How Much Do You Care What Other Parents Think?
A year and a half.
Culturally, as children of The Eighties, we’ve been taught we’re not supposed to care what other people think about us. But really, is that even possible? Especially as parents, shouldn’t we care… at least a little?
In my office I work with a guy who, at least once a week, declares, “I could care less what people think about me!” The funny thing is, he has said it enough times that I no longer believe him.
I’m convinced that he wants people to think he doesn’t care; therefore, he cares what people think of him.
When it comes to being a parent, I suppose it can be easy to put yourself in a position to be judged and analyzed by other parents.
“Why did you decide to circumcise your son?”
“Oh, you don’t let him drink fruit juice?”
“You did the ‘cry it out’ method with him? Don’t you know that traumatizes a kid?”
So much polarization in parenting.
Here’s the thing about me. I do care about what people think about me… to an extent. And I think it’s important that I do.
It matters that I’m not a racist, a bigot, a gossip, a chauvinist, or a self-centered jerk. There are all kinds of things I don’t what to be perceived as. Like a bad father.
What would make me a bad parent? Not caring. Choosing not to be involved in my son’s life.
But when it comes to being perceived as wrong about all those numerous controversial parenting issues… well, that’s cool with me.
Because the thing is, when it comes to every and any issue in life in general, there’s a pretty good chance I’m wrong at least half the time. Especially in being a dad.
And being “wrong” in the eyes of the slight majority doesn’t mean I’m not a good father. Whether or not I’m being “normal enough” is irrelevant to me.
Accordingly, I just don’t have time to worry about other parents.
For example, I am absolutely against medicating my child for ADHD at any point. But how do I feel about parents who do?
Don’t care. Not my kid.
So what do I care about? I care that I have my own convictions on how I will raise my son and that I stick to them. If I have questions, I will seek the advice of people I respect. Not worry myself about it.
I want to say today that ultimately, I honestly don’t care what other parents think about me as a parent.
While I’m at it, I would love to also proclaim that I don’t judge other parents when I disagree with their parenting style, as I deal with the plank in my own eye as opposed to the perceived speck of dust in the eyes of other parents.
But like the coworker who I mentioned earlier, do I really feel this way or do I just want you to think I do?
That is the question.