The trouble with writing parenting articles

The thing about writing serious parenting posts is that nobody really wants to read them. You might happen to catch someone just there at the point where they’re either pregnant and reading everything they can get their hands on, or going through exactly that problem and wanting to learn about it. But mostly people just want to read things that support what they’re already doing. Nobody wants to read an article slapping them on the wrist about the way they’re parenting badly. They’ll just click away. They want to be validated. They want to be told that the kid is like this because they’re a kid, that’s all. And that they’re doing the right thing. And possibly that they should trust their instincts, because that’s the same as saying “You were right all along.”

I know this is true because it’s how I approach articles. I read them if they appear, by the headline, to be confirming what I already believe. If they fall into the category of “other”, I might skim them in order to see if I can ridicule them, but I’m more likely to just ignore. I don’t want you to tell me all the things I’m doing wrong. I probably know about them already anyway, and I don’t surf the internet because I’m not feeling guilty enough already.

In fact, the longer I go on reading parenting articles the more likely I am not to bother reading any new ones at all, because I know what they’re going to say. Even if I write them myself (my favourite kind, of course, because I agree with every word), it’s all getting pretty boring and samey at this stage of the game. So unless you have genuinely come up with a new angle that I haven’t thought of yet – and can convey that to me before I decide not to bother reading your piece – I’m probably not going to bother.

If you’re funny, mind you, I might stick around. If you have nice pictures, you might reel me in. If you make pop culture references that I understand but are just niche enough for me to know not everyone will, you will make me feel smart, and I will listen more closely to what you have to say, because you think I’m smart.

So I’m unlikely to change anyone’s mind with anything I write. My bubble of Internet is one big circle of self-validating parents, high-fiving each other for our good choices and making in-jokes about Republicans/Gina Ford/people who don’t watch Doctor Who.

Converting others, then, is a lost cause. We may as well all just flex our tolerance muscles and stick to entertaining each other as best we can.

2 thoughts on “The trouble with writing parenting articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *