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to throughly dislike parenting labels?

(104 Posts)
TandB Tue 04-Oct-11 10:06:43

I suspect this whole craze for labelling our various parenting choices is a product of the internet forum age, as people find it easy to connect with others with similar opinions and interests, and they need quick and recognisable ways of describing certain practices when typing. But I do find this whole idea of parenting 'types' odd and irritating.

BLW. Babywearing. Cloth-nappying. Elimination communication. Co-sleeping. BFing. FFing. Unfooding. Unschooling. Unconditional parenting. Attachment parenting. CIO. CCing. The list goes on.

It's not so much the individual terms that bug me - if you are discussing something then you need to find a way of describing it. It is the way people try to create whole lifestyles or belief systems out of pretty simple parenting choices. I find this is particularly prevalent among people whose choices are different to the current mainstream. I use a sling full time and DS is in cloth nappies. When he was a baby we co-slept on and off and didn't have a routine as such. All of these things came about because they suited us as a family or because we believed that they were beneficial. They were individual choices, not part of some parenting ethos. But whenever I meet others who do any of these things they seem desperately keen to establish my natural parenting credentials. Do you 'do' unconditional parenting? Are you going to 'do' Steiner?

AIBU in finding this a bit illogical and artificial? Why does the method I choose to transport my child around, or the type of poo-catching device I employ make it any more likely that I will agree with a particular educational ethos or be evangelical about organic gardening? I don't get it. It just feels like someone has grouped together a random selection of things and set them up as the entry criteria for some sort of parenting club.

Oh you must try elimination communication with your next baby. Must I? Why? What if I don't want to? What if I don't see any benefit in it?
Oh you really should think about home-educating. Should I? Why? Because it is something you want to do?

Would I be unreasonable to scream 'because I bloody well don't want to' the next time someone raises an eyebrow and asks me why I don't do unconditional patenting? Or am I just hormonal and crabby? grin

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 04-Oct-11 10:08:31

It's not so much the individual terms that bug me - if you are discussing something then you need to find a way of describing it. It is the way people try to create whole lifestyles or belief systems out of pretty simple parenting choices.

That exactly. Other than that, I don't have an issue with it. It gives mummies something to do with their time wink

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 04-Oct-11 10:10:47

I don't even know what some of those are. What's CIO?

My children are both individuals and, as a result, get parented differently.

cory Tue 04-Oct-11 10:11:45

Can you have an Eclectic Parenting lifestyle? I think that's more or less me. smile

OTheHugeWerewolef Tue 04-Oct-11 10:12:33

What is 'elimination communication'? Is it some kind of guessing game where you work out what your child is trying to say by asking questions?

And unfooding. WTAF? Breatharian babies?


TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 04-Oct-11 10:13:38

Werewolef - I was just about to ask the same, but I think it's the practice of not using nappies at all and using your children's non-verbal cues to judge when they need toileting.

Or something equally ridiculous!

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 04-Oct-11 10:15:09


TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 04-Oct-11 10:16:21

"food journey" FFS.

BakeliteBelle Tue 04-Oct-11 10:18:34

Childrearing is a lucrative market and some people will buy into anything that makes them feel they are doing the right thing for their children, or makes them feel part of a group and able to project an image that tells people who they are and what their values are.

Often it's people who are trying to look individual who just appear to buy into everything that makes them look like a whole load of other people, e.g., the hippy types round our way.

We are being sold stuff all the time and when you first have a baby, it's hard to resist sometimes.

TandB Tue 04-Oct-11 10:18:46

Correct re unfooding and elimination communication. I have met people who do both and have had both practices shoved at me pretty hard.

I don't want to do them. [stamps foot]

I like the idea of eclectic parenting - you only qualify if your choices are suitably random.....

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Oct-11 10:19:56

I co slept and did Gina Ford - do I win and eclectic prize grin

AMumInScotland Tue 04-Oct-11 10:20:20

The thing is though, people do this all the time. It's just a bit more obvious when it's about parenting, as there are a range of things that they will think to ask you. But if you are friends/acquaintances with someone because you both have one thing in common, then they will want to know if you are "like them" in other ways too.

So you go to a knitting group, and people want you to like the same books as them, or the same music. "Oh you must go and see this film, you'll love it", etc. And then they are surprised when you say you'd rather go watch Saw 7 than the costume drama they're raving about.

gigglepigg Tue 04-Oct-11 10:20:52

i dont like labels full stop. Its way too much of a generalisation.

mainly its either trendy buzzwords, PC nonsense or psychobabble which makes no sense.

CailinDana Tue 04-Oct-11 10:22:16

Breatharian grin

The way I see it, people need a belief system, in fact it's been shown again and again in psychological studies that people tend to need a prescribed set of beliefs that they can sign up to, share with some and use to judge others. That's why religions are so popular. Now that religion isn't fashionable people go for more fashionable religious-type beliefs, centred around yoga, organic food and parenting. They exhibit the same irrational behaviour that religious people do - blind adherence to a system without much question, judgement of others who don't adhere to those beliefs, a need to pass this system onto children and others etc etc.

It's pretty normal behaviour but annoying at the same time.

bigkidsdidit Tue 04-Oct-11 10:24:40

Where I am this is very prevalent in real life too and I hate it because I don't fit in anywhere sad I too use a sling pretty much all the time, and breastfed. But I did not do blw because I hate mopping and I nightweaned DS so I could get a decent sleep when I went back to work. But it's all so segregated here that eg the breastfeeding clinic runs a blw picnic and I feel that the sling users don't approve of DS having his own room etc etc.

CailinDana Tue 04-Oct-11 10:26:42

Just ignore the judgement bigkids. I know it's difficult but think of it in the same as you would if someone was judging you for not being Catholic or Muslim or some such, they would seem a bit mad but you'd probably forgive them for being a bit sheltered and old fashioned. People will always find ways to judge others.

caramelwaffle Tue 04-Oct-11 10:27:42

"It's not so much the individual terms that bug me - if you are discussing something then you need to find a way of describing it. It is the way people try to create whole lifestyles or belief systems out of pretty simple parenting choices."

Oh yes. Double ditto this.

Breatharian - love it grin

bonkers20 Tue 04-Oct-11 10:29:17

I am the perfect Attachment Parent (no crying, sling, co-sleeping, extended BF, BLW), except for the fact I go out to work! Oooops grin

Takver Tue 04-Oct-11 10:30:58

Dunno whether you're unreasonable or not, but your link has made my morning, TenantofWildfellHall smile

(had never heard of 'unfooding' - other than as what a bunch of 9 y/os does to my cupboards)

bigkidsdidit Tue 04-Oct-11 10:31:33

It's ok - we normal mums occasionally find each other in the cafe!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Oct-11 10:33:05

I don't think I even like the term 'parenting'. Parent is a noun and we used to be good parents, bad parents, strict parents, relaxed parents etc... with the emphasis on the attitude and actions of the individual. When parent became a verb that seemed to spawn the idea that it was some kind of collective movement with factions, spin-off groups and fashion trends.

I am a parent... I do not parent.

TheCountessOlenska Tue 04-Oct-11 10:35:25

I think people sometimes think I'm a certain "type" of parent because I still breastfeed DD at 18 months and she sleeps in my bed. But I'm just too lazy to wean her and I like my sleep!

When I'm not breastfeeding and co-sleeping, she can often be found in a forward facing pushchair, with a fruit-shoot in her gob, while I have a good going through the racks at primark.

I don't like putting people in boxes.

Fo0ffyShmooffer Tue 04-Oct-11 10:37:15

Agree with the above. It also comes across as validation.

" I am ( insert parenting term here ). It has a LABEL which makes it the BEST parenting practice and subsequently makes me the BEST parent compared to you, bumbling along mother. It also gives me carte blanche to shove it down your throat".

* I am bumbling along Mother *

RIZZ0 Tue 04-Oct-11 10:37:54


I met an "unconditionally parented" child recently. What a little swine he was!

MumblingRagDoll Tue 04-Oct-11 10:38:20

I began a very similar thread a while really riled some people. I think that as well as it being a product of the internet age, it's also a phenomonen partly to do with businesses being grabby and realising there is a lot of cash to be made from insecure or hobbyist parents.

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