Questioning of parenting choices
Pregnancy and the subsequent parenting should be a beautiful time in the life of the happy couple (and it is mostly!). However, you may find that other new parents in parenting groups have the audacity to question certain parenting choices you may have made.
A few of these rather fiery topics which will probably get set the teeth of new parents on edge are:
1: Expressing your child’s age in months rather than years
If someone gets upset that you are expressing your child’s age in months rather than years, my advice would be to just shrug it off!! After all, for your baby’s first year it is natural when someone asks you how old that gorgeous little baby is, you will have to answer in months! I mean, your baby has not even lived through his/her first year yet. It would be rather odd if you answered, “oh, he/she is a quarter of a year plus 2 weeks old”!!!!) Even baby clothes have the age range on their labels in months up until about the 2 year age group. As for how pregnant you are – medical personnel tend to use “ weeks” to tell how far along you are and you probably will too. So, if someone is miffed by how you express your child’s age or how far along you are in your pregnancy, it’s their problem, not yours!!!
2. The winner takes it all
In the past, people who worked hard and came in first were the winner and they were rewarded in some form. Now I ask you with tears in my eyes, why is this wrong? However, there now seems to be a school of thought that kids who don’t come in first (and don’t get a reward) will knock their self-esteem for a loop. I am of the old school and believe that there is nothing unhealthy about competition. If you want to win a prize in a competition, you have to know the answer surely. If a kid has something to strive for it can be an inspiration for that child to work harder towards a goal. Also, the child who does not win gets the opportunity to realise their own strengths and correct their weak points. Competition can encourage a child to push past their own limitations and better themselves. I do think that parents must be extremely careful though, in how much they push their child to win. If he wins, that’s great. If not, maybe he will do better next time – but the desire to win must come from HIM, not you.
3. Co-sleep or not?
A really much heatedly debated topic among parents is something as simple as the sleeping arrangements you have chosen to implement with your baby. It is really amazing how many others always seem to know the “ best” way of getting baby to sleep or the pitfalls of co-sleeping with baby or even the time you choose to put baby down for the night as he/she gets older!
I would humbly suggest that you will probably know what is best for YOU and YOUR baby. So, once you have made a decision about what you want to do, then stick to it and try not to care what other people think! If it works for you and your baby, it’s good.
4. The dreaded child harness!
For years this has been controversial. Some parents (and non-parents) when seeing a child in the harness with mom or dad holding the leash feel it is likening the child to a pet and feel sorry for the kid being subjected to this inhumane treatment (in their opinion). What they don’t realise is that if a parent has chosen this method, it is because they have a good reason for doing so. If only we could all just respect that everyone is different! What works for some might not be your choice – and that is your prerogative!
5. iPad, cell phone & other electronic gizmos?
Oh my! This is really a hotly debated topic. On seeing a very young child (2-3 years old) glued to an iPad or cell phone some parents and others would probably jump to the conclusion that you are a lazy parent, occupying your child through technology and not playing with him/her one–on-one.
Recently, my husband and I were at a restaurant and seated at the table next to us was a father with a teenage daughter and son. We speculated that he had taken his children out because either his wife was away on business, or sadly they were divorced and this was his day with the kids. But the whole time in the restaurant both children were texting on their phones and not engaging in any conversation with dad. How sad, I thought. Whatever the reason, this father had brought his children out to eat and there they were, not communicating. We live in a technology-driven era and it is good for kids to be able to relax and do something mindless for a bit. Once again, it boils down to respecting the decision of the other parents to let their child use electronic gadgets as and when they feel it is appropriate. If that dad was content to be in the restaurant with his kids texting, who was I to criticize him?
So there you have it – just 5 fiery topics that can irritate a parent…there are many, many more, believe me! Being a new parent, especially with the first little one, is not an easy task. You will probably feel a bit out of your depth at times and the last thing you need is to argue with another new parent on a parenting choice you have made. In an ideal world, we would all just respect the decisions each of us take and accept the differences that exist amidst us. But we do not live in an ideal world.
All I can say is try to take the criticisms in your stride. Stick to your guns if a choice you have made works for you and your child. It may not work for others but it works for YOU!!!!
Yours in photography,