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I have made so far three questions in Parenting.SE, and I believe I got very good advice in the answers. In the other SE groups I participate accepting an answer is a straightforward process as the answers to a well formulated question are easy to test or verify.

However in (some) parenting situations advice is not easy to test. (Particularly it is not easy to test independently several approaches and observe results in a short time.)

I don't like either having the question open for too long and the answers unaccepted, so: What should be good criteria to accept good advice as accepted answer?

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Generally here we seem to look at a couple of things. How you weigh them when voting and/or accepting is up to you.

  • Is the answer backed by either personal experience on the part of the author (as opposed to just a guess) or studies and testing or both?
  • Does the answer seem within the bounds of what is generally considered "good" or "thoughful" parenting? i.e. does it seem like a reasonable answer - even if it isn't the "normal" answer?

and mostly:

  • Did it work for you, or at least does it look like something you can try and expect good to moderate results with?

Getting an accepted answer here can take awhile and you really don't have to accept any answer if none of them worked for you - so don't feel badly about taking your time.

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  • 2
    I think most askers do accept an answer reasonably quickly, let's say 1-2 weeks. But it's perfectly acceptable to not accept an answer - maybe none of the answers were really "right" for you. The community provides the votes, but what's "right" for you can be something else. That's okay. Parenting is subjective. Dec 9 '13 at 12:12
  • I'm sometimes slow to accept, simply because I'm trying different things with my son, and it takes awhile to actually see the results. Many times I wind up trying a mix of advice from multiple answers (which, to me, is an indication of how useful the content on this site tends to be!). This can make picking a single answer to accept difficult, but in a good way.
    – user420
    Dec 12 '13 at 18:07
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The accept can always be changed. I think I would accept to indicate "This is what I am going to try" rather than "doing this is what worked for me." You can even add a comment to that effect when accepting the answer. Who knows, someone else might @ you a year later and asked how it worked :-)

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The problem with many answers on this site is that they can not be verified until after a very long time. Marking the question after a few years would be pointless.

I would say that for such questions marking an answer as accepted is a sign, that we are going to do what the answer says.

Remember, that you can change your decision later on. After half a year you can add your own answer and mark it as accepted. Moreover, if your real answer differs from the marked one, you should do it!

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