I recently had the experience of responding to a thread on a local parenting site. A mom posted a question and asked others for their opinion and experiences to help her solve her parenting dilemma. I responded to the question with my own thoughts and offered suggestions. A few other parents responded to me and questioned my opinion/theory, calling it “nonsense.”
I am a professional in the field of child development AND a parent. While this is not new, I am still struck by how differing parenting styles collide. In an age of social media, where you can state your opinion on most any topic, people sometimes clash. And it stings when you are involved (at least in my world.)
I was really bothered by this exchange and I could not figure out why. I mean, it is not like these mothers are in my immediate social circles. They are certainly not my friends. And I am fully aware that no one needs to share my opinions, let alone agree with them. Then the light bulb came on-public shaming on Facebook is just like bullying on the playground-it’s not right.
Parents come in many shapes and sizes. There are the free-range parents, the bed-sharers, the type A/strict rule folks, the tiger Moms, and the list goes on. But can’t we all just get along? Do we have to attack another’s point of view just because we don’t agree? I think we should all try a little harder to be mindful of others, don’t you agree? Especially because we are modeling for our children.
Biting your tongue and agreeing to disagree quietly are an art form that is getting a little lost. Just because you have strong feeling about sleep training doesn’t mean you have to “lecture” someone who chose to do it. Or feel the need to defend your own choices in the process. When social media is involved, the social nuances get lost. You don’t get the tone of voice or facial expression as part of the conversation. Reactions can be harsh.
Parenting is just like starting a new job. You go in with so much energy and enthusiasm. You enter the profession with certain beliefs based on current reading, life experience, or advice from friends or family. You learn things immediately. The process of gaining new knowledge, makes you more confident and less defensive. And with even more time, you realize that there many ways to do things, not just your own. Your community provides a framework for learning and expanding your viewpoint. You gain wisdom.
I try to be mindful of others in all aspects of my life. I want to be respectful of someone else’s culture and beliefs. I bite my tongue a lot for the greater good. So instead of attacking a conflicting viewpoint, think first. Walking in someone else’s shoes is hard. Everyone has a story. And we all need to co-exist in this world regardless of our beliefs. This creates a more positive learning environment for all, especially our children.
So even if you think my parenting theories stink-THINK!