How to Talk to Parents

How to Talk to Parents

Parents are a pretty sensitive group.

Perhaps because they themselves are the Kings of the Judgers, parents are more attuned to perceived slights than most. No group of people is more “victimized” than parents — and the word “victimized” is in quotes for exactly the reason you think it is.

These days, there’s just not a lot you can get away with saying to or about moms and dads without someone getting offended. You have to use your words very carefully.

You’d probably have better luck suggesting that Hitler had some good ideas than saying just about anything about parenting to a parent.

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Parenting Out of Context

Parenting Out of Context

A few weeks ago, I questioned whether I am a good parent. My answer was no.

Both before and since I posted that piece, I’ve been told I’m a good dad, by family members, by online acquaintances, by total strangers who read my blog and follow my Facebook page.

But I don’t believe the hype.

Not because they’re wrong; despite my hand-wringing, I’m probably a pretty good dad. (And even if I’m not, it probably doesn’t matter.)

Because they have no idea.

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Is it Right to Judge

Is it Right to Judge

I hate judgment, especially when it comes to parenting.

It’s presumptuous and self-righteous and, worst of all, it only serves to obscure – if not outright obliterate – the empathy that should be both the prevalent emotion and the primary response to seeing another parent struggling. We all live in the same huge glass house, surrounded by miniature, walking, talking, wrecking balls, and we’re all barefoot and bloodied, like John McClane.

Being given a hard time when your kid isn’t behaving is the last thing a parent needs.

It’s difficult enough being responsible for the safety and development of a brand new, slowly-developing, borderline-feral human being without someone explaining to you everything you’re doing wrong.

It’s never right to judge. So why do I want you to judge me?

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Inclusive Parenting

Inclusive Parenting

Parenting is a nonstop merry-go-round of comparison, guilt and judgment.

We feel guilty when we screw up, we judge other parents when they screw up. We endlessly compare ourselves to those same parents, unaware – or, more honestly, unwilling to accept – that they are experiencing exactly the same trials and tribulations, and riding the same roller-coaster, that we are.

We pit ourselves against the world, against non-parents and other parents and even our spouses, eliminating the curve and grading everything on a scale of zero or 100, using extreme language in the service of unrealistic standards. In so doing, we isolate ourselves from each other.

It’s time we started using our broad assumptions and wild generalizations to be inclusive instead of exclusive. I’ll give some inclusive parenting a try.

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