Have you ever wondered if the pressure you feel as a parent is “normal”? Is it the same amount of pressure your own parents felt? How does it compare to other parents living right now on the other side of the world?
Dr. Jane Scott is a trained pediatrician and neonatologist who has lived in England and Ireland, as well as the Australian outback and the South African desert. She has four children of her own, born on three continents, and now is a doting grandparent.
Dr. Scott’s new book The Confident Parent: A Pediatrician’s Guide to Caring for Your Little One – Without Losing Your Joy, Your Mind, or Yourself, co-written with Stephanie Land, helps parents dial down their insecurities and anxieties by taking a look at how other countries and cultures raise children. Dr. Scott reminds parents that we could all benefit from a world of best practice that will release parents from the culturally imposed pressure and stress that has become a de facto parenting badge of honor.
I’m happy to have Dr. Scott here on the blog today to explore this topic of culturally constructed parental stress and what we can do about it.
Why are childhood milestones different between countries?
Much of the difference seen between cultures relates to lifestyles, safety of the environment and whether the group lives a nomadic lifestyle or a more sedentary lifestyle
Why is it important for parents to realise that childhood milestones are culturally constructed?
It helps parents to understand that there is a large range of normal, and within that there are variations that are often affected by the importance of family mobility, convenience and local practices.
Do you think parents are unnecessarily stressed about children meeting milestones?
Actually, I haven’t noticed that parents in America stress too much about their babies milestones unless their physician tells parents their babies is behind. Then they become highly concerned, and wish to do whatever is necessary to help their children to achieve the necessary skill level if possible.
How do you know when to worry about your child’s development?
If you physician who is well versed at normal developmental milestones becomes concerned then you the parent should be appropriately concerned and become educated in what this might mean for your particular child.
What do you recommend to parents who are worried if their child is developmentally behind?
I recommend attending an appointment with your child’s physician or pediatric nurse practitioner. I would be careful of relying on friends, relatives or other sources who are not trained in this area of medicine.
Are you suffering from unnecessary pressure?
I have to admit that I personally have relied on Dr. Google a few too many times to answer my own milestone queries, and I love Dr. Scott’s reminder to seek out expert opinions instead of focusing on perceived cultural norms.
To read more about Dr. Scott’s book and work, you can visit her site here.
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