Parenting Roadblocks

What do you do when you have a well-meaning grandparent, aunt, sister, best friend, neighbor – you get the idea – who doesn’t necessarily agree with your parenting choices? Tread lightly, but stand strong.
There is something about a pregnant belly that attracts comments. Everyone knows everything about parenting, and their way is always best. This can put new parents in a very awkward position. As if the struggle to maintain basic hygiene in the beginning isn’t enough, many newly minted moms and dads find themselves defending their parenting choices. And often it is a battle with those they love the most.
When it comes to explaining your parenting choices to your own parents, the dynamic is interesting to say the least. They are usually more than ready to remind you that, “I raised you and you turned out ok.” Well, that is a tough one to argue. Today is not the parenting environment of 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Your intent is never to insult the choices your parents made. It is, though, your turn now. You need to stand up for yourself and claim this child (or children) for your own. Difficult, but necessary.
One suggestion that repeats itself through many aspects of parenting (and will find its way into many of my posts) is being proactive. In many of the parenting classes I teach at Women & Infants , I assign homework. You read right…homework. The homework is,  while you are still pregnant, have conversations–many of them–with your partner, friends, parents about the way you would like to raise your child.  Most importantly, explain the reason behind those decisions.  You might be surprised that you and your partner may not agree on some things. Are you going to use a binky? Do you let the baby fall asleep in the swing? Are you really going to take the baby for a drive to settle him/her down? Small things can make a big difference. I am here to tell you, too, that what seems like a small thing when you are sitting calmly will be a huge thing when you are sleep deprived and in the heat of the moment. Huge. By pre-planning, you can make reasonable decisions. Keep in mind, though, that flexibility is also key to your success.
So just how can you contend with well meaning people who don’t agree with you? It may be difficult, but it is in the best interest of your child, and your sanity, to take a stand. Politely, but firmly, share your parenting vision and ask for the opportunity to take the chance. It may be one of the hardest parenting tasks that you will face. You alone know what is best for your child. That is not to say that the people around you , your ‘village’ should be ignored. They can be a major source of information and help, if not just a sounding board for your thoughts. Honestly, it is honesty that is the skill that will serve you best.

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