Navigating Parenting Politics

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.

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As a mom who parents in a way that is unlike what I’d estimate to be over 90% of US parents, I often find myself treading tricky ground. I’m a practitioner of Attachment Parenting. Not only am I an enthusiastic participant, I’m also co-authoring The Other Baby Book to help educate more parents about this amazing way of connecting with their babies.

After researching alternatives, when a person consciously accepts one idea, it usually means they’ve rejected another one. As a parent, choosing to parent outside the mainstream means I’ve rejected mainstream parenting – for me and for my family. Yet personally, I’m someone who likes to avoid conflict. I don’t like feeling judged, and I don’t want other people to think I’m judging them. In the parenting arena, judgement often comes with the territory. Given that many of the friends I had prior to becoming a parent have embraced or used mainstream parenting methods, my choices can open the door for sticky social situations.

The easiest ways I’ve found to avoid hurt feelings are simple:
1. talk with like-minded parents about parenting
2. avoid parenting topics with those who do things differently
3. emphasize that the way I parent is what works for *me* and assume the same of others.

I may be missing out on opportunities both to educate and to be educated. But unless a fellow mom explicitly appeals to me for advice or says their way isn’t working, I find it’s easiest to acknowledge that each of us has made our choices for a reason. And for those who made their choices because they didn’t know there were others out there? That’s why I’m writing the book.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it’s from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother’s groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the “Mommy-space” online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles… — Jenny at I’m a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents’ worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting – Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she’s learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.

21 thoughts on “Navigating Parenting Politics”

  1. Wow, writing a parenting book is probably the ultimate form of advocacy! I guess that’s a big part of what my blog is about — to share the knowledge that I have in a place where people feel free to take it or leave it.

  2. “I find it’s easiest to acknowledge that each of us has made our choices for a reason”

    This I find difficult to accept when I come across choices that violate what I consider basic human rights (like genital integrity and healthy psychological development) but I understand that everyone has the right as well to make choices for themselves based on the information they choose to adhere to. I enjoy the right myself to go against mainstream parenting approaches because I feel that they are detrimental to healthy development but not everyone feels this way. Being able to make seemingly ‘radical’ choices for my family because of what I believe in is a privilege that I am very grateful for and can understand why others are as adamant about their right to choose differently as well.

  3. Your 3 are the same way I do things, generally. I like to educate if/when I see an open opportunity, but those really are rare. And really these apply to all of the hot buttons; politics, religion, etc.

    1. That goes for how we live our entire lives, not just parenting. If I’m a vegetarian, I’ve rejected eating meat. If I’m not a smoker, I’ve rejected smoking. It takes some intentional thought and serious conversations to work through with someone who differs, especially when the topics are more personal. ~Megan

  4. i agree that finding like minded parents to talk about all things parenting is a great strategy – if nothing else it helps us not feel isolated in our choices. It’s nice to have the web to connect us around the world too since like you said the parents doing less “main stream” are for now in the minority!

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