Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,789 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When people think that talking about a different way of doing things is condemning their way of parenting.<br><br>
I was chatting in a thread somewhere else when the topic of chicken pox came up. Someone said something along the lines of "I'll never understand why people don't just do the vaccine. It is so much easier."<br><br>
So I mentioned why we don't do it: vaccines wear off (so there has been a rise in ckn pox/shingles among teens) and some vaccines shed. Then I said I'd rather my boys have natural immunity.<br><br>
That was it. That was all I said. I wasn't emotional about it and I didn't say anything about vaccine reactions, etc. And I was quickly shut down with the "well my kids have had all vaccines under the sun and they are fine, I don't want to talk about it."<br><br>
And you can interchange vaccines with breastfeeding, cloth diapers, anything, and I get this response often. I do.not.get.it. I'm always interested in knowing why people do what they do. I was just trying to have a conversation, not argue. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
843 Posts
I think some of the attitude comes from the standpoint that if what you are doing is right, then what I am doing is wrong, and I don't want to be/can't be/won't be wrong. There's very little room in peoples minds for a philosophy that suggests every child is different and what's right for you might not be right for me, but neither one of us are wrong or right.<br><br>
Other times it may come from previous reading or discussions people have had in which they've been made to feel guilty for their parenting choices, and the guilt comes out sideways in other conversations.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,142 Posts
I've seen that happen on threads and its tough because like a PP said, somehow if you're doing something different, it sets off this I'm right because it works in my family and you are wrong. I often wonder if its because we (as humans) like to have things in very clear categories (right vs. wrong) and that multiple options just is overwhelming to some people.<br><br>
Parenting is like a great big salad bar - there's lots of choices and in the end your salad is going to look different from mine, but you know what - they are still delicious in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,221 Posts
I've found it helps to preface comments with "For MY family" or "In my case" we have chosen XXX because I worry about YYY or my experience with ZZZ.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,487 Posts
Parents, especially mothers, seem to be super sensitive and defensive about their choices in regards to raising children. I think we often feel challenged by others who do things differently, is all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
I experience it constantly and my theory is that it comes down to measuring effort in our minds.<br><br>
Certain choices require much more effort on part of the parent than other choices. For example, breastfeeding- you are signing your body up to be relied upon by a child longer than 9 months and as such you might have to make certain sacrifices such as alcohol consumption, or doing body cleanses, or not having the luxury of just having DH popping a bottle into baby's mouth at 3AM. It takes effort.<br><br>
Not vaxing- chances are that parentsd have read and read and read and read and read and researched and researched and again, spent a huge deal of effort learning about the vaccines, their production, diseases, and the consequences. That kind of a decision takes effort.<br><br>
Organic/whole foods/local eating habbits- same thing. It takes effort. It takes more effort than pushing around a grocery cart at walmart or costco.<br><br>
Same with cloth diapers, homeschooling, not doing CIO, co sleeping...all take a little extra effort and sometime require small sacrifices on behalf of the parent.<br><br>
Sometimes I think people feel judged simply by hearing mention of these types of parenting choices because it screams out at them "YOU JUST DON'T BOTHER, BUT I DO -SO I'M THE BETTER PARENT!!!!" And they become defensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,099 Posts
I get frustrated by this, too. My DH thinks it's because people feel guilty that their choices aren't as well thought-out, or because they know deep down that they're not doing the right thing, and they don't want to admit it. I think this is true some of the time. But also I think people just feel as though they're being judged when you mention you do things differently. I used to get that a lot when I was a vegetarian. I would merely mention that I don't eat meat (in context, not just announcing it) and people would go on and on about how they don't eat that MUCH, or how people are MEANT to eat meat, or whatever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
I think there are many complex reasons for what you describe op.<br><br>
The best thing about getting older for me (almost 30!) is that I don't care what other people think about me as much as I used to. It is such a wonderful feeling. (When I do feel judged I make the choice to let it go-it's a continuous journey though).<br><br>
Especially among mothers there is this need to be perfect. We are very hard on each other. And, if you think about it, the reason my choices are my choices is bc *I* think they are better. Not necessarily better for everyone but it can be taken that way, especially by someone who is not secure in their own choice. Everyone will defend their own choices bc they believed enough in them to make them in the first place.<br><br>
I also try to be careful w/my choice of words bc the last thing I want to do is make someone feel like I am judging them unfairly. I just don't think it's necessary to put others down in order to celebrate the truth in my own choices. I do the best I can though, and I believe that mostly everyone else is too. Right now in my life I want to focus on what I can learn, not just on what I can teach (it's not always easy though!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,433 Posts
I think there are so many dimensions to this and I agree with all of the explanations that pps have offered. I also think another possibility is that in fact many (most) of us feel at least a little bit (or a lot) uncertain about many (most) of the decisions we make. I think that this is a big reason why forums like those at MDC are so popular, and why we talk so much about parenting in general. We need to bounce ideas around, learn from talking to others, etc, and generally the spirit of all of our interactions is well-intentioned. However, some people by default get defensive and choose words that sound overly confident when that's not how they are feeling inside. It's a protective measure. Inside, this person may have been feeling doubt about their own decision and so she was trying to convince herself and not you by reacting the way she did.<br><br>
Off topic and besides the point of BarnMomma's post (though I got the point and totally agree) -<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BarnMomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15375759"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Certain choices require much more effort on part of the parent than other choices. For example, breastfeeding- you are signing your body up to be replied upon by a child longer than 9 months and as such you might have to make certain sacrifices such as alcohol consumption, or doing body cleanses, or not having the luxury of just having DH popping a bottle into baby's mouth at 3AM. It takes effort.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
When ever I watch my cousin's young gf line up a dozen bottles for washing, drying, assembling, measuring, mixing, shaking, heating, refrigerating, packing, and on and on, because she refused to breastfeed because in her mind "that's not what boobs are for" and "life is hard enough, I don't need the added hassle," I wonder if she regrets all the work she signed up for. I don't admire her reasons for making the choice she did but honestly it makes me look like the lazy one when all I have to do is lift my shirt and watch what I eat. Gotta laugh. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JessieBird</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15375934"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think there are so many dimensions to this and I agree with all of the explanations that pps have offered. I also think another possibility is that in fact many (most) of us feel at least a little bit (or a lot) uncertain about many (most) of the decisions we make. I think that this is a big reason why forums like those at MDC are so popular, and why we talk so much about parenting in general. We need to bounce ideas around, learn from talking to others, etc, and generally the spirit of all of our interactions is well-intentioned. However, some people by default get defensive and choose words that sound overly confident when that's not how they are feeling inside. It's a protective measure. Inside, this person may have been feeling doubt about their own decision and so she was trying to convince herself and not you by reacting the way she did.<br><br>
Off topic and besides the point of BarnMomma's post (though I got the point and totally agree) -<br><br><br><br>
When ever I watch my cousin's young gf line up a dozen bottles for washing, drying, assembling, measuring, mixing, shaking, heating, refrigerating, packing, and on and on, because she refused to breastfeed because in her mind "that's not what boobs are for" and "life is hard enough, I don't need the added hassle," I wonder if she regrets all the work she signed up for. I don't admire her reasons for making the choice she did but honestly it makes me look like the lazy one when all I have to do is lift my shirt and watch what I eat. Gotta laugh. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
This is so true. I had to pump and bottle feed my dd for the first month and washing all of the bottles was such a pain. Of course, the pumping added a whole new dimension to it. I thought, and bottle feeding is supposed to be easier? The washing and worrying about how clean they are, etc. is such a pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
826 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BarnMomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15375759"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I experience it constantly and my theory is that it comes down to measuring effort in our minds.<br><br>
Certain choices require much more effort on part of the parent than other choices. For example, breastfeeding- you are signing your body up to be relied upon by a child longer than 9 months and as such you might have to make certain sacrifices such as alcohol consumption, or doing body cleanses, or not having the luxury of just having DH popping a bottle into baby's mouth at 3AM. It takes effort.<br><br>
Not vaxing- chances are that parentsd have read and read and read and read and read and researched and researched and again, spent a huge deal of effort learning about the vaccines, their production, diseases, and the consequences. That kind of a decision takes effort.<br><br>
Organic/whole foods/local eating habbits- same thing. It takes effort. It takes more effort than pushing around a grocery cart at walmart or costco.<br><br>
Same with cloth diapers, homeschooling, not doing CIO, co sleeping...all take a little extra effort and sometime require small sacrifices on behalf of the parent.<br><br>
Sometimes I think people feel judged simply by hearing mention of these types of parenting choices because it screams out at them "YOU JUST DON'T BOTHER, BUT I DO -SO I'M THE BETTER PARENT!!!!" And they become defensive.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I feel this is a big factor too. If I like I need to word my comments carefully or what I complain about because I don't want the other person to think that I am judging them or trying to make them feel like they don't make the effort I do. Its not my intention. I do what works for us. But I think the effort issue is a big undrelying cause of defensiveness.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,142 Posts
This thread is taking an interesting turn with the idea of "effort" about choices and follow through. It brings to my mind the concept of "keeping up with the joneses" when we talk about overscheduled kids, activities, schooling choices.<br><br>
Everything takes effort for all the choices we make as parents.<br><br>
In the end - I wonder if we could difuse the anger over right vs. wrong by simplying asking - is your child happy? Are you happy? Is your partner happy? If so - then you are doing just fine as a parent and keep on doing what you are doing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,680 Posts
our society forces and reinforces competitiveness. as a result, people are frequently unable to accept that choices that differ from theirs could be "correct," which is how, it seems, they read those different choices.<br><br>
it's not just about parenting.<br>
think about:<br>
is someone's marriage actually threatened when gay people love each other and make it "official?"<br>
are people who are vegetarian/carnivores/omnivores/freegans inherently "bad" or "wrong?" ask someone who feels the opposite way.<br>
or, how about education? even here or in other natural family lifestyle communities, we get worked up about public/private/free/home schools.<br><br>
in my opinion, we are oppressed because of this divisiveness that has been mandated and enforced by media, schooling, society in general. i wish we could build a society that was different, in which we could choose whatever we liked without it being tied to being "right" or "wrong."<br>
**gets down from soapbox**
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jillmamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15374731"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've found it helps to preface comments with "For MY family" or "In my case" we have chosen XXX because I worry about YYY or my experience with ZZZ.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Definitely and I always emphasize it for my family.<br><br>
No one is the same and not everyones situation is the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
276 Posts
I personally think its is more on an internal battle as well as how something is presented. Online its harder to read tone so at times it comes off as my way is better then your way or you don't care about you kids as much as I do type thing. And the natural defense is to justify our actions when feeling attacked. If comments were left out like "because I care what I put into my child's body" and replaced with something like "because I feel its bad for my child's body" same thing but presented in a much better way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Is part of the problem not that we live in a culture which is dominated by media and the media perpetually presents everything as contention because drama sells more magazines/channels/papers?<br><br>
For example BREAST VS BOTTLE? It's not a war - no-one i know who FF's has ever made that choice for someone ELSE'S kids, and likewise it's not as if BFers are going around forcibly nursing other people's kids. But the constant contention presented makes us feel like there IS a contention, and so when someone who made a different choice pops up, we wonder if they are secretly judging us, since they went for the "versus" option to ours...?<br><br>
FWIW i am always happy to explain my personal choices (none of which really "match" any particular way - i vax on schedule, but i actively avoid AB's, i BF but had to FF DD and lived with it, i don't smack but i am really strict and use time outs, blah blah blah) but all too often (not every time, just often) "i'm interested to hear why" actually means "i'm interested to take your reasons, your parenting and your Self apart piece by piece based on whatever information you're about to share about X choice". Which puts people off sharing.<br><br>
I wish we lived in a culture where we listened to one another more. I think it's part of the problem with coming from a culture which was (and arguably IS) very patriarchal - it's a male way of thinking, when someone says "i'm so tired at night" the reaction is to try and fix it - "just give it formula then, your DH can do it!" - rather than just LISTEN to the other person. I think if we had a more balanced society some awareness would return that actually a shoulder to cry on CAN do as much good as a "solution" in some situations and that not every "problem" needs a complete rethink of lifestyle and ideals to be solved or endured.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
I get those reactions too and it makes me stabby. lol. I post a lot of stuff on my FB about alternative living, childbirth etc. I do it because MOST people value the info they see on my page. Once I got the whole, "Well my baby was induced and it was the best thing ever!"<br><br>
Im like, um..thats great. Dont care!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Maybe I'm in the minority, but when someone comes out with a statement like that, I just nod and smile. I find saying anything puts people on the defensive. They have their minds made up, and I know nothing I say will change it. It's like when I was BF'ing and said I was tired. What was the advice? "You should FF! Then DH can help!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br>
Now, if they said something like "I beat the stuffing out of my kids for their own good!" I would speak up. But someone who is chosing to vax, or bottle feed? Eh, not worth it. I did have a hairdresser once who told me she didn't BF because "her boobs were for her husband" which made me somewhat nauseated. Um, thanks for the overshare!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>r&mmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15381260"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe I'm in the minority, but when someone comes out with a statement like that, I just nod and smile. I find saying anything puts people on the defensive. They have their minds made up, and I know nothing I say will change it.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I'm the same way now. Not worth it to say anything most of the time.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I did have a hairdresser once who told me she didn't BF because "her boobs were for her husband" which made me somewhat nauseated. Um, thanks for the overshare!</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I would have overshared right back at her....the only time I have more than an itty bitty A cup is when I'm pregnant or nursing. DH appreciates the effort. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top