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?