I have to keep reminding myself that parenting is not a test of technique. Children are human beings with wills and agency, not instruments to be manipulated to produce desired outputs if only their parents know the right inputs.
Technical advice to parents of infants, toddlers, tweens, and teens creates the impression that there is a right way to get them to sleep, to control tantrums, to coerce them into liking broccoli, to help them master homework, to manage their relationship with a phone, to coach them in sports, to get them into their dream college. There is a corollary impression too. If they don’t sleep well, eat broccoli, or excel at sports; if they can’t control their use of Instagram; if they get wait-listed–then you did something wrong.
So much is out of parents’ control. It’s what makes parenting perhaps the most interesting, fulfilling, and devastating of all human experiences.