Parenting Is Difficult, and Parents Often Find Themselves in Need of Help. Parents Are Very Likely to Seek Advice from “expert”

Abstract

PARENTING IS DIFFICULT, AND PARENTS OFTEN FIND THEMSELVES IN NEED OF HELP. PARENTS ARE VERY LIKELY TO SEEK ADVICE FROM “EXPERT” SOURCES, including books.1 One issue about which parents seek expert advice is sleep. However, the content of that advice is the subject of great controversy. Content analysis of parenting advice books on other topics has been useful to help to identify trends in advice to parents, which is in turn used to detect biases in the field of parent education, to identify the degree to which parenting advice coincides with the evidence on the issue, and to recognize changing cultural standards.2-4 Analysis of sleep advice books for parents may be useful for similar reasons. Those who work directly with parents need to understand what type of advice parents seek and are exposed to through popular media such as self-help books in order to communicate meaningfully with parents about sleep, or even to recommend reading to answer parent questions. Developmental and sleep researchers may use information about the content of these advice books to identify the controversies that are amenable to scientific testing.

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