Thursday, October 2, 2008

The urge to compare

There is one aspect of modern parenting culture that really bothers me. That is the "comparison phenomenon." I recently had the occassion to talk to another mom who, admittedly, is my polar opposite with regards to the way we have chosen to parent our children. The most frustrating thing about the interaction was that I felt the need to defend the choices my husband and I have made. Mostly those regarding limits around TV viewing and food.

Now, I do not, in any way, propose to be a perfect parent. I think the urge to compare comes from our cultures pressure on parents to be just that--as if it were possible! I'll also admit that I have sat in judgement of the decisions other parents were making. I realize, after being so sharply on the receiving end of such judegement, that it hurts. I will do my best to be less judgemental in the future.

There are two things I most want to say to parents who insist on being critical of other parent's decisions. One, we are simply doing the best we know how to raise children who will become caring, responsible, productive adult members of society. I once heard it said that parenting is not about raising children it is about raising adults (so true when you think about it). Many of our decisions reflect this belief. Hopefully the things we are doing today will bear fruit tomorrow. Even if we have the same goal in mind you will still make different choices than I will. The second thing I want to say is: You know what, I know you don't agree with our choices and you know I don't always agree with yours. But we are both doing what we feel is best for our own children. We've both made decisions for reasons beyond the understanding of the other. Let's call a truce on the need to one up each other or change each other, and simply try to enjoy our children.


Patty said...

this comparison thing is so much more these days than it was when I was raising my children. I am shocked at how even siblings will compare their children of a similar age. So much for individualism !

Janette said...

Well said.


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