Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saying "I'm Right and You're Wrong" Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause...

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.
Sure I have had some interactions with parents on playgrounds and the typical parenting stomping grounds regarding things I don't quite agree with...but besides the random ignorant comments, none of these interactions have required anything other than a nod and smile or something said along the lines of "to each their own". Nope, the place where I really need to "work" hard at being mindful about what I say is online. I belong to several online communities and forums, and lets not forget facebook. Ah facebook. The one place where sometimes anything goes. I have seen people lose all form of manners and mindfulness in responding to someone's post or status. I can't even count the number of times I've seen people going at each other, saying very disrespectful things. It's sad really. I strive to be mindful about what I say, partly because of my role as a Parent and Life Coach, and partly because I want to make people receptive to my cause, not make them defensive, which leads to people not even considering whatever point I am trying to get across.

For me interactions with other parents (and anyone, really) come down to three wise phrases:

"Be The Change You Want to See in This World {aka Live By Example}."
"Treat Others How You Want to Be Treated."
"Don't Give Advice Unless You Are Asked For It {because otherwise it will land on deaf ears}."

So all my interactions with my family, friends and even my facebook peeps, stem from that place.

I try to not post a response to anything, or say anything in real-life interactions, before thinking it through, making sure it comes from an authentic, respectful place. Even on topics I'm very passionate about, I think about things first and I always, always try to look at the issue from the other person's perspective--which can be extremely hard sometimes! But, I do this because I understand things better that way and that is what I would want others to do for me.

Most recently, there was a discussion that happened on my wall regarding spanking. I was pleased to see that even though there was some disagreement among those involved, everyone was respectful and stated their opinion in a respectful way. And most importantly in a way that allowed for the potential for personal growth. I am not sure if anyone was converted to the other's point of view, but I do think it made everyone think about the issue more deeply, perhaps even for the first time. It shone the light on a subject and forced people to look. When you respond to something in anger or with defensiveness, you close up...you do not allow for personal growth or self-awareness. When a situation arises and we feel our way of doing things is being judged, many of us are often afraid to go further, so we shut it down. However, if we look a bit deeper we may discover that there is room for improvement, that we might learn something. Accepting our mistakes is a huge accomplishment. If we can get to a point were we realize we were wrong and are willing to do what it takes to make things different, for the better, we have grown leaps and bounds! And what a great lesson for those around us, including our kiddos.

As parents we are given opportunities for personal growth every day...sometimes multiple times a day! And if we accept to take them on we benefit greatly, and so do our kiddos! I think that one of the ultimate experiences for learning as parents comes when we see other parents living by example. When you see a parent being authentic and present in their interactions with their child, you can't help but feel inspired to be more authentic yourself!

So pass it on! Live by example and spread the love!
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)
  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it's from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural - Just Don't Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother's groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the "Mommy-space" online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God's Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles... — Jenny at I'm a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents' worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting - Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she's learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others' parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metalityMudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can't — We've all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you're stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think "Gosh, I wish I said…" This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought "Gosh, I wish I said…"
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don't Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she'd want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying "I'm Right and You're Wrong" Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won't care — Cassie of There's a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don't know what to do when you're confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and ChoicesDulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky - Parenting Peacefully with Social MediaHannabert's Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.


  1. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! Those 3 quotes alone are enough of a life philosophy to live by - I think I may print them out and post them in my home.

    This is something I really relate too 'When you respond to something in anger or with defensiveness, you close up...you do not allow for personal growth or self-awareness. When a situation arises and we feel our way of doing things is being judged, many of us are often afraid to go further, so we shut it down. However, if we look a bit deeper we may discover that there is room for improvement, that we might learn something.' So incredibly true!

    I find parenting to be a continual journey of self development. You are right to suggest that having the example of another parent is inspiring. I have a few friends that always make my relationship with my children better and give me more ideas. I strive to be a person who can do that too.

  2. Such great advice to make sure that any response comes from an authentic, respectful place. I think talking about our own truths does more than actively trying to convince someone of some particular philosophy. What a great reminder!

  3. Those three mantras are perfect! Concise, exact, and respectful. I think I most often fall victim to #3... Sometimes I'll just start off on a tangent, weaving in advice when it certainly was not asked for... Online is sometimes an awful place to be, and I try to avoid hot-button discussions sometimes because they can turn disrespectful very quickly, especially on the unfiltered FaceBook. I agree that parenting (and just life in general) is always a journey, and we always have to be open to better possibilities and learning something new. Whether not we incorporate some, all, or none of what we learn, we need to be ever-learners and pass that on to our children and those we meet. Thank you for a great post!

    1. "Ever-learners"--love that! I am so an ever-learner :-)

  4. Love the three rules to live by. I often try to end-run around the last one by saying: I have an opinion about that if you want to hear it. But I think #1 does more than anything you can say out loud. Great post.

  5. I really admire your perspective on this, and love that you've taken it even to Facebook, considering what a hotbed of controversy that place can be. It's so true that we all have so much room for growth, and it's easiest to inspire and be inspired in a respectful atmosphere.

  6. Thanks ladies! I do appreciate you all stopping by to read and comment :-) I look forward to reading all the posts in the carnival!

  7. Those really are wise phrases to live by! I love that you focused your post on Facebook. It can be a really difficult place to practice respect at times. It is so hard to convey and interpret tone in Facebook comments, and sometimes tone makes all the difference. I love that you're making a conscious effort to really think your comments through before posting on FB!

  8. From your title on down you are so right on!

    I love the story about your page - that is totally w hat I aspire to and love seeing it in action!

    Thank you for your awesome words of wisdom. :)

  9. I love this piece's focus on the online community! There actually was a (so-called) natural parents FB page that I had to remove myself from due to the mean-spirited comments people posted to each other! That just shows how exclusive that type of behavior can be.

    "Live by example and spread the love!" I love it! :)


Thanks for letting me know you stopped by!