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Stop Bashing Each Other Already! All Parents Need Support.

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is RESPONDING TO THE NATURAL PARENTING COMMUNITY! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on criticism of the natural parenting community both from those parents outside of it’s perceived borders as well as those inside the community itself. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I have been a parent for 4 short years. That’s it. 4 years. I am no expert on this parenting thing. In fact, just when I think I have Tiny all figured out, she throws me for a loop.

Despite all the uncertainty that parenting drags behind it, I am firmly grounded in my parenting philosophy. I research, I observe, I listen, and I experiment. I take what works and leave the rest. But at the root of it all, I am a natural, gentle, responsive, conscious, authentic parent.

But I am by no means perfect.

The natural/attached parenting scene gets a lot of flack. Sure, some natural/AP parents bring this on themselves. They get really married to their methods and beliefs. But come on – it isn’t JUST natural parents who fall into this category. ANY parent can get on their high and mighty horse and look down in scorn at the rest of us parents. It is unfair to say that natural parents are any more judgey than the run-of-the-mill mainstream parent. However, because we push against the grain of normalcy, natural/AP parents get labeled as the ones who are casting shame upon anyone who does not follow their parenting ideology.

Pffft…

I happen to believe that MY way of parenting is the most effective way of parenting. Research even backs me up on this. Spanking, yelling, demoralizing, and punitive parenting approaches have been shown to do a lot more harm than good. BUT, this does not mean that all children who are parented in this manner are being parented without love. Your style of parenting might be harsh, autocratic, and at times mean spirited, but who am I to look at your child and say “she is going to be a hot mess when she grows up.” Because guess what – even if your parenting is on the opposite end of the spectrum from mine, I know you love your child and are probably trying your best. Your best just looks different than mine. So be it.

I think what sets the natural parenting community apart is simply the amount of research we do as well as our perseverance. This is not to say that mainstream parents NEVER research. I am quite sure they do. However, they are probably not reading the same materials we are. 

You see, one book on gentle discipline always leads to another which leads to another which leads to another. One day you look on your bookshelf and realize that you are the proud owner of the complete gentle parenting library. Every natural parenting themed book on child rearing seems to have a slightly different twist – one that opens your mind more to other possibilities which leads to more research and more and more awakening and awareness of how to be the most effective yet peaceful parent on the planet. Seriously. Plus going against the grain is HARD work. It is waaay easier to yell and spank and punish than it is to hold the space, support emotions, and gently guide. Natural parents NEED a lot of support via gentle parenting books. 

Mainstream parenting is simply easier. Why? Because more people are doing it. There are more mainstream models out there. It is the default approach making it something that requires a lot less research. 

And this is where the great line of divide begins. 

I really wish there was a parenting book that simply served as a morale booster. A book that helped parents shed all that parenting guilt. A book that empowered parents to WANT to explore parenting methods outside of their comfort zone. A book that helped parents come together, despite their differences, to create a parenting community that supported each other as parents. Because this parenting gig ain’t easy. Not by a long shot. And hurling insults, judging, fighting, hurling accusations, and spending our energy fighting against each other as parents takes us away from what we really should be spending our energy on…BEING THE BEST PARENTS WE CAN BE!

I am not a perfect parent. You are not the perfect parent. I stand behind my parenting philosophy. You stand behind yours. I know what works and what doesn’t work for MY child. I have no clue about your child. Your child is your job. My child is my job. So let’s just agree that we are both doing the best we can and if you ever feel like changing your parenting approach, give me a shout! Because I am more than willing to share resources, inspiration, real life scenarios, and encouragement. Because that is what I, as a natural parent, as Tiny’s parent, do.


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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • Stop Bashing Each Other Already! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on why for her, “natural parenting” involves more work and why it would be more supportive to all parents if there wasn’t such a great divide based on parenting styles.
  • Politically Correct Natural Parenting — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t want parents practicing Natural Parenting to walk on eggshells with other parents.
  • Just bought some! — Lindsay at The Life of Lulu Belle just bought some of Kelapo’s coconut oil but hasn’t had a chance to try it yet.
  • Keep Your Labels — ANonyMous @Radical Ramblings discusses why she isn’t comfortable with the label “natural parent” and urges us all to be a little more respectful and accepting.
  • Finding a Happy Parent Place — A “circumstantial loner,” Mercedes at Project Procrastinot enjoys her forays in to the Natural Parenting community while learning the ropes of mothering twins.
  • On reason, research, and natural parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama wishes reason and logic were valued more than gut feelings and instinct.
  • Is there a No Sleep Solution? — Hannah at Hannahandhorn wonders when she will sleep again.

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Comments

  1. I love this. I wrote a few posts on the same topic. Sometimes, depending on your “group” the attachment parenting community can be very ALL or nothing… leaving no room for people (me) who just heard about it… and don’t do everything “right.” I am definitely following you now – and so happy I found you!

    It takes a village. We need to lift each other up not tear each other down. We need to provide answers to questions, not question peoples’ answers.

    xoxo

  2. Great post! I think parenting is one area where judgment is so easy and so freely forthcoming, which is sad. But I love your point that MY child is MY job. And I think curiosity is really important in a parent to be able to discover new (better?) methods, etc. like you say outside of our comfort zones.

  3. It would be great to have a parenting book that said:

    As a new parent you will get a lot of advice. Your parents will tell you how to do things, your grandparents will tell you how to do things, your friends will tell you how to do things, and STRANGERS will come up to you and offer unsolicited advice. Believe in yourself and believe in your knowledge of your child.

  4. maybe we should write that book… if you want you can email me ;)

  5. Great post! I’d say you’ve hit the nail on the head – it is harder when you’re going against the grain and constantly have to explain yourself. :)

  6. Ironically I just wrote about the parenting wars in my most recent column. It makes me do sad to see/hear mommas bashing each other when we should be supporting each other. Thanks for the post.

  7. Great points! I always try to explain that we’re all trying to do our best for our kids and that we all HAVE to believe strongly that our own path is RIGHT.

    As NP, I have to agree – we do tend to catch a LOT of flack! Even for calling ourselves “NP,” like any other type of parenting is unnatural.

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