iStock.com/Dean Mitchell
iStock.com/Dean Mitchell

Do you ever wonder if you’re facing the same parenting challenges as your peers? If so, you’re not alone. Many parents seek help and advice from their friends with children who are at similar stages in life. “I think young parents are looking for other people who are in the same situations—working or not, buying a home or renting, similar financial constraints, etc.,” says Jodi Jarvis, an early childhood family educator at Temple Isaiah in Lexington. “They are not looking so much for answers to questions, but for the mutual support and friendship of sharing issues and concerns. They are smart, savvy and resourceful. They can Google and research specifics but want friends to just bounce ideas off of, share frustrations and triumphs and build community.”

These friends can be great resources as they face the same issues and lend their techniques, perspectives and supportive ears. For many parents, this mutual support system and advice sharing is critical. We asked two parents of young children where they seek advice, and why it matters.

Jamie Bornstein is a senior development officer at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. He lives in Sharon with his wife, Carrie, who is the assistant director of Mayyim Hayyim in Newton. Jamie and Carrie have two children—Eliana is 3 and is entering the nursery program at Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, and Dov is 9 months and attends a family day care.

What is your biggest fear as a parent?

created at: 2010-07-27Beyond a terrible tragedy, which all parents fear, I worry about the long-term consequences of my parenting style. Will my kids hate me because I’m too strict? Will they walk all over me because I’m a pushover? Will things I said or did in moments of frustration and stress scar them for life?

Who do you go to for advice?

My wife is always my first stop for advice. We spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to deal with different parenting issues. During a particularly difficult period of 2-year-old obstinacy and defiance, we asked our friends for parenting book recommendations. Someone suggested “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. We read the book, loved it, and have had wonderful results using its parenting strategies.

Why is it important for you to seek advice from your friends with children?

With a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old, most parenting issues we confront are still relatively new to us. Speaking to friends helps us to understand if we are confronting something that many other families confront, or if it’s something more abnormal that requires additional attention.

What is the best piece of parental advice you’ve been given?

“Parenting with Love and Logic” talks about logical consequences. It teaches you that saying things like, “Put your toys away now or you’re grounded for a year!” is both not logical (the punishment doesn’t fit the crime) and not realistically enforceable (you won’t actually ground them for that long). Kids pick up on this and it therefore doesn’t motivate a change in their behavior. Learning to use logical and enforceable disciplinary tactics was incredibly helpful advice because my daughter knows that I can, and will, follow through (“If you can’t put your toys away, I will take them away for the next two days.”). The second best parenting advice was when someone told us, “Don’t worry—you’re not going to remember any of this!”

After living in New York City and San Francisco for several years, Kate Blumenreich and her husband, Ken, moved back to the Boston area four years ago before the birth of their first daughter. Now they have two girls, ages 3 and 14 months, and live in Belmont, 10 minutes away from a set of grandparents. Kate evaluates federal programs in education and workforce issues as a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

What is your biggest fear as a parent?

created at: 2010-07-27Beyond obvious fears about the health and safety of my daughters, I just want our girls to grow up to be confident and happy. I try to be sensible and not get too distracted by issues that are over-hyped by the media or on the Internet, but that can be difficult!

Who do you go to for advice?

That depends on the issue. I seek advice from a number of sources: my sister and sister-in-law, my mom, fellow parents and our pediatrician. On occasion, I also hit the library to refer to parenting books, but I usually find I’m too exhausted to read more than a few chapters!

Why is it important for you to seek advice from your friends with children?

My friends with children are one of the best sources of advice and reassurance. I joined a moms’ group when my first daughter was three weeks old that was so helpful to me. It was important for me to realize that I wasn’t the only one who had questions and uncertainties. I am still in touch with some of the moms and have new “mom friends” as well. Whenever I share my challenges with them, I always find they are dealing with similar issues, which helps me to put things in perspective.

What is the best piece of parental advice you’ve been given?

The suggestion to “wait it out, it’s just a phase” was perhaps the best piece of parental advice—or the best parental mantra—I have been given. I find that this has been helpful in terms of my daughters taking or not taking naps, refusing certain foods (veggies!) and exhibiting different types of behaviors. Understanding that kids are always changing has helped me have a greater appreciation for these early years.

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.