Twice in the last few weeks, I’ve been thrown into parenting wars. Not necessarily Mommy Wars – just parenting wars, where parents of both genders become engaged in a subtle, or not-so-subtle, “I’m a better parent than you are” argument. One such argument was about cell phone use in middle school. The other was about our kids’ education, and more specifically, private vs. public school.
I don’t get it. Assuming none of us is abusive, we are all doing our best. And looking around me, at the parents I know in real life, we ARE all doing our best. It’s no secret that parenting isn’t easy – that it’s
one of the most difficult job s we’ve ever had. We are terrified of making mistakes, because we love our children so much, and we are heavily invested in their well being. And yet, despite the importance of this role, no one really teaches us how to do it. We just learn as we go, trying to do the right thing, trying not to mess up too much.
Parenting these days is especially challenging, since we have to deal with unprecedented advances in technology. Our children’s childhoods are so different than our own, that it’s very difficult to rely on past experiences to navigate the dos and don’ts of modern child rearing. (Do I let them use social media? At what age? And is Mark Zuckerberg correct when he claims that there’s no such thing as privacy anymore?)
Under these difficult circumstances, how can it possibly be helpful to attack another parent and make them feel bad about their own choices?
“It’s all about the attacker’s own insecurities,” says my friend, and I agree to some extent. If you’re unsure about your own choices as a parent, one way to feel better about yourself is to put another parent down. If they are worse than you are, or are made to feel worse, then you’re automatically elevated to a “better parent than others” status, right?
What a sad way to feel better about one’s own parenting!
When my kids started growing older, and questions of cloth diapering, breastfeeding and co-sleeping were no longer an issue, I was glad to be finally done with Mommy Wars. Little did I know, that Parenting Wars were not quite over yet, and as our kids get older, the topics actually get hotter – and parents’ behavior, just as hurtful.