Originally Posted by Zach'smom
Most people I know are a cross between "AP" and "mainstream" and are trying to make the best parenting choices they can.
This is something I've noticed since I first learned about the whole "AP vs non-AP" debate, back when I was still single. IRL, the families I've met with young children are all over the map. You can't really make any blanket predictions about how they're going to do things. For instance, I know dedicated "family bedders" who use formula by choice, and "child-led weaners" who occasionally spank. (Not to mention those quasi-NFL folks who feed their children an organic whole-foods diet, and give them natural wooden toys to inspire creative play, but also let them watch quite a bit of TV. Hmm, wait, that would be us.
Whether or not I'd agree with these families' decisions, they clearly have their own reasons for doing what they do. They don't seem to be ignorant of the alternatives, or stuck in a "mainstream mindset." In fact, many of them did certain things one way with their first child, then switched with the second or third.
Another problem with this supposed dichotomy is that some of the "AP" and "GD" practices are becoming "mainstream," in the sense that they're being promoted by popular "experts" and various professional organizations. For example, based on what I've seen from the AAP, parenting web sites and magazines, and the majority of bestselling books -- and from what I've observed in my own community (admittedly, in a fairly "liberal/progressive" state) :
- Spanking is not mainstream. (This applies 100x for the Pearls, et al.)
- Formula feeding is not mainstream.
- Scheduled feeding is not mainstream.
- Giving solids before 6 months is not mainstream.
- CIO in the first few months is not mainstream.
- Putting baby to sleep in a separate room from the earliest days is not mainstream.
When we see a parent who's doing some things we strongly disagree with, instead of labeling that person as "mainstream," it might be more helpful to try to understand why
they've chosen not to follow the advice (which they've most likely already heard, from one source or another) to follow that particular AP/GD/NFL practice. Even if we think their behavior is wrong, or even harmful, we can respect their intentions to do right by their children. In fact, I tend to think we must
do so. If we don't
... if we just figure they're "lazy," and can't be bothered... then what hope is there at all?