I realized soon after becoming a mother that most people have different ideas about parenting–including my siblings and friends. So, what do you do when you disagree with someone’s parenting? Do you speak up or ignore it? Do strong disagreements make you question your friendships?
I had always assumed there was a right and wrong way to parent, but have come to realize that’s not true. It turns out parenting styles differ about everything–from which Robeez shoes are the cutest and the logic of baby headbands to bedtimes and stances on wearing bike helmets.
I still remember when my friend invited me over for a play-date when our girls were 15 months old. Both girls had started walking and were all over the house. I realized my friend had left her basement door open, leading to a huge staircase (which she didn’t seem to notice or mind). I immediately closed the door, yet she insisted we keep it open, saying it would teach them an important lesson if they fell. So I held onto my daughter for the next two hours because I was anxious about her falling. I was convinced (and still am) that falling down the stairs wouldn’t be the teachable moment my friend had thought.
Over the next four years, there were plenty of other moments when my friends’ parenting choices surprised me, and times when I altered my friendships as a result. If you’ve ever had a similar experience, I think you’ll enjoy reading about how to deal with these emotions in “The Challenges of Differing Parenting Styles” by my colleague Peggy Kaufman, M.Ed., LICSW.
Enjoy the article, and Happy Thanksgiving!