Taking Parenting Personally

How do you parent?  I am assuming that your parenting choices are the result of deeply held values, what works best for your child, and probably how you were raised.  You might belong to a community or have friends that raises their children in a similar manner or an online support group.  You might have read some books and have some deep reasoning for how and why you parent the way you do. How do you feel about the Furber Method or Attachment parenting? Very different styles here. Do you spank? Do you think spanking is abhorrent?

Now, what happens when you meet and talk to someone that parent’s differently than you?  How do you react to them telling you that the way they parent is the exact opposite of the way you parent?  

My brother and I are pretty different in the way we parent our children.  Jeremy is very into routines and we are not. A few months ago we were have this conversation about parenting and I noticed that I was getting offended at the way he parents.  After further reflection it was because it was as if the way he parents was judgement on the way I parent.  Now, you could say that this is just sibling rivalry, but we are mature enough to process the conversations that we have. So I asked him how he was feeling about our conversation. It turns out he was also taking it very personally.

I have also noticed that when I talk to most people about parenting, there seems to be some tension.  It is as if the way I parent is a judgment on their parenting choices. Maybe it is a judgment?  I mean after all I have chosen to raise my children in a certain way because I think that is how to facilitate making thoughtful and mature adults.  But then, most of our choices could be seen as judgments against other peoples choices. This really is no way to live.

So I want to propose some rules on how to talk with others about parenting.

1. Listen.
2. Ask questions.
3. Don’t judge.
4. Only talk about your own parenting choices.  Don’t talk about others “poor” choices. That is probably a good rule of life too. It’s not nice to bash others.
5. Don’t take is personally when someones parenting choices contradict yours.
6. Be nice and respectful.
7. Be aware of how you are feeling when you are talking about parenting.

It seems that these are just good rules of conversation in general.

How has your experience been talking to others about parenting?

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