4.4. Normal? Is it though?

The Presenter

4.4. Normal? Is it though?

This is a tough thing to know, to consider, to even think about. People don’t talk about the mundane parts of their life. You either get the highlights (oh great, that is not how me being dad feels like, what the hell is wrong with me?!?) or the disasters (Oh crap… is that normal? Is that on it’s way? How the hell do I avoid that?!). Be very, very, aware that TV, social media, and all the “in my day” statements are not necessarily truth.

Remember when I mentioned Confirmation Bias? In a nutshell, confirmation bias is when my brain sees what it expects to see. Unfortunately, it has 2 effects which aren’t great. Firstly, it reinforces what you were expecting, which means you will expect to see it next time. Secondly, it naturally reduces or outright ignores the contrary evidence.

What this means (in real terms) is that when you feel like you are kinda sucking at this whole ‘dad’ thing, your brain will automatically notice all the sucky things you are doing (or the things around you that are just plain out of your control that are making you feel like you are sucking a bit), and it will automatically make you ignore the stuff you are actually doing well.

I’ll let that sink in for a few seconds.

2 punch KO. 1: yep, you don’t got this. 2: That? No ignore that, it doesn’t count.

What it does it completely skew your ability to even decide what is normal or not. Your brain is looking for all the stuff people say/said (see “statements are not necessarily truth” above) and SEEING IT! Not because it is truth, but because that’s what your brain is looking for.

Stuff that is outside that? Nah, that doesn’t count, it’s probably a fluke, an anomaly.

Coming back to ‘normal’ as a term… Baby sleeps the whole night at 6 months? Probably normal. Baby is not sleeping the whole night at 12 months? Probably normal.

Baby commenting on socio-political challenges such as global warming and the political situation in Europe at 18 months? Probably norm… wait. What?!? No. That is not normal. Not normal at all!

My point (yes, there is one), is that normal is a word I am not keen on. Normal means within (generally) 95% of a population (in this case the population would be of children in a similar age bracket). 95%. That is one big field to be fitting normal into. However, when people say normal, what they mean is “like my experience”. So, if your experience doesn’t fit, you aren’t normal.

Which is complete hogswash.

Scoot back to communication, and you’ll see that Drs, nurses, specialists… they are the people you want to listen to. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the “normal” bollocks. If you have worries, talk to the right people, not the loud people.