|but the Internet said it was true|
I don’t think there is a parent alive that has not ended up in the middle of some massive parenting debate. Both sides always feel vindicated, as if there is no chance they are wrong, and worse, that if they let even the inkling of doubt stand it will somehow endanger the very lives of every child on the planet. I can say if you value your time you should simply avoid such traps, look the other way when someone proclaims loudly or even unfactually their parenting opinion, because chances are no manner of well-worded or supported repertoire is going to change their opinion. However, in all honesty even if you try your very best to avoid it, chances are you’ll be drawn into at least one debate at some point during your life-long parenthood experience. Being a parenting advice writer, I admittedly end up tangled in many such debates and so have some advice to offer those who do end up involved.
Never argue opinion.
Rule one to not wasting your time: never argue a point of opinion. If you can’t back it up with real verified fact, don’t try to argue it. This includes points of religion, morality, or simply personal preference. You may feel that some of these items do come down to fact, but the fact is they don’t and likely never will. If you try to sway someone based on your religion for example, you run the risk of looking rather silly if they don’t follow your religion at all. You could argue until you were blue in the face, but you can’t change a strong opinion with opinion. If you must, simply express that the debate is a manner of opinion, state yours, and exit the conversation.
Always take the high ground.
You’ll find when someone is met with strong factual opposition to an opinion they hold they may downgrade the conversation into petty attacks. In a heated argument it can be very easy to retaliate, however, if you fail to do so and simply let your facts stand for themselves, your argument appears sounder to everyone involved. Educated people that other people want to listen to, don’t slam their opponents to win.
Know when to quit.
There are some parents out there that will never change their stance on an issue no matter how much sound evidence you provide them. They may simply ignore all the evidence you provide and lead into an annoying circular debate. Once you’ve said all that needs to be said, don’t be drug into repeating yourself by circular logic; know when to call it quits.
Finally, remember that while to you what’s being said may seem ridiculous or even moronic; everyone has different education and life experiences. Try to view things from others’ perspectives, either to understand and accept it or to better understand the best way to challenge it. Remember that in the parenting world there are few absolutes. There truly is no right or wrong way to parent, and sometimes you just have to accept your way is not everyone’s way.