Parents can be so defensive and I’m no exception. Everyone’s always justifying their decision to let their kids watch TV, eat candy or chips, or do whatever else we let them. This happens most often when I meet someone for the first time and we’re feeling each other out as to what type of parent the other is.
I tend toward the more granola, liberal type of parenting aka attachment parenting. That doesn’t mean that I’m not friends with people who parent in a different way. I have friends who believe in Ferberizing and corporal punishment. As long as they have their kids’ best interest at heart, I can still be friends with them. So there’s really no need for anyone to defend themselves to me. (Of course, I would never be friends with people who blatantly abuse their kids whether emotionally or physically. Fortunately, I’ve never met anyone who does.)
Some typically defensive conversations I’ve had:
Them (while handing their kid a hot dog): Does Stephen want one? I know they’re not very healthy, but….
Me: I’m perfectly game to let him try it, but he just doesn’t like it.
Me: Do you have any Wiggles DVDs?
Them: Oh, she doesn’t watch a lot of TV. Not that I think TV is bad, it’s just that we don’t have many kids shows for her to watch.
Them: I don’t know if I want him to be watching TV.
Me: Yeah, I thought the same until I had to make dinner with Stephen crying and whining the entire time. I could at least distract him with 30 minutes of Baby Einstein. TV’s impossible to avoid.
Them: I don’t buy those for him because they’re too salty. He also doesn’t like cake.
Me: Oh yeah, I agree. Salt and sugar are real bad. But, once they get past 2, it’s hard to tell them they can’t eat the same thing as us.
Me: Stephen doesn’t drink Coke.
Them (holding a Coke in their hands): Oh. Why? Too much sugar? Bad for you?
Me: No, I’ve offered it to him to try and he doesn’t like it.
Me: It’s like breastfeeding…
Them (interrupting and talking very quickly): Oh yeah, breastfeeding is best. When she was two months old, I had to supplement with formula because she just wasn’t growing and seemed hungry all the time.
Me: Oh, yeah, I was going to say that even though breastfeeding is best, I don’t believe in making people who give formula feel bad. Formula won’t kill anybody. I was raised on formula and I’m fine.
Them: I still felt so bad when I gave formula.
Them: What time does Stephen go to bed?
Me: Around 9:30 or 10 o’clock.
Them: Oh, that’s late!
Me: If I don’t let him stay up, he wouldn’t get to see Marv on the nights he comes back late.
Them: Stephen’s not in school?
Me: No. I won’t be sending him until after he turns 3.
Them: You’re such a good mother. I couldn’t wait to send my kid to school.
Me: Oh no, if I had a baby to take care of or were pregnant, I’d be kicking him out the door!
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