Most human beings tend toward conformity. We buy similar products and styles. People in geographic areas have certain accents. We look at others to help us make decisions. “Does that work for them? Perhaps it will work for me?” Or, “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing too?”
This includes decisions we make for and regarding our children, from newborns up to… well, our entire lives I suppose. It is helpful to have the wisdom of experience of others and options that may be available. This is the up side. However, I have noticed a distinct downside to this recently in regard to parenting.
We have choices as parents in how to raise our children, being limited only by those that may be abusive to our children or not provide for their physical or medical safety. We can decide how they play, eat, dress, behave, sleep, and socialize. And let me say: In terms of research you see on the internet, unless it is peer reviewed and published in an educational journal, it is not actual research. It could be a reader’s interpretation of some research they heard about, read, or saw. But more often it is simply made up. That’s right. Made up. In other words, someone’s opinion based on their own experiences and feelings.
We all have opinions, strong ones at times. We believe our ways are correct and others are not at times. Talking to close friends and family about it is a good way to let those feelings out. Telling a stranger in a grocery store or on social media they are doing something “wrong” is not helpful to either party. Yet it seems so common. I see this type of behavior causing such frustration, anger, and anxiety which seems to increase the more time a person spends on social media. Not that it is a bad thing, it is a wonderful way to connect with others. However just like real life, we can choose how we communicate with others whether it be positively or negatively. And kindness is underrated on social media these days.
Many parents have realized the problem and have already begun the shift to a more accepting, less judgmental attitude toward other parents, which is so refreshing and encouraging! I have seen examples of women of different backgrounds or having made completely opposing choices (in terms of parenting styles) coming together to celebrate the freedom to share in those differences. I can only hope for more of this type of acceptance. Because we are all different, so let’s enjoy it!