Parenting is the Most Controversial Thing I Do, Apparently

Seven months.

I find it fascinating that as parents, we are often quick to point out the perceived flaws of other parents, as if it’s some game to “out” who the “bad parents” really  are in our society.

After 48 hours of being published, my post “Positively Communicating with My Seven Month Old Son” received over 1,300 “likes” on Facebook.  Interestingly, during that same short period of time, on Parents Magazine’s Facebook page my article received 167 comments; most of them vehemently criticizing me, while some passionately supported and defended me.

I’m learning just how polarizing my perspective on parenting can be.  When I published that post, I had no idea that it would ever become so popular, as well as, so infamous.  I just thought it was another post like any other day.  It didn’t stand out as particularly special to me.  Boy, was I wrong- because it hit a sweet spot for so many readers and struck a nerve with the rest.  People either completely loved it, or hated it as much as I despise the TV show 16 and Pregnant.

Some of the best entertainment I’ve had in a while was reading through all the comments on the Facebook wall for Parents Magazine.  While I felt so encouraged from those who supported me, the majority of the people who opposed my viewpoint said some really angry and/or hilarious stuff.  (One of my favorite comments involves a unicorn.)

A common occurrence from several readers was the feeling that my tone was snobbish.  This was implied because I stated I don’t like to see parents sarcastically joke about giving their kids away to strangers in public. (What about parents who can’t have children? How do they feel when they witness this same event?)

Sure, it regularly crosses my mind that having a child is tough; especially when he is not behaving as I would like. But I’m his dad and I’m suppose to be his number one supporter, not his number one critic.

Am I naïve and inexperienced when it comes to being a parent?  Of course I am. I’ve only been a dad for seven months.

I have to speculate that that has something to do with why Parents.com chose me as their official daddy blogger, instead of a seasoned veteran who actually knew what they were doing.  My lack of experience is one of the reasons The Dadabaseis interesting- because I am a newbie.  I am learning something new as a parent everyday.  I am wet behind the ears; that’s sort of my specialty here.

However, I was additionally perceived as a snob because some readers felt that I do not yet have the authority to write about communicating with my child because he is so young. But like I said in the article, I’m setting up the patterns now for how I will speak to him as he gets older.  After all, it’s a gradual process and this is my way of preparing for it.

Another reoccurring (and I believe, caricatured) perception of me from those who disagreed with my viewpoint  is that I am a hippie living in La La Land. That I am just so easygoing that my son is going to walk all over my wife and me as he gets older.  That I am so preoccupied with not speaking sarcastically to my son that I will completely neglect the need for discipline.

Ironically, just a couple of days ago I did Dadabase post about I how endorse and practice the “cry it out” method to get my son to sleep at night, prompting one reader to post this comment: “Actually, what you have done is not teach him to sleep well, but teach him that, no matter how hard he cries, how scared and alone he feels, or what his needs may be, you will not be there for him… Congratulations!”

The truth is, I actually worship the importance of creating structure for my son, setting realistic expectations for him, and when the time eventually comes, following through with discipline; not just threatening it.

It’s interesting to me that  I am paradoxically both a snob and a hippie. What a weird combo.

Side note: Thanks to the Facebook wall comments, I was made aware of the fact that there was a typo in the article.  I said “my wife and I” when I should have said “my wife and me.”  My college degree is in English, of all things.  So that’s one embarrassing faux pas.  I went back and fixed it.

To some,  I came across as a snob who thinks I am better than other parents and that my parenting style is superior to theirs.  Similarly, these same readers jumped at the chance to criticize me for disagreeing with their own parenting technique.  Is it safe to assume that these readers who so passionately disagree think that their parenting style is superior to mine?

As parents, we all do what works best for us and what we believe will be best for our children.  We all have controversial parenting styles compared to other parents out there.

But while it may appear that I am clueless or fanatical to be so darn positive, just know this: My head may be in the clouds, but my feet are planted firmly on solid ground.

Intentional symbolism.


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  1. by Julia

    On July 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I hear ya. Sometimes I feel like my readers hate me more than my patients and I am a dentist so THAT is quite a feat.

    Keep your head up, your blog is awesome. Controversial is way better than boring, right?

  2. by Nick Shell

    On July 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks Julia. I always make a point to check your blog everyday to see if you’ve published a new post. I’ve read every single one. I really do enjoying reading what you have to say :)

  3. by Kenn

    On July 10, 2011 at 5:24 am

    That’s why I don’t write for any major publications. I’m sure they all want me, but haven’t gotten the nerve to ask me, but I’d turn them down. Yep, I prefer writing my opinions on Facebook. Just this morning, not 30 minutes ago, I posted, “Hey! Farts smell!” and anywhere else, I’d wait for the hammer to fall and go through the emotional roller coaster of people damning and praising my work. On Facebook, I don’t have to track down the detractors at their house and tell them to shut up anymore. I can simply block them. One click, maybe two, and all I hear is what a genius I am. But you’re a tough guy, Nick. You can wade through the heartaches and triumphs, so don’t let them get you down. You keep being honest to yourself…And, if you want, we’ll go road-tripping this fall and put everyone in their respective places.

  4. by Kenn

    On July 10, 2011 at 5:26 am

    I recently read somewhere that you have a road trippable car…

  5. by Nick Shell

    On July 10, 2011 at 6:11 am

    You and I should tour the US. Help me think of a good name for our blog tour.

  6. by Kenn

    On July 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

    The Settin’ Suckas Straight Tour

  7. [...] this post from The DadaBase on Twitter over my lunch hour.  Title: “Parenting is the Most Controversial Thing I Do, [...]