. The tensions this creates may be hidden as few relationships have the intensity or vested interest of a parent/child bond.
- The manual is out there: there is loads of wisdom from others, but it must be sought, and the advice sifted via experimentation and intuition to find the correct blend for the individual. I think this is empowering. It's great to learn new ideas, theories and techniques and to hang selected baubles of knowledge on the Christmas tree of personal beliefs and morals.
The next well-wisher who mentions the manual is likely to have a longer conversation about it than they'd intended! He he.
Feel free to share your thoughts or anecdotes on the subject!