Most crystal balls haven't kept pace with the pace at which the world is changing, so you have to be feeling brave to try your hand at predictions of any kind these days. I guess that means I'm starting out 2010 in gutsy mode. Here are five parenting predictions, which span the world of parenting and pop culture.
1. Family dinner conversations will become livelier, thanks to Twitter and Facebook.
With family members joining social networking sites where they hone and share their opinions online, dinner conversations can't help but become a little more lively and opinionated. Fortunately, research has shown that discussions around the family dinner table help to make kids smarter.
2. Parents will gravitate to e-books and e-readers as their budgets allow and as parenting e-books become more interactive.
As parenting e-books become more interactive, they'll have more to offer a generation of parents who are used to interacting with text as opposed to digesting it word for word.
3. Even more reality TV shows will focus on families.
Jon and Kate Plus 8 may have faded to black, but Octomom Nadya Suleman will soon be bringing her 14 kids to air, along with Canadian stunt family, the Dunns. This kind of begs the question: what reality TV show format for a family with kids remains to be tapped? Perhaps someone should pitch NASCAR Family, A Baby and a Bakery, or This Family Can Sing. Or maybe not.
4. Parents surfing the web will be subjected to increasing
SEO-world vs. real-world parenting disconnect.
The battle for ad dollars and eyeballs can lead to cheesy headlines and bizarro-world stories, even on parenting websites. The net result? It will become increasingly difficult to find a simple answer to a garden-variety parenting question – unless, of course, all the baby sleep questions are asked by readers named Tiger or Britney.
5. The journalism robots will fail miserably as they attempt to play parenting
They're already out there, apparently: -- the journalism robots, that is: harvesting text so that articles can be generated out of loosely related facts without hands-on help from any humans. We can only hope that the journalism robots have legal robot buddies willing to help them out if the parenting advice, as mashed together, happens to short on common sense or missing a safety caveat or two.
Give yourself a parenting advice timeout. Being bombarded with advice about every aspect of parenting 24/7 can leave us feeling like we'll never learn everything we need to know to do even a half-way decent job as parents. Unplugging gives us time to consider how much we already know and to reach our own conclusions about parenting, without being distracted by all the expert voices competing for attention in our heads.