Think about all of the ads you’ve seen recently- notice a theme? A theme around how whatever the product is, it can give you an easy solution for something so complicated or time-consuming in your life?
This has become such a staple in our social media marketing-based society I wonder if there will ever be another trend like it. With a few catching video clips and an enticing voice-over, the product will revolutionize whatever you need. From weight loss to puppy poop-scooping to toddlers without tantrums, anything can be solved if you just try one more new thing.
This isn’t really a new idea.
Think back to all of the “But wait, there’s more. Act now, and we’ll lower your payments to just….” commercials. Social media has just taken these commercials to a new level with the widespread ability to capture and engage us on platforms we already “need” in our day. Targeted ads seem to pop up just as you think about something you need. Or when you have been scrolling through similar topics.
All of these types of marketing ads are reactive to your needs. They can create panic or provide a magical solution in ways that hit extra close to home for exhausted parents. We see an object that offers solutions to what we need, there’s free shipping, and my credit card is already saved. Boom, problem solved.
But most of whatever is being sold does not work as promised; otherwise, we would have weight loss ads anymore since everyone would be happy with their goal weight already. Kids would already be regulated, and parents wouldn’t need support changing behaviors. Families would already be harmonious from the last product purchased and wouldn’t need to keep buying anything else.
What does not sell as well is prevention.
Prevention is just not a sexy topic. People rarely seek out preventing problems as much as they find solutions to existing ones. Prevention just doesn’t have the same appeal, panic, or selling features as all of the reactive “solutions” that exist on the market.
Humans have this skewed view of “Oh, that won’t happen to me” or “Not my kids, they don’t behave that way” when we think about the future. Those of us who are privileged to have not experienced certain harsh realities have an even harder time separating “those people ” who are struggling from just how close they are to being “those people.” Maybe it’s more of an instinctual need to keep ourselves a little more optimistic about what we believe will/won’t happen. Perhaps we just have too much going on in our lives to truly focus on deeper qualities or routines ahead of time and just have to react as we go.
I won’t get on my soapbox here about how overwhelming the demands are for families in recent generations as compared to other points in history or even other areas of the world where families and communities are more highly prioritized. Still, if the pandemic did any good, I believe it was shedding light on how hard it is to be a parent these days. There is so much happening at such a lightening fast pace with fewer and fewer resources available to truly make a difference. But there are always new products with promises about how they can help.
Is there another way?
Prevention-based parenting is looking at thinking through decisions on a much deeper level than social media believes we are able to do. It lays the groundwork and foundations for the best possible outcomes as early as possible. Years of research have shown that having caring, dependable, loving, reciprocal relationships are essential for a child’s well-being and long-term development, even in extreme trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). It is accessible to EVERY parent or caregiver, regardless of socioeconomic status, previous experiences, cultural ties, or education level.
By focusing on the strengths each parent/caregiver brings to the relationship with their little one, there is always a positive, growth-based solution to help provide the best possible relationship with the child. This is the basis for preventing additional challenges in the future.
What it is not is a one-time solution. It is not a magical way of parenting that promises nothing hard will ever happen. In many cases, it is not that simple. But it is effective and what early childhood professionals and experts have cited for years.
I haven’t brought anything unique to the table yet. Everything I’ve stated so far is based on years of research, reading through hundreds of studies and books written by experts in their various fields. (Trust me, I like to nerd out and will happily share all of these resources with you!)