Do parenting methods change? Are there real improvements from each fad, or should we stick to proven techniques?
Parenting methodologies go through fads within a year or two--co-sleeping vs independent sleeping, more secure babies with pacifiers vs straight teeth without pacifiers, stroller vs sling vs backpack, the list goes on endlessly.To turn a howling bundle of poopy diapers into a full member of the human family takes a million decisions, balancing a thousand priorities, no two families do it the same, and only a vanishing few do it the same with one child as with the next. That balancing act is between enough different aspects of personality and maturation that the debates one sees go from one seeming consensus to the next fast enough to make your head spin.Parenting changes every day.Yesterday you learned a new way to do some task that you need to keep your kid healthy and happy. Or because parenting is inherently hackish, you'll read a list of life-hacks that were invented two days ago, and learn to apply one or more of them to your individual parenting style. Odds are that next week sometime one of your friends will see your little trick and adopt it, leading to viral knowledge transfer of parenting knowledge.Today you'll coin some new word to help your child pronounce something more easily, and it will become a family in-joke for decades to come.Tomorrow your kid will find a new way to damage or destroy something in your house. By the way, your kid stands a fair chance of BEING that something. You will freak out and try dozens of things to train them out of it, until possibly you think up a trick to keep it from happening, or more likely your kid grows out of it.And so it goes...If you mean "will somebody someday invent a thing that will make parenting a million times easier, and improve the child-rearing process?" The answer is yes, that happens annually. It will work for 5% of the population, and it will improve their life for a month until their kids grow out of whatever problem the new thing solved. Everyone everywhere will buy one, use it for maybe 3 months, and then it will get passed on to the parents of slightly younger kids. About one in 50 of these things actually work for 5% of the NEXT generation of kids as well, and will be the exception to the law of parenting fads. As to big long-term changes, those happen over the course of generations. It takes about 20 - 25 years to make a major change in how we parent. But even those things go in waves, eg, co-sleeping (parents keeping their infant in bed with them) was supposed to be bad for the children's development of independence in the 1950's, but by the 1970's it was supposed to make them grow into adults with more self-confidence, but by the 1990's one was taught not to co-sleep for fear of rolling over the child. THESE oscillations actually are (slowly) finding ways to solve the disadvantages of one parenting method or other, but the net improvement happens too slowly to do any good for you prospective parents in the audience.