What’s a PARENT WAR?
Too often, I see parents criticizing each other on social media; so much so, that it breaks my heart! Will you believe that there are actually parent wars out there? There are- I’ve witnessed them! It’s like one group of people are trying so hard to convince others that their method of parenting, or their choices in life, are the RIGHT ones…I know, it’s quite sad. Why do we have to convince others of the choices we’ve made in life when it’s a decision that is benefiting our families and not others?
Examples of PARENT WARS
A huge parent war I have been a witness to has been sending your children to school vs. homeschooling. Now, I will go on a Facebook group for mothers, and there will be many threads about how homeschooling is the right decision for everyone…just reading the comments on this thread make me feel uneasy. Although I do not home-school my children, I’m actually a huge homeschooling fan, and I support my friends and family members that take this approach when it comes to their children’s education. But, please don’t tell me that homeschooling is the perfect route for every family…because it’s not for everyone; and please do not make me guilty for sending my children to Public school.
On the other hand, there are also threads on Facebook that discuss how home-schooled kids don’t have social skills, and that they are too ‘sheltered’ (yes, I feel uncomfortable reading these comments too). This, of course, is untrue; and in fact, if you meet children that are home-schooled, you will notice that they are extremely friendly and strong individuals. Moreover, children that are home-schooled often do much better with one-on-one attention compared to the environment at school.
Another parent war is the type of schools children go to: Public vs. Private (Or Charter) vs. Religious school. There are parents out there that will brag that their children go to an ‘academic’ school, and claim that this makes their children more intelligent than any other child that attends a regular public school…sigh…! I cringe when I hear this; I mean, how can you make that assumption?
Likewise, it is unfair to say that all children that go to private school are ‘snobby and stuck up!’ Furthermore, let’s not assume that all children that attend religious schools think they are more superior than children that go to public schools; and that children that do go to public schools have no clue about their family’s religious background.
What’s another popular war? Parenting techniques…this one gets on my nerves the most. For instance, parents will criticize other parents because of how they raise their children. I will often hear, “you weren’t strict enough with your kids,” “you were too harsh with your children,” “time-outs don’t work,” “I can’t believe you let your child do that?!” etc. We must not attack parents for the way their children turn out, because sometimes it’s not the way you raise your children that predicts their outcome 100% of that time.
Yes, we must inform our children of right from wrong, we must teach them respect and acceptance, as well as manners, and faith. However, even after doing so, children will come out differently. For instance, I grew up in a house with one brother and five sisters, and guess what? All of us siblings are very different from one another! Yes, we all lived in the same house, had the same parents, were disciplined the same, etc; but despite this we all grew up to be very different from one another!
Tips on avoiding a PARENT WAR
So, how do you avoid getting into a parent war? By remembering one thing: instead of criticizing each other, support one another! I know, it’s so simple, right?!
The first step is to empathize with one another. For instance, instead of assuming that parents are ‘sheltering’ their children by homeschooling them, think about the schools in their areas: Are they safe? Is the nearest school too far that transportation will be an issue? Also, think about the parent and child- Was the parent bullied as a student, and has this experience impacted the decision to send his or her children to school? Does the child have special needs that a school could not accommodate? etc.
Next, offer support if needed- for instance, if you see parents that are struggling with their children’s behavior, do not assume that this has to do with their parenting style (it may or may not have anything to do with how they discipline their children). Instead, ask the parents if they need anyone to talk to, if you can babysit their children for them while they enjoy some time away from the children, help them clean the house or bring over some dinner, and so on.
Lastly, the best thing you can do to avoid getting into a parent war is to not accuse parents of making bad decisions. Instead of saying “you’re doing it all wrong,” tell them they are doing the best they are capable of doing considering their situation, and tell them that you are always here to give advice.
Despite our differences, we CAN get along; and we can support one another even if we do not see eye to eye. I have many friends that come from different backgrounds, that raise their children differently from the way I raise mine, that decide to live differently from the way my family and I live; but what holds together our friendship is our empathy for one another, our support for each other, and the encouraging words that we exchange from one family to another.