Being a parenting advice writer, as in someone who actually makes a living offering people advice on how to raise their children, you might expect I’d have strong opinions on parenting topics. You’d be right, but you know what? You will very rarely see me tell a parent something they are doing is “wrong.” You will likely never see me tell someone they are a bad parent. You may see me make suggestions. You may even see me express an opinion. Do you know why?
There is no right or wrong way to parent.
I recognize that while I may have strong opinions on controversial, hotly debated subjects such as spanking, extending breastfeeding, or cloth VS disposable diaper use, those opinions are not facts. They are not undeniably the “right” way to parent and may not even be the right way for every child or every parent. Few people these days seem to understand the simple difference between an opinion and a fact. An opinion can be held by the vast majority of people. An opinion can be based on facts, but only an actual fact can be indisputably claimed.
None the less there’s this thing parents seem to like to do. They see someone parenting in such a way that does not align with their own opinions and somehow, that suddenly becomes a personal attack on their children, themselves, and the very well-being of the human race itself. Honestly folks, I’m fairly sure that someone else say, not breast feeding their baby is not going to bring down the apocalypse upon us in a raining fury of zombie unicorn poop.
You could look back on some of my posts and call me a hypocrite I suppose, but then there’s also a difference between expressing an opinion and brutally, and usually moronically, attacking another parent’s personal choices with an ammunition of biased, judgmental, assumptional bullshit. I would not for example, approach someone I saw talking to their child like a dog in the grocery store and explain how they sounded like an idiot. I might think it, and that may be an opinion I hold, but there’s no reason to piss in their cheerios by sharing that opinion with them. Why not?
It’s not a fact, therefore all that’s going to happen is they’re going to be offended and likely argue and then best case scenario it doesn’t turn into a three hour “debate” with no winner because the fact is, you rarely can alter an opinion with an opinion. Hell, you can rarely alter an opinion with facts. You’re better to keep your negative nancy spew to yourself unless you’re actually undeniably correct and have good reason to be shooting your mouth off.
You see a parent letting their child play with a butcher knife in heavy traffic on a broken needle and glass covered road while being chased by rabid squirrels. This is a scenario where there is “wrong” in a factual sense being done. It is a fact that this parenting choice is probably going to end up in a dead kid. You are vindicated in your decision to take action.
You see a parent place their child in time-out, and you personally feel that time-out is a sissy la-la one-track ticket to a future convict. This is an opinion based scenario where you should parent your own damn child and shut the hell up.
…and before anyone comments about “freedom of speech,” keep in mind that I also have a right to make you look like the jack ass you are for expressing said opinion as a fact and when no one asked you.
Long story short, don’t be a dick.