Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yeah, I can be as opiniated as anyone else.

Yesterday, my wife and I were talking about what we thought of people judging the parenting skills of others. Her position was that with two years’ experience, with one child, no less, who are we to judge.

There are few areas where people will get more defensive than with their parenting skills. If I was to challenge someone’s religion, four out of five people would tolerate it patiently and reasonably, whether they engaged in an argument/discussion or not. But if I challenged their parenting, most people would dig in their heels pretty firmly. It could even come to blows, though I haven’t tested this theory. If anyone wants to try it and get back to me, I’d be glad to hear about your results. (I feel like I should put in a legal disclaimer here, like “The writer and affiliates of Somewhat Epic to not endorse the provocation of violence over parenting opinions.” If you get your ass handed to you over such an argument, it’s your own damn fault).

Look at it this way; have you ever been critical of something your parents did? Do you wish that there was a friend or relative close by to ask if an action or technique was in the child’s best interests? I wouldn’t endorse some kind of Parenting Police, but if we raised our kids with a sense of accountability to our community, would it change some of our practices? More importantly, would we re-think our reactions?

Of course, this could easily go too far the other way, such as hitting or indulging a crying child because a parent feels embarrassed at the supermarket. I’m glad that the public-hitting has decreased, but like every revolution, it may have swung too far the other way.

It reminds me of a conversation that I had with a friend, where his sociology teacher was speaking of being judgmental of other cultures. I truly enjoy the differences of other cultures, but the example he used was female circumcision. Really? With everything that we may find questionable, he chose the mutilation of young girls in a patriarchal society? Couldn’t he have picked something dietary, like dog-eating? Or how about how Asian cuisine lacks cheese? Ludicrous! Sure to be a lively discussion, but with valid points on both sides. 

Do you think that we have an obligation to address parenting faults? How about putting our own techniques and styles under scrutiny? I’m pretty confident in my parenting, but I bet that I’d be pretty uncomfortable with a critique. I hope that I’d handle it reasonably and maturely, though. At this time, I am unwilling to offer criticisms to other parents, mostly because of my limited experience.


  1. I might think something when I see someone's kids totally out of hand, but I'd never say anything. Besides, I don't have kids, so I have no idea.

  2. I'm with Alex on this - if I see kids that are running wild and have no control at all, I wonder at what kind of upbringing they've had, though I don't question it aloud.

    Also, no cheese?! I'm sure that's illegal.

  3. When I had mine and they acted inappropriately people used to remark about it to me. We can only guide our offsprings to know right from wrong but can't always be there.
    When they grow into adults and have minds and opinions of their own .......sometimes against what they have been brought up to believe in , you have to let go. I have three offsprings two treat me with the utmost respect the eldest have cut me out of his life which means I miss out on three grandchildren.

  4. Hi Will, thanks for your visit and comment. I am NOT reacing for the past , what I meant on my notice was I want to feel as positive as I did a few years back. The last two years have taken their toil healthwise (Cancer scare) and the past year my son no longer wants me in his life therefore I don't see my grandchildren.Being a parent isn't easy and it's harder when they grow into have all this to come. Mine was brought up to respect all people but at the end of the day what they think or do is their own descion. I am not chasing phantoms just want a united family , is that too much to ask?
    Have a good day.

  5. Hi Will,
    I've just changed my blog over to be "DAD" focussed and one of the things I've wondered about is what you're talking about here. Can I really offer opinions on fatherhood when no one is really an expert? What will people say about my kids and parenting? Anyway, I think we should converse honestly with those we have built trust with. People in malls, not so much, though I've caught myself saying things in my boys' school a couple of times... to kids, not parents though.

  6. Each case is unique and the parents should know what's best for the kids and make appropriate choices and decisions. Its hard to critique other parents if you don't know them. We have a couple from our church we go to a few times a year and they give us great advice. Outside of them, I'm leary of what people say.