I never realized how polarizing parenting can make people. I am a very tolerant person when it comes to politics and religion, so I never would have thought it would be how people choose to parent that would bring out my intolerance.
In the beginning, I just felt like I was doing what worked for me and everyone else could do what ever they felt worked for them. But as time went on and I continued to become more and more educated about attachment parenting and gentle discipline, the more and more it became harder to hear about the choices other people were making with their children.
Now I find it is better to just avoid talking about parenting styles at all costs with my friends. But recently, a friend of mine insisted on sharing this great parenting tip with me. I was adamant that we shouldn’t talked about this, but she really felt this was amazing advice that her pediatrician had given her and that everyone needed to know.
She then proceeded to tell me about how she had brought her baby into bed with her while he was so everyone could get some sleep. I was relieved when I thought this meant she had realized how great co-sleeping could be for the whole family. But that quickly faded as she explained to me that now the baby only wanted to sleep in their bed and how the pediatrician had explained to her that she needed to break this habit immediately by leaving her baby to cry at night.
I instantly felt sick as the images of my friend’s sweet little baby boy screaming alone in the dark flooded my mind. It was made even worse when she told me how he had cried for an hour in a half straight one night!
I couldn’t believe what she was saying! This was the great advice she needed to tell me?! This was exactly why I begged her not to talk about this! My perception of who she is has forever been altered by the cold reality that she left her baby alone to cry and was proud of it.
This actually happened to a friend of mine, not me. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all day. My friend was so upset that she had lost a friendship over this, but she couldn’t get passed the reality of her friend’s choices.
I know I have many friends that do things I don’t agree with, and for the most part, that’s fine with me. I recognize that it is often just ignorance that allows them to make these parenting choices and that they love their kids and want the best for them as much as I do for mine. So I share bits of information when I can and try to set a good example in hopes that maybe something will rub off on them.
But please, don’t talk to me about parenting! I don’t want to hear about how you let your baby cry until they gave up, spanked your toddler for playing in the dog water again, or sent your kid to bed without dinner because they said they hated meatloaf and pushed their plate across the table! Please, keep your stories to your self. Because there is a good chance I will loose all respect for you if I hear what you have to say.
I know this may seem hypocritical of me since I sometimes might say how great breastfeeding is, or how much I love co-sleeping. But I don’t care if you think I’m some crazy, overly sensitive, attachment parent. My advice isn’t encouraging anyone to emotionally damage and neglect their child. I’m not telling people that violence and fear are good tools to correct unwanted behavior. So if you don’t care that I might think you are an uneducated, controlling bully, then keeping telling me your stories proudly. But don’t expect me to respect you in the morning.
Parenting Redefined - Letters from Baby: Please don't let me cry
Parenting Redefined - Manipulation or Communication
Parenting Redefined - The real pain of spanking
The Natural Child Project
PhD in Parenting