The Science of Parenting

It's Not About Being Perfect | Ep. 2

March 19, 2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 1 Episode 2
The Science of Parenting
It's Not About Being Perfect | Ep. 2
Show Notes Transcript

The balancing act of parenting isn’t always easy. Our pros dig into the latest research and current realities facing today’s families.

Support the show

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Lori Hayungs:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting, research-based information that fits your family. Where we talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. Here we are again, episode two, season one, episode two, I guess. So we have had a blast interacting with you all the last week. It's been fun. Kind of a little scary, a little exhilarating all at the same time. Right? So , my name is Lori Hayungs and I am with The Science of Parenting. My friend Mackenzie...

Mackenzie Johnson:

I'm Mackenzie Johnson, also of course, with The Science of Parenting podcast.

Lori Hayungs:

Last time we talked a little bit about what we wanted to do here with the Science of Parenting and getting started. And so we want to dive a little bit deeper into, you know, where do we go to find that information and when are we looking for it and how do we find it and how do we make it relevant to us in terms of our parenting world. And I think my first reaction when I thought about this as a topic, it really brought me back to when I was looking for information about my daughter with special needs. At that time, I wasn't sure what was going on but I just knew, I knew something wasn't right. And as an early childhood educator, it was hard for me to talk about it and ask questions because she was my second child. And many times people were thinking, oh, Lori, you're just comparing her to the first child and because she's not doing the same thing at the same time that the first child was, you're overreacting. And so, yeah, that was my first thought about this, finding research when you need it most. How about you?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. I actually think I talked a little bit in the last episode about my welcome to parenting and when my daughter was born, before that I was like, I'm gonna breastfeed. That's what research tells me. It's the only way to do it in my head, you know, I was sure that was it. And when my daughter was born, she didn't nurse effectively and , I struggled and struggled to keep going as you know. I mean, you talked me through it. It was like doing that research. I'm like, no, research tells me this. This has to be the way. And I didn't leave myself any room for reality. And so that's honestly what I think of as we talk about this and finding it when we need it most is finding both like finding your own reality in that research.

Lori Hayungs:

Right? So many people are like, well, you just need to check the box, check the box. It'll work , you know ? All right , well, you really actually must not be checking a box.

Mackenzie Johnson:

If you try, have you tried, have you tried it ? I've tried all of the things you're saying, more than once. And so I think that reality portion is such an important part of it. And I was fortunate to have you and some of our other colleagues that could help me. I was how can I be this person who teaches people about research and parenting and then I didn't do it myself and I was like, no, wait . You're using the research to inform your reality and your decision. There's also research on the importance of your mental health as a parent.

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah, exactly, yeah. So many questions that you, I mean I think we all do and then there's that whole parent shaming and judgement when really what we just need is someone to walk alongside us and say yeah, and you are doing the best you can with the information you're getting, which is where The Science of Parenting comes in and we want to get more information in your hands essentially. So I'm going to pull a couple pieces of research if you don't mind sharing the reality.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Alright, I'm ready to tell.

Lori Hayungs:

I have a study from 2011 by Walker Dworkin and Connell, and they revealed that parents go online for a variety of reasons. They might be looking for information about what is normal development in terms of what age do kids typically do certain things? They might be going online to get resources for their questions. You know, toilet training is a big one by Dean. Or they might be going online to build social support. So, okay. There are a lot of reasons that parents go online. That's what research says. All right, so normal development. Okay . Normative development, like identifying resources. So that could be local, it could be national, it could be, you know, like what are those things you can get your fingers on in your life? And social support. Three things.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. Well, I guess I immediately think off the bat , this is my go to example. You know, sometimes when people find out what my job is, they're like, oh, you know all the things. Your kids are so lucky. You know all the things. I'm like, eh , my kids maybe wouldn't want to say that. But when my daughter was, you know, at a certain age, we actually have a resource that we get via email that's put out through Extension that comes based on their age. So I got this email that was like, okay, these are the things your child might be doing. And it goes, it's like, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, she should be able to get herself dressed? I don't even let her try. We're in a hustle to get out the door in the morning. I can get her dressed and we leave. So sometimes it is something that even with my background, I was like, okay, it hadn't occurred to me. So I was lucky that resource kind of found me, you know? Sometimes it is like looking up even comparing, you know , like on social media and another parent who has a child around my age says my kid was doing X and I'm like, mine's not. Is mine behind? Is theirs ahead? Right. But I've absolutely gone online. I'm like exhibit a. I've gone online to find out what's typical. What about you?

Lori Hayungs:

So definitely when my children were younger, especially because like I said, I was looking for resources based on, you know, I wasn't sure if my child was going to need a diagnosis, but I knew something. I just knew as a parent, my gut was like, something's not quite right. I can't put my finger on it. And even though I wasn't getting any support essentially from my colleagues, I was definitely trying to find what were some things that I could pull from and say to my colleagues, see, this is where she's not doing. But look, it says right here. And honestly, it wasn't until she reached the magic age, whatever that cutoff line happened to be, where then suddenly someone said, Oh, well yeah, then you might need to look into that. And so definitely I knew it. Right. And I think that then I went into identifying resources. So that second one, definitely looking for some of those local resources where I was, as well as looking ahead to resources as she grew. So thinking about, well, she's this age now, what might I want to make sure that I know and learn about for when she needs it at this age.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think about like as a parent, you know, thinking about identifying resources. I even think locally, resources, like, okay, it's Tuesday afternoon, where could we go? Oh, you know , we could go to the library, we could go you know. But figuring out some of those local kinds of things, whether it's services or , yeah, like finding information that's trustworthy. You know, there's a lot of different ways to find the resources and we're fortunate that technology helps us do that, right? I maybe could look it up in my phone book that they still deliver to my door. I still get a phone book every year. I can look at the yellow pages. It's a little bit easier for me to get out my phone and search away .

Lori Hayungs:

So that third one then is social support. And I know that I mentioned last time that I had tapped into , and you used a word later that I was like, that's the word I said, chat rooms. And actually they were forums. Back then there were parenting forums and not necessarily chat rooms, which is kind of like a board or a blog, but it was definitely used for social support. And that's oftentimes where I would find the support of someone saying, you know, Lori , you should be concerned, that isn't quite right. Because I just felt so insecure with my colleagues at that time that I was not, you know, that I must've been overthinking things. I never overthink. But anyway, they were thinking I was overthinking. So definitely I use technology for that social support.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, and I even think of, you know, there are different social media pages or groups that I'm a part of where it's okay, I have a very specific question that I maybe couldn't get via a search engine. You know, maybe I could. But you know, sometimes having those groups or having friends or people in your life who, you know, support a particular parenting choice, right? There's groups that are about this or about that so I think finding that kind of stuff for sure is that social support. And I also think it's important to remember not every parent has a big family. You know, not everyone lives in a nest of people who support them. So technology is really important for people to have access to somebody.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. Oh, perfect segue . I mean, that wasn't even in our notes, but perfect segue. What I was doing, my next research question is, or my next piece of research tidbit is, so how do parents know what they're finding is good information, you know? So I have another little piece of research that confirms that parents consider information that's gathered from universities or medical professionals to be more trustworthy t han commercial sites. So as you're looking for development or resources, support systems that actually parents, for research, confirm that they look more for and they trust more when it comes when it comes to medical or university professionals as opposed to commercial sites, which makes sense. I kind of at first was like, well, yeah, but think of all those commercial sites out there and sometimes I just shake my head and think, no, that's a commercial site t hat w as not a trustworthy site. I love when you say, yeah, but Lori, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. That's my reality. That's reality. That's absolutely reality with that. Yeah. And even I, you know, if I have questions and like yes, yes, we have questions. We know stuff, but we also have questions. You know, when I have questions, I have the places that I tend to look, the places that I trust or that I think are research-based or I know are research-based but sometimes they don't have what I'm looking for. You know, it's sometimes like I need information and so sometimes it is somewhere else that like a commercial site, you know, like a blog or even now a lot of companies that sell products will have little articles to answer parents' questions. And then the answer to their question is sometimes the product they're selling, right? Yeah . So sometimes, but when you need information, you're looking wherever you can find it.

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that's a really important thing is how do we shift through, you know, shifting from place to place and sifting and shifting and sifting and shifting going, okay, this is, this isn't, this is, this isn't. And at the same time going, this is my reality. So do you have any tips or tricks or ideas?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I do. Look at your segue . So actually, I want to highlight tips , for everybody's own reality on where they can find trustworthy information. So I actually have these written down. My first tip , which I actually think I maybe stole from you. I feel like you maybe are the one who told me this. But that when you go to search that you are searching with a .edu. So you can put that in parentheses. But you know, that's going to pull up your university websites. A lot of medical organizations are affiliated with the university, so that can pull up a lot of those, you know, so your research tidbits said people trust those things. It's just whether or not they find them or whether or not that comes up first. And so searching with that .edu is a good one to start with. Did I steal that from you?

Lori Hayungs:

I don't know. I don't, you know, maybe I did learn it in a course or something. Okay. Okay. So maybe you could have learned it in a course, too .

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Maybe. Maybe I learned it in the class. All right . And then number two, as a way to kind of help decide, right? Maybe as you're looking for stuff, desperate times, and you're looking through the site and you're like, is this something I can trust? Is this just one person's opinion and you look to see if they've cited anything? Right? So if it's just me, I a lot of times talk about Extension. They don't let me just stand up at the front of a class and make stuff up that I think sounds smart, right? It has to be based in research. But sometimes that's what happens online, right? And sometimes that's helpful. You know, you can find that social support, but when you're looking for trustworthy information, knowing where they got that information is a good way to tell whether or not it's someone's opinion or if it's based in research.

Lori Hayungs:

Right. Especially if they're willing to say who they got it from. Yes. I'm just saying, well, this was totally my idea. Or are they really willing to say I read these three things. They all confirmed that this is a good practice to do.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. Well and that's kind of what we're doing. Right? Like we were referring to there are lots of people out there who have trustworthy research and information. We're sharing it, you know, but we're citing where we're getting it. Right? My third tip is to be cautious of the sites that would benefit from the information they're telling you.

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah, yeah, cause I want to sell you something after you listen to me and think I have a really great idea. I want your money.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Yeah. So if you are going online looking for information, I mean, you know, I have kids that are a little younger, about potty training or about transitioning to preschool or you know, whatever those things, and they're talking about, well, what you really need is a product that blank, blank. I'll say this product. You don't think. You want to be cautious of that information because we know it's not unbiased. Right? And not that it can't be good information, but you don't know if it is or if it's just to get you to buy the book . Yeah , yeah, yeah. And then my fourth and final, because I could not not say this right , is that you can trust Extension. So the national extensions of some , you know, in Iowa or Iowa State University Extension, and that everything we do is based in research. We do not benefit from companies. You know, we're not advertising any particular products. Our goal is just to share trustworthy information. Right. So those are my four tidbits.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. So we've got those four. Do you want to just quick recap them?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, yeah, that sounds good. All right .

Lori Hayungs:

So number one: .edu.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yup. Search .edu. Number two is looking for sources where they cite their information. Number three, being cautious of those commercial sites that maybe want to sell you something. Yeah. And number four you can always trust extension.

Lori Hayungs:

Trust extension, right? Yes. Yeah . So that kinda hit , we're done with our research for the day. You gave us some great tips on reality which brings us to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. Yes . So let's bring back McKenzie D. Hi.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Hey guys. Yeah, it's Stop. Breathe. Talk. time. So just a quick recap on what Stop. Breathe. Talk is. We'll hear this on every podcast. It might look a little different each time. These first few times I'm asking some tough questions. This one shouldn't be too tough, but just a way to recap kind of what we talked about and challenge our podcast hosts because I like to challenge them. Today, since we talked about trustworthy resources and we talked about Iowa State Extension as a resource, although you could maybe reference a different extension service, what is your favorite or your most go to extension resource?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, dibs. So it's actually the newsletter I was referencing earlier. So we have something called the Just in Time Parenting newsletters. And they come to your email. They're totally free. They're actually a national extension. So if you're a listener that's not an Iowa, you can get them in your state. You subscribe your email and then for the first year they come once a month, and it's things like what should your six month old be doing? What are some things you might want to consider doing with them? Some relevant issues you may be facing as the parent of a six month old. And so for the first year you get it once a month and after that you get it every other month up until they're five, which is really nice because it reminds me, you know, having kids at different ages. It's like, okay, this is where my daughter's at, this is where my son is at. That is my favorite, favorite to use and my favorite to tell other people about.

Lori Hayungs:

All right , that's a good one. I can't use that one anymore. We're way past five-year-old . So I actually really legitimately just sent this information to my two older children and that is the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. App . And so they have been trying to purchase groceries on their own, come up with menus on their own, look at recipes, think about the nutritional content value of different things. Learn how to, you know, cut cucumbers. Oh yes, it's the best. Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app is my favorite extension go-to when it comes to technology and parenting. So it's easier to watch a video on how to cut cucumbers instead of having your mother tell you, right, over the phone. Moms do it right. So there we go. That was another easy question. Those were good. Those are pop flies. Come on.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We don't mean it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

No promises. That was a really easy one. So since I am a family life specialist, I thought that I would share my favorites as well, but I knew McKenzie would say Just in Time Parenting. I actually also subscribe to Just in Time Parenting. I have a nephew who was born last summer and I follow his development. I have a niece and three nephews, but I'm following his and it's been very interesting to follow that as well. My second answer was going to be Spend Smart. Eat Smart. One of my favorite resources that they have is called Produce Basics. And they have t he basics on information, u nlike different type of, usually it's Iowa based produce, but like how to cut up a cucumber like L ori said. How you store it, those sorts of things. So I think that's awesome. Otherwise our Extension Store is a great resource for a lot of things. So just going on the Extension Store website itself, which if you go to iastate.edu , you can find Extension or extension. iastate .edu , and find our little store button and you can look through our store for what resources we have available as well.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So all kinds of goodies.

Mackenzie DeJong:

You stole my answers so I just gave them the whole book. Does that work? Does that work?

Lori Hayungs:

You know, it could become one of my favorite pieces of our podcast , but next time we're actually going to talk with you about what that means. So where did we come up with this phrase of Stop. Breathe. Talk. and why do we think it's so important and what's super special about next time, Mackenzie.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We're going to be recording it live so you can join us on Facebook Live or social media and watch us fumble, maybe not fumble through it. We will be strong and we will be confident and we will be competent. We'll be all those things. Yeah, we'll be coming at you live to tell you about where Stop. Breathe. Talk. comes from, how we use it , why we're passionate about it, and all kinds of good things.

Lori Hayungs:

So thanks for joining us again. You know, we were looking at how parents use technology and where they can look for the best, most trust-worthy resources. And other than that, I don't have anything left on my list of things I want to make sure parents knew for today. I think we made it, I think we've made it like now this is week two. We are pros at this. So they'll just have to come back for the live and see how we really are on the spot.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Exactly. Feel free to join us next time. Thanks. Thanks guys.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

The Science of Parenting is a research based education program hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson , produced by Mackenzie DeJong with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson . Send questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu. And connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This program is brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.state.edu/diversity .