A Letter to *Those* Parents

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

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 shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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A Letter to Those Parents

You know Those parents, right? The ones that respond to a plea for help on a message board or Facebook page with advice that is contrary to your own parenting beliefs? The ones that always seem to arrive on the board in overwhelming numbers? The ones that get your goat when their personal anecdotes are equated with statistical evidence?

How to honor the other parents’ personal stories without them feeling undermined by the facts? How to keep from stirring up the Mommywars? How to explain to the original poster that there are alternatives without it turning into a flame war? (hopefully, at least.) [1]

I find that when responding, the less ego involved the better the outcome. The negative responses are minimized if you can reply without judgment, accusation, or the drive to be right.

Of course, it may seem like your response is drowning in a sea of opposition, but you never know who is lurking or who might be helped by your words and quietly consider another side.

Here is an example of a gentle response I wrote to Those parents. Insert your own parenting hot buttons in the blanks. It’s kind of like Parenting Mad Libs only it’s not as much fun to make it dirty. [2]

Hello Mama,

I hope all is well with you. I understand what it is like to ________ and feel at the end of the proverbial rope. I feel that you need to do what is best for your family and sometimes it might mean compromising somewhat on principles you hold dear.

I am not going to criticize parents who decide ________ because I do not want to be attacked. I do not support certain practices, but I do support parents.

After extensively researching ________, I do not support ________ if the family’s goal is a well-attached family and child. Again, I do not wish to offend or get into an argument with those who choose to use ________. Only each family can research and weigh the impact that practices like ________, ________, ________ or other controversial practices will have long term.

If you choose to research ________ more, please remember that it does not have to be the extreme version of ________. There are gentle ways to ________.Yes, it is difficult and will challenge the parent. Yes, it might take longer than _______. It also might not take longer. It also might be easier for your family.

There are other ________ accommodations that can be done, including getting ________, ________ and ________, among many, many other ideas. There are a myriad of gentle, connecting ways to solve ________ issues. I will happily provide resources, if it will help.

It is pretty easy to get overwhelmed with encouragement for ________ because it is such a common practice. The ________ alternatives are also common, but aren’t as visible because there are so many permutations that defy label.

You can head over to the ________.com/org/net/gov/etc for more ________ advice than you can shake a stick at. Just reading how many possibilities there are from other families in the same ________ situation who chose the many alternatives to ________ can help release some of the stress in making these decisions.

I remember how intense the early time of childhood is and while you’re in it, it seems long. Looking back on it, it is gone in an instant in the long years of growing up to maturity. It is worth the investment, although exhausting to parents.

No matter what you decide for your family, I hope you will research and try out the gentle alternatives to see what will best meet all of your family’s needs. And no matter what you decide, I wish you the best.

Namaste,

Z

When I wrote this letter, it was specifically referencing the practice of Cry It Out. I almost didn’t press send on the message board for fear of beginning a flame war. But, the mom asking for help was getting responses only from those advocating for Cry It Out. I wanted her to know that there are many options to consider. I hoped she would feel empowered to seek her own path that would best serve her family.

I received two kinds of responses: thank you’s from the other non-CIO parents for responding and thank you’s from the pro-CIO parents for being respectful. That got me thinking about how it doesn’t matter your parenting stance. Respectful disagreement applies. There is no one type of parenting that can be inserted into this letter. The opposing point of view works just as well.

Perhaps it’s another window into the minds of Those parents.

[1] Does not include Troll repellent
[2] Extraneous suggestions: how/when/amount you are feeding your baby/child; how/where/when/with whom you are birthing; how/where/with whom your baby/child is sleeping; how you are disciplining/educating/indoctrinating you child; whether your child is intact or circumcised; Any global parenting issues.

So, what do you think about flame wars and peaceful responses? Is it better to engage in the debate or simply provide alternative information? Have you ever changed your mind about something because of an internet discussion? I would love to hear from you.

***

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:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

40 thoughts on “A Letter to *Those* Parents

  1. I’m so glad you referenced this post. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. I love it. I can get so disheartened by lack of understanding and compassion in some responses. And I suppose I’d have to really check myself if I was reading posts that were wildly against the grain of my beliefs. I’m pretty good, but some things really trigger me.
    I suppose I would say nothing at all. Unless of course something truely hateful was going on.

  2. Great post, Zoie! It’s awesome you got such positive responses from both sides using a respectful approach. I was lucky that I never got into any “Mommywars.” Of course, I think it helped that there wasn’t even an Internet when my children were little. And it’s hard to tell me I’m messing up when my children are already grown!

    The worst comment I got was after a post about gentle discipline when an anonymous commenter said, “You don’t have children, do you?” I guess it sounded too good to work in real life. How wonderful that it actually does work! :)

    • Thank you, Deb. Yup, that’s the power and the problem of the internet: great information & support and horrible disinformation & intolerance equals Mommywars. That comment would crack me up, too (and I’d feel a bit sad.) It is intensive work, but it works. I appreciate the posts of the btdt parents because I have more faith on those rough days that it will all be worth it when they’re grown up-even though it’s all worth it now, it’s just more difficult for me to see it sometimes

  3. Oh yes the flame wars. I have seen way too many on some of the boards a I frequent. I too, also pipe up in a respectful way, encouraging parents to follow their own heart and intuition and to try not to do something because everyone else is doing it or because they think they have to do it. You are so right that being respectful about expressing your point of view is way more effective that immediately attacking or going on the defensive like some of the parents out there do. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks, Kat. I love this, “I too, also pipe up in a respectful way, encouraging parents to follow their own heart and intuition and to try not to do something because everyone else is doing it or because they think they have to do it.” That’s exactly right and so hard to do when you’re a panicked parent. I remember when I was a new mom, I was second guessing myself the entire time, even though I kept right on parenting instinctually. Eventually, I found some safer havens where I wouldn’t be attacked. I just don’t go on those mainstream forums anymore. I’m not brave enough to face it. I become downhearted by all the disconnection and outright false information being pushed out there. Every once in awhile, I poke my head in and comment gently, then run for it.

  4. I received two kinds of responses: thank you’s from the other non-CIO parents for responding and thank you’s from the pro-CIO parents for being respectful.

    That, I think, is telling about the effectiveness of your approach. Your letter provides a great model. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your comment, Rachel. That was what I found so surprising because I was prepared for either ducking the flames or cricket sounds. It made me really think about how I approach anything like this.

  5. Love it, what a great resource that letter is, will definitely use that in future. Great links in the post below as well, will check them out. Thanks for visiting me over at Dreaming Aloud and your kinds words. I am glad I have discovered you through the Carnival

    • Thank you for your comment, Lucy. I’m so happy to have found your blog through the carnival as well. I spent a good hour and a half reading around your blog. I didn’t comment much because I was on my cell phone, but you’re in my google reader now.

  6. I agree with the peaceful, respectful, informative response and the less ego the better. :) Thank you for outlining how you responded on a message board – examples paint a picture nicely.

  7. Oh yes, message boards can get really quite hot. Discussing politics is a walk in the park compared to talking about parenting issues. I really like your letter. Thanks for sharing. I totally agree that CIO is something parents should have more info about.

    • Thank you for your reply, WAB. This was one of those that definitely would have blown up. All it needed was a match. CIO is a tough one for me because it can so often cross the borderline to mal-treatment. I am pretty darn passionate about the emotional availability of parents as it’s one of my personal issues. If I’d published any one of the many emotional drafts, it would have been a huge explosion on the message board and nothing good would have come out of it. At least now, maybe there’s some chance that parents and kids considered a different approach. It’s hard to hold back, though.

  8. What a great template! I really appreciate how it has fleshed out the opportunities for research and resources – things I often forget when my goal is just to provide a small voice for an alternative point of view.

    I will say, however, that I have been part of conversations where no matter how respectfully I make my case, no matter how many to I emphasis that the point I am making does not apply to everyone, that I’m not saying there is a way something “should” be done, someone or two folks still take what I am saying as an attack or a criticism. And not necessarily trolls.

    My best guess is that these people are either used being attacked on that particular issue so read every statement through a lens of defensiveness or they are feeling really uncertain about their own choices. Either way, I’m still glad that I am comfortable with what I have written.

    • Thank you, Jessica. Yes, it does depends on the approach. Some people need to feel affirmed, and they think to meet that by being right (or by receiving reinforcement from others that they’re right) I think it’s fine for them to have those needs and I can honor them by offering acceptance. They can then accept or not, as they are able. The most I can do is extend with compassion. I can’t do anything about what they do or do not do with my compassion.

      I don’t know that emphasizing that it applies or not is the same as extending this acceptance and support because that’s still using the assumption that one way is better than another, instead of simply offering up without attachment. Acknowledging and valuing all of the exceptions in a comment is different from this point, although it can be used an avenue for connection and compassion. Does that make any sense?

  9. That was hilarious! I love that this is a real-life example of something you posted on a forum about something so controversial — and that the response was positive from both camps. As you said, that sort of respectful disagreement could be used by any side. Thanks for sharing your formula!

    • Thank you, Lauren. I was quite surprised (and happily amused, too) to receive positive responses from both sides. I figured I would either be ignored entirely or get bashed upside the head for my response. They gave me pause and I think I learned more from their gentle responses than I did from my own.

  10. Great letter! It is so important to offer that alternate view in a respectful manner. I’ve done the same sort of thing on online message boards (and, in the past, had someone offer that alternate view to me). It’s hard sometimes on more mainstream boards, but I feel like it’s so important to offer that alternate idea.

    • Thank you, Kristen. I’m glad to hear you’ve tried this approach and been on the receiving end, as well. I think this approach is even more important on the mainstream boards. There are a lot of lurkers there and it’s nice to offer a gentler alternative even of it 1 comment out of 100.

  11. Pingback: Letting go of Punishment « Imperfect Happiness

  12. I LOVE this!! It’s so true that being respectful helps you get your point across whether it’s from people on your side or the other. I will definitely be using this letter from time to time, it’s so well written and can cover a myriad of topics. Great work, mama!! :)

    • Thank you, Suzi. I agree, of course. I hadn’t even realized that this letter was more than an approach until I removed the charged words. Suddenly, I saw I could plug in anything and it works. I also confronted another of my judgy inner beliefs when I did that. I was holding onto a bit of thinking that only the “gentle” parents (ie: those I agree with could use it) It was a nice tool to let that judgment of who is gentle aside. We’re all striving for that. No matter our techniques.

  13. This is such a great post; and the ‘template’ was really useful as a ‘real life’ example. I admire how you stepped in and shared your experience / advice. if everyone else is swaying in one direction i might be tempted to stay out of it and walk away. You’ve shown me that there is a better way to do things, in order to be able to speak my truth respectfully and hopefully help others along the way – thanks for the insight!

    • Thank you, Mrs G. That is a good point. I walk away most of the time, too (also, truth be told there are often multiple people stating it far more eloquently already)

      I’ve been on the receiving end of a few swarmings and I know I heartily appreciated any calm response, whether they agreed with me or not.

  14. This is perfect, Z. I don’t frequent parenting boards or pages on FB,with the exception of one board I’ve been with since I was pregnant with the Oz. We’ve known each other so long (and many of us have met IRL), that stuff like this doesn’t come up much anymore. However, I’m often on the other side, or feel like I am, because in our social circle I’m very often the *least* crunchy. We vax (delayed and selective, but still most of them eventually), and I was stoked when I found out our water was fluoridated. I’ve been a vegetarian and a vegan, but found greater health in a paleo/Weston A. Price diet. I let my kids watch LOTR and play zombie apocalypse video games because they can handle them, and Ozman is going to see Thor with R when it comes out in a few weeks. I’m skeptical of things like reiki and sage burning, and having been raised by a physicist in a lab town I just can’t get worked up about radiation in infinitesimal doses.

    On the other hand, our food is organic/free-range/grassfed almost 100%, and we make nearly every meal from scratch. I nursed each goblin until my milk dried up (beyond 12 months for each and I tried everything to keep it up), co-slept (and the kids still sleep together), cloth-diapered, keep kids harnessed in the car as long as there’s a seat on the market to accommodate them, didn’t turn the Fierce Beast’s seat until she was four, and still wear her when she needs it. We homeschool (though we no longer unschool), and practice attached, non-violent parenting. I think they’re turning out pretty okay, but we’re very happily only perhaps 50% crunchy. I say “very happily” because it’s the right fit for us, but it can be a lonely position: too crunchy for the mainstream, not crunchy enough for alternative parenting communities. I’m not “only” 50% crunchy because that’s as far as I’ve gotten on my journey, I’m here because after countless hours of research on all the issues, and lots of trial and error, this is where we belong. I’ve rarely had a negative response from crunchier parents when I’ve mentioned any of this, but I generally keep quiet during discussions about this sort of thing. I have sat and listened to some of my parenting practices being lambasted by friends who didn’t know my details, and while it doesn’t offend me (I’m very secure in my position), it can be wearing and again, a little lonely sometimes.

    • Thank you, Laura. Can I please give you an extra hug when we see each other? You walk that line perfectly between listening and not compromising your family’s values. I know we have different parenting stances and I think I sometimes forget that when we’re talking (feel free to remind me if I step on yours) I like people who challenge me with other opinions. I like talking about it and understanding. Agreement is nice, but it’s not necessary for support. I adore you and your wonderful family that you have worked tirelessly to build on a firm foundation of love.

      Above all, we agree on nurturing our kids in ways that work for us best. I don’t think it matters how you get to attachment with your kids, just that you have it. (but, I’m also not judging those who don’t agree with this, of course)

      I hope I can be as loving and mature as you when I (choose to) grow up.

  15. Wonderful post Zoie! I totally agree with you – I truly feel that when someone is putting it out there for discussion (be it blogging, a forum question, etc.) they are essentially asking for feedback, and respectful disagreement can be a must (I know I’ve taken part in it plenty of times. :)

    (And I have changed my mind about MANY things through internet discussion!).

    I do find a difference between putting yourself out there on a public forum (whether making a statement or a response) and advocacy within personal relationships (I’m feeling this is where you might be disagreeing with me? I’m terribly curious now lol).

    Anyway, I just know that when I was younger and much more self righteous, I had total issues with the way my brother and sister were living their lives, and took pretty much every opportunity I could to disagree with their actions. I’m so ashamed of that now! (and it certainly wasn’t respectful).

    The time came that I got brought down a peg by people I cared about, and my eyes were opened to how I had been treating them. I had told myself my actions were ‘for their good’, but it was really all about that ego you mentioned in the beginning of your post.

    I pretty much totally reversed my actions and made a determination to love and support them no matter what they did. Both of them have changed things in their lives that were harming themselves, and both of them have come to me and told me that my loving support of them contributed to those changes. They knew how I felt – I never hid that. But I never applied it to them or told them they were doing wrong when they weren’t asking for my advice, which is pretty much how I continue to operate around people IRL today. I may have gone to an extreme (I am not exaggerating about how awful I used to be!!) but I do feel that it’s effective.

    Am I totally off base here? What are your thoughts? :)

    • Thank you, Kelly. Yes, I’ve seen that so many times when people put things out there online and are shocked when debate ensues-and often end up deleting it if they get offended. I don’t have a problem deleting if it turns into insult-slinging, but disagreements can stay (even if I’m proved wrong *swallows ego*) I’m blessed to have a tolerant circle of support irl (see Lura’s comment for a typical example of this thoughtful, educated wonderfulness) So most of my advocacy does occur online. Like you, I have changed in many ways through online discussion. I don’t take anything personally and have become more empathetic (at least, I’m trying to be)

      It is beautiful how you express your unconditional awakening while honoring your beliefs. I used to talk about it in private, but I’m sure people felt my discomfiture. I also made that shift to acceptance. And when my inner judgments arise, I accept those with love and let them go. I am able to accept another’s choices and even when I disagree, I don’t assume it’s from a lack of education or exposure. I think remembering that we’re all doing our best for our families helps.

      And the disagreement? It’s the sp-sp-sp-spanking. But, again, I say this with love and acceptance <3

      • Oh Zoie – spanking was something I thought I would do! Absolutely would NEVER do now that I have actually had my child and know better! That list was stuff I ended up being wrong about – I either don’t agree with any of it now, or it didn’t happen the way I thought it would…sorry for freaking…it is really unfortunate if that was confusing though, because I so do not advocate spanking. :(

        (although I must give you points – I’m sure it’s something you do disagree with strongly, and if I actually did believe in spanking as a form of discipline, I would have considered your disagreement to be totally loving and respectful :)

        I loved Laura’s comment, and the rest of what you were saying, and totally appreciate your encouragement. :)

      • Can I just give a big PHEW! to that. I didn’t know whether you still believed in it or not (but I’m pleased that you do not.) But, as we’re talking about, I would still support you. There was a small part of me that was glad to know another intelligent and open-minded person who spanks because I do enjoy discussing it. I have two friends whom I adore that spank (or at least they’re the only ones who openly do it) and we vehemently disagree about it. But, I still love and accept them. They are very tolerant of other people’s views on spanking and would never spank someone else’ child.

        And yes, Laura is pretty much the Bee’s knees. I’m so glad our almost 5yo’s are married of their own volition.

  16. I, too, have seen those VERY eager CIO discussions on FB recently. People are coming out of the woodwork to support the parents in their “training”…I gently poked my head in to say that my oldest didn’t “sleep through the night” until 2.5 and still @ almost 4 requires night-time parenting. Like you said, hopefully that will resonate w/ someone and they can make an informed choice.

    great letter!

    • Thank you your reply, Jessica. That is what always gets me in online discussions, too. It seems like no matter the issue, if it’s really juicy for people, the shark fest begins. There’s usually one poor soul who feels personally attacked and spouts it all back. That’s when the sharks start tearing out chunks. It hurts my heart to read the attacks. But, it feeds my heart when discussion thrives. I’ve learned so much from various viewpoints. When I realized that the majority of readers were lurking, it makes me realize the power of positive words (even if the sharks are too busy to notice)

    • Thank you, Darcel. I absolutely agree. We do it with our kids all the time, right? Hopefully, we’re all just a bunch of bigger kids in our interactions and can learn from those a bit further along the peaceful path, sharing support to those walking with us, while holding out a had of offering to those a bit behind.

    • Thank you, Dionna. That seems to be a theme so far on the CarNatPar participants that I’ve read. Once again, I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect and learn through this community you create

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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