Ian Midgley: Google can't help when your eldest's throttling her sister
Type "good parenting" into Google and it will provide you with a whopping 200,000,000 search results.
That's 200 million, just in case you were trying to count the noughts.
That's 200 million pages offering advice, tips, pointers, opinions, information and guidance about how to bring up your bundles of joy – from the moment the stork drops them off to the day they walk out on their way to university.
That's a mind-boggling array of conflicting theories and philosophies about how best to cultivate your youngster into a well-rounded human being.
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From Victorian "spare the rod and spoil the child" notions to touchy-feely "let's hug it out" approaches, for every single certified, cast-iron approach to parenting, there is another complete opposite and contrasting viewpoint.
Take the top ten Google results as a taster.
"The Top Parenting Ten Commandments" bellows one, with a scary amount of Old Testament fire and brimstone.
"Five Core Steps To Good Parenting" says another, sounding like a local authority non-discriminatory, multi- denominational workshop for albino vegetarians.
New parents could spend all day surfing the web for hints and tips and they would still be none the wiser.
In fact, their heads would be so full of psycho-babble that they would probably be even more confused than they were before.
The simple truth is, beyond the obvious common sense of loving your kids and keeping them well clothed, fed and watered, there is no best way of raising children.
There is no book, self-help guide or website that has all the answers.
It's a case of learning on the job, making it up as you go along, making the mistakes and pledging not to repeat them.
I know this from experience.
Recently, on a horrid, cold winter's day, when the kids were trapped inside all day, going more stir crazy than a Romanian circus bear in a shopping trolley, I wandered into the front room to find my eldest, six-year-old Poppy, sitting atop four-year-old Tilly, doing what I can only describe as throttling her little sister.
Admittedly, Tilly had been plaguing her big sister all morning, doing the "I'm going to copy everything you say and do game", still, trying to strangle her in revenge was a tad over-the top.
Now, there is no book, website or dubiously qualified American pretend web doctor in the world who can tell you what to do in that situation.
You just have to act instinctively. Do what feels right. Should I smack her? Try to reason with her? Teach her wrong from right. Or should I just close the door and let them get on with it? I'll let you guess which option I chose – but it's fair to say I didn't have to Google it to make my mind up.