HomeChild CareHow Do I Defend My Right To Parent My Child My Way?
Posted in Child Care on 16th April 2012

How Do I Defend My Right To Parent My Child My Way?
I have a very rambunctious 2 1/2 year old boy. My husband and I have a strict but loving approach to parenting him that works for all of us. My son is very aware of our house rules and what kind of behavior we find unacceptable (ie: hitting, kicking, tantrums) and places he is not allowed to play (ie: the garage, the driveway or road, the bathroom). At home he does remarkably well and just seems to know that he shouldn’t do these things. He rarely tests these limits with us at home. I should add that we take the stern approach because he has an unusual tendancy towards being blatantly unaware of danger. (Example: if left to play some stairs, he will in fact hurl himself down them EVERY SINGLE TIME unless he is supervised when doing it… in which case he will ask to hold your hand and go down properly) Our rules ensure his safety until he can better control himself.

As any toddler however, he does test these limits when we are visiting with other friends that have children. This of course means we are having to constantly remind and reinforce what is considered unsafe or unacceptable behavior. We often need to speak sternly, then give a warning, then he gets a time out.

My problem comes into play with all our friends! They are constantly interrupting us and saying “he’s fine!”, “let him check it out”, “who cares?”, “lighten up”, or my personal favorite, “he’s only 2, he doesn’t understand what ‘no’ means”. It infuriates me! I hate having to defend why we parent the way we do because they do not know him the way we do. I do not wish to parent the way they do (as a friend said the other day, “let him fall down the stairs a few times, he’ll learn”).

If you were me, how would you POLITELY defend how you’re parenting and basically ask them not to give their opinion. What I’d like to say is not appropriate. And these are all good friends of ours. This is the only issue I have.

***As a last note, to help you understand why we are so vigilant about his safety, you need to know something vital. My son was born at 23 weeks gestation… 4 months early. He spent 6 months in the hospital and had 6 surgeries. He is currently perfectly healthy with no noticeable affects, but that does not mean a serious injury wouldn’t mean a serious complication health-wise for him. My friends all know this, but I think since he’s healthy now they think I’m an over-bearing mother.

Why the hell do I have to defend what I’m doing. Every time they make a comment I feel like a POS mommy!!!!!!!
To further clarify: I actually let my son test a lot of his limits. He runs barefoot, climbs things, wrestles, digs, gets dirty… all that stuff. But my friends kids are all slightly older (6-12 years old) and are permitted to run out of sight, ride bikes in the road, run up and down the stairs chasing each other, hit each other playing…. things that my son is not yet permitted to do. They are also not mature enough to “keep an eye out for him” either. We’ve tried. Horrible failure. They all ran back inside to play and left him outside by himself and shut the door on him.

Best answer(s):

Answer by Jill
You could gracefully tell them, “Thank you, but I know how to parent my own kid.” Or you could say, “Noted and rejected.”

Answer by danin
I think you may need to step back a little and realise you could be over reacting also?

It sounds like you have protected him and nutured him with amazing and loving guidance, but if he hurls himself down the stairs “Every single time” and has normal pain reflexes, then he is not hurting himself.

Yes he was born premmie, so be it, and I can understand your concern but I have girlfriend who has a gorgeous 6 year old daughter who was 23 weeks gestation. She runs jumps, plays on the trampoline, gets scrapes on her knees..

Maybe your friends see your stress and are trying to release you from it. Give you a break when your son plays with their children. Are you telling them that you think they aren’t good parents either and that the only way to parent is your way?

Let your son enjoy himself and maybe consider that he has little wrong with him and if he breaks a leg, well then that is life and welcome to the life of a parent.

Answer by Samantha
The nicest way to tell the you dont appreciate it is by when they say something like that just look at them and put you finger over your lips like in a polite way telling them shut up lol. But its good that you do that POS parents lighten up a whole lot. 🙂

Answer by Beachblonde
Hi hun, you need to tell your friends that you can parent just as well as they can, and explain to them that your child’s needs are different, even though he is a healthy boy..But maybe you can try diffrent soulutions than you regularly would! For an example: Your son wants to help you cook. He asks to put the pan in the oven, but you consider that dangerous. You tell him he can pour the milk in the bowl, and he can do that when he is older.

hope this helped!

Answer by TTC #2
‘Oh… i thought i was his mother?’

‘He came out of ME, i’ll decide.’ (or ‘He came out of MY vagina, i’ll decide!’ if applicable).

My toddler is the same, very well behaved at home, but likes to push it when out and about. Especially with other kids ‘they can do it, why can’t i?’ kind of thing.

Just remind him BEFORE you go out that he needs to do as he’s told, or you will be punishing him. or coming straight home, not going again. whichever suits your needs.

Answer by alicialions
I’m impressed…sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with your son! As for your friends telling you to lighten up etc…if what you thought to say seems inappropriate, maybe you should rethink that because your friends don’t have a problem opening their mouths to tell you what they think you should do…OPEN your mouth and tell them what you think they should do…which of course is to firmly and politely, mind your own business. We are raising our kids the way we choose as you are doing with yours…if you are a true friend, you will respect my right to do this. If you say that to them, they’ll soon make it clear if they are a true friend or not.

Answer by Sara
Just turn round and say each to their own and as for the notion that a 2 year old doesn’t understand the word no ask all those mothers who’s children throw tantrums when they are told No, they understand it perfectly well, I’ve heard the excuse for a 4 year old saying they are too young to understand, rubbish. You are doing a good job and are raising him well, just think you can look back in a few years when they are having problems with out of control teens and think you know what I got it right.

Answer by Simpatica Amiga
i second “Noted and rejected.” BAM!!!

Answer by Diane
I personally think you’re overreacting, and if you really thought you were good at parenting, you’d just step up, say you are the parent here, and let it be.

A 2 year old can understand the word no, but maybe doesn’t understand WHY you are saying no.

2 year olds are supposed to get bruises, scrapes, cuts, the same as a 6 year old. He is healthy now, so it’s healthy he wants to do certain things. Things that can KILL him, no, don’t let him, but things that he’ll learn from his mistakes, then let him.

If he falls and starts to cry, he won’t go there again.

I agree with Danin, everyone has different parenting, but we all should try something different and learn from that.

Answer by Smiling Simon
I only read the headline; WHY do you feel a need to defend yourself. Defending yourself just creates arguments and demonstrates that you are not completely secure in what you are doing. If you respect others’ rights to bring up their children their way, maybe they will respect yours.

Obviously no parent is perfect, and being a little flexible can be a good thing.

Good Luck – I wish more parents were like you!

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