How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles...

~ Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM ~

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.

As a mummy blogger, I do receive questions from other mummies with regards to breastfeeding, baby care, vaccination, parenting style and so on. I try my best to share my experience with these mummies and also explained the logic why we adopted such methods and so on. Now as a parent, we will surely meet with other parents who will not agree with our parenting style.

What this post does is how we can have respectful interactions with other parents though we might not agree with their parenting methods or style. Below are some of the things we do to be respectful to others despite disagreeing with others parenting styles:

* Focus on the things we agreed on

Image credit: Google search

Rather than trying to defend or criticize further, we should focus on the things we agreed on. For example, when Ben started teething, my MIL tried to introduce the pacifier to him so that he can bite on it to relieve his teething. I do not agree with the use of a pacifier but rather than keep trying to explain and defend my points and reasons (I did initially!), I realised its just time wasting because other parents (especially old folks) are not easily swayed with our reasoning.

Why? They have been a parent long before you became one and most likely they have more number of children than you - hence more points for them to tell you to do what they say since they are older and they have more children than you. So, just agree to the point of 'Yes, Ben is teething, good for you to notice that too and I do agree we have to get him something to bite on to relieve his teething!' and we got him a teething toy instead of a pacifier.

And we're experiencing the same thing now, all over again with Alyson started teething recently, so I dug out the teething toy again and gave it to her the moment my MIL started mentioning about getting her to use a pacifier. War deflected...

* Learn from others

Image credit: Google search

Though I may not agree with some of the advice given by others (such as my caring MIL), I do hope they meant well and not trying to put me down and make themselves feel superior. And as much as we would want to tell them to mind their own business, do try to see from their point of view and see whether there are any truths or logics in what they say.

Other than the above, there are many other methods which I read from the Internet which I would like to try on such as:

* Do not criticize or change the other parent's discipline in front of the child, nor undermine that discipline when the other parent isn't around.

* It is okay to acknowledge a difference of opinion, call a time-out, go off to discuss it, and come back with a joint solution.

So what about you?

How do you remain respectful despite disagreeing with others on a parenting style?

Comments (13) -

Shannon at The Artful Mama

I have to laugh about your MIL insisting on using the pacifier for a teether.  My mom has similar differing views then me and I've had to learn to bite my tongue and redirect like you did with the teether.  I definitely agree that we cannot change the way some people think/parent but I do see that our actions can sometimes change people's minds without being excessive in how we approach challenging ideas.  Thanks for writing this - it gave me some interesting things to think about.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama

I love that idea of focusing on the points of agreement. Great way to deflect arguments and make everybody feel good about the outcome!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

Deflecting is a great tactic. You acknowledged your MIL's point and proceeded with the choice you made without argument. Good for you!


this is actually my problem, most of the time, I take other's comments/suggestions (specially if it is coming from my ILs) too seriously. Thanks for this helpful post, Jenny. Now I know how to handle it better!


That last little bit surprised me -- I hadn't even thought of respectful interaction with other parents including my husband.  But definitely I need to work on addressing disagreements with him, too, as respectfully as possible.  That one's the hardest, because you actually *have* to come to an agreement!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Shannon!
I agree with what you say! We can't change the way ppl think but our actions can sometimes affect ppl's mind!

Hey Lauren & Dionna!
I learned that after many many many lessons of disagreeing with my MIL! Haha!

Hey Anne!
Glad you find this post helpful!

Hi Sheila!
Thanks for your comment!

Sarah @ Parenting God's Children

GREAT suggestions! Its so easy to focus on the disagreement rather than an agreement! (although, arguing with a MIL is easy sometimes! Smile ) Thanks for sharing!


Most who offer advice do so with only concern in their hearts and simply want to share their experiences with the hopes that it may serve you as well. They are only suggestions after all. A simple thank you and an acknowledgement of that offer is all that is truly needed. Anything else and you invite debate and that's not always fun.

Momma Jorje

Looking for the logic in the suggestions is great advice! I'm awful about brushing off advice that doesn't seem to suit me... then later seeing the logic in it and having a more open mind.

Catheryn @ Pinkbibs

Although I do not get negative remarks too often (thank God I dont), I do get them occasionally.  I just nod, with a smile, some sort of acknowledgement.. and I go ahead with what I think works best for me and my child.  

Miki Chua

tough Question. I just keep quiet. sometimes i insist NO.. sometimes i just walk away. but i think u're definitely right, don't judge other  parenting or way of discipline their children.

BTW my friend gave me a tips put the teether (those with liquid inside) into freezer and let her bite after that. they tend to love it cold. try it ;)


Deflecting works well with my MIL who was giving me advice on how our 1yr old "needs to get used to the pack and play."  I don't know why he needs to get used to the pack and play, but I told her that he is used to one because they have one in daycare (which I have no clue if he actually ever really uses).  I think that it stunned her a bit when I sadi that as it did render her speechless.  

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Thank you all for sharing your feedback! Smile

Comments are closed