Deep down inside, most people desire the affirmation of others. I am one of those people. It's more of a subconscious thing. It is for most people. I think that some people are more prone to this yearning than others, and each person's need for approval is unique to specific areas. If I am not careful, this approval driven desire can get away from me without me even realizing it. I have to continuously keep this area of my life in check.
Over my 4 very long years of parenting (sarcasm), I've encountered numerous moms that always seem to be on a subconscious search for others to approve of their parenting choices, and uh...I've been one of them.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I think we all want to be recognized as good parents. Who doesn't want to be known as a good parent? So, we share our parenting experiences, beliefs, and goals with other moms. The problem is that although you may have a group of friends with similar beliefs and goals in parenting, sooner or later you will come across someone who doesn't. They may not hesitate to share their thoughts either, and depending on the delivery of their point of view, it could be offensive. This is where conflict enters. Some are able to discard unwanted opinions without a second thought (my husband calls this Brain Dump), but others...uh...like me, tend to get...aggravated. Enter emotional conflict and defensive rhetoric. It may not always be expressed to the offending person, but those thoughts and words are still present in your mind.
I spent way too much time dwelling within this terrible habit, then, one day I had a realization or two.
-The more you discuss parenting issues, the more you invite others to give their opinions. Discussing parenting issues is not a bad thing, but this needs to be done with care. Often times, when you discuss parenting issues, especially conflicts, others tend to interpret this as an open door to give their input and advice, regardless of whether or not you were looking for it. So, if you are not looking for advice, you may want to think twice before bringing up the topic.
-Does it really matter what people think about our choices anyway? You know the answer. Of course it doesn't. Consider this:
So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a parenting discussion, here's a couple things to consider:
- Think twice before you speak and evaluate your motives. Refrain from speaking when you do not have the correct motives. Ask yourself, "Why am I bringing this up?"
-When a conflicting opinion is voiced, Brain Dump. Dismiss it. Don't let it bother you.
-Respect each other's choices and opinions even if you don't agree with them. There's no need to create conflict.