Breast vs bottle, nature vs C-section and vaccinations are medical-related topics that divide mothers in a modern world. But there are so many other aspects of parenting than just medicine. Unfortunately all those aspects divide parents even more every day, everywhere.
We’ve recently had a one week holiday with 3 other couples, all parents. We spent one evening talking about our parenting approaches and discovered that though we’ve known and liked each other for ages, grew up in similar environments, we believe in totally different things when it comes to children. The point of the conversation was not to point fingers, blame or list mistakes. Nobody wanted to drag anyone on their sides. It was just an exchange of views.
Basic questions were asked. How to raise your kids so that they’d respect their parents, how to treat them to gain their trust, what to do so they could see us-parents as friends/partners now and later in life. We talked about importance and levels of discipline, bedtime routines and eating habits.
We talked about how the way we were raised influences the kind of parents we become. How much of our parenting style is subconscious copying of what our mums and dads had done? How much of it is conscious? Are we able to identify our parents mistakes (or what we didn’t like) and not make them ourselves?
We have different approaches when it comes to our kids not wanting to be in a pram or in a car seat. Completely different solutions to make our kids good and healthy eaters. Completely different view on bedtime and nighttime. Should kids be our partners in everyday life from day 1. What kind of punishment is OK and when?
Well, each couple had different views but we all agreed that it all depends on so many factors: on who we are, on our children’s personalities, on our childhood, on reality we live in, on our birth and newborn experience etc.
There’s no 100% proof that one parenting model is better than the other. There is no recipe for a perfect parent and perfect child – I have no idea what that would even mean.
Judging other parents, criticizing them is simply unfair. We have no idea what we would have done in their situation, with their child. We are different, our kid is not the same as theirs, so solutions and tactics are different. Accept and respect other parents’ choices, even if it means accepting CIO, even if it means accepting co-sleeping. Rather than judge we should be ready to hear each other out, to support and help each other feel comfortable and sure of their choice. Confident parents feel better about themselves and are happier.
Let other parents be themselves, let them follow their path. Modern society talks so much about racism, homophobia and other forms of hate and intolerance but forget about it when it comes to everyday life and less controversial groups in our society.