This last week I went to a baby shower for a friend who’s expecting her very first baby. As part of the gift-giving, people were asked to offer parenting advice, or to mention something their parents did that they appreciated. Plus several people gave her parenting how-to and reference books.

At the end of the shower I told her this: she should feel free to ignore all of us. Because there isn’t any one right way to parent, and because no one else has ever parented her particular child. And because having confidence in your own parenting is more important than checking off a list of “best parenting techniques.”

Yes, I think that some choices are more likely than others to lead to healthy children and families. And yes, I sometimes turn to books or websites or experts for ideas on how to deal with specific parenting issues.

But individual personalities and family dynamics mean that the best solutions for my family might flop in someone else’s. We’re not all the same. My parenting philosophy might not match up with yours, and that’s okay, as long as I don’t expect you to parent my kids, which I don’t.

So now I’m wondering: what wisdom do you offer new parents? Or maybe: what do you think no one should EVER say to new parents?