You've got parenting questions. We've got Tina Nocera. In her new book, Parents Ask, Experts Answer, Tina brings together a panel of thirty-five experts to offer advice on some of the most challenging issues faced by parents. We caught up with her to find out about her experiences writing her blog, the best and worst parenting advice she's received, and more!
Q1: What is the most interesting or outrageous parenting question you’ve received through your website, Parental Wisdom?
Parents of a five-year-old were told by the kindergarten teacher that their child was not being a good listener. The parents’ reaction was to take the child to psychologist, which was like hitting an ant with an anvil. The psychologist told them to have the teacher complete a daily report card, complete with smiley or sad faces based on the child’s behavior for that day. The situation spiraled out of control because the child was being micromanaged when there wasn’t any real problem present. We finally convinced the parents to lighten up and let the child be a child with time simply to play and let off steam. The situation dramatically improved.
Q2: What is the best parenting advice you have received?
It was more of a realization than it was advice that caused me to create Parental Wisdom®. I realized that I’m the real expert on my children, but I need access to multiple expert responses to situations so I can choose what is best for my child and family.
Q3: What is the worst parenting advice you have received?
When my children became teenagers, I was told to let them drink at friends’ homes because they were going to do it anyway. Ridiculous advice!
Q4: In Parents Ask, Experts Answer, parents find multiple answers to some of the toughest issues they may face with their children. Why is it important to have multiple answers to parenting questions?
Now more than ever, we have lost the village families once had when raising children. There are more distractions and outside influences on family life. The methods most parents use are talking to family and friends and reading books and websites written from a single perspective. Here are a few challenges I found with this method of problem solving:
- When I read the books, I don’t always agree with the experts.
- When I ask family and friends, I never completely agree with them either. That creates a different relationship challenge when you ask a question and then don't take someone's advice.
- As the saying goes, little kids, little problems; big kids, bigger problems. What will the future look like? What would I do if my child did something I didn't want to share with others? Then, where would I go for answers?
It dawned on me that, if we really believe our children are unique, how could one-size-fits-all advice work? Think about it: Each family is different in their values, beliefs, and lifestyle. How could there be a single right way to parent?
Q5: Some of the questions in Parents Ask, Experts Answer have conflicting advice; do you think that is helpful or confusing?
Families are formed by two people coming together from different backgrounds and trying to determine what their newly formed family culture is going to be. There are usually several right answers to parenting questions, and some may be very different. For example, do you give rewards for good behavior? Do you allow sleepovers? Sometimes answers are similar but are said differently. Either way, the parents, who know their child best, will recognize the right answer when they see it.
Q6: What do you hope parents get out of this book?
I hope that parents use this book to be intentional in making parenting decisions that best fit their values and the family culture they would like to create. I don’t want parents to look for an easy answer but to realize that their thoughtful responses will build a better long-term relationship with their child.
About the Author: Tina Nocera has written the Parental Wisdom blog since 2006. She has a bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Chadwick University. She serves as the director of global ecommerce, strategy, and business development for Toys "R" Us. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Mike. Her son, Michael, is serving in the U.S. Army, and her daughter, Noelle, works in public relations in New York.