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To think that there are many many right ways to bring up a child?

(27 Posts)
N0tinmylife Tue 26-Mar-13 14:04:40

Reading through all the threads on MN, it seems as if every other thread is about what is the "right" way to bring up your child. FF v's BF, unconditional parenting v's conditional parenting, big families, small families, and many more.

Are they not all "right" if they work for the individual family? Apart from cases where there is some form of neglect or abuse, which is obviously wrong. The vast majority of children, grow up to be reasonable functioning adults, and I would take a wild guess that they are all brought up differently, as if there was only one way that worked, we would surely all be doing it?

Maybe we should all try and give each other a break, and stop trying to prove our way is the right way? I think we are all just basically muddling along, trying not to screw up our children too much, and we need to stop over thinking it, and all do what feels right to us?

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 26-Mar-13 14:12:27

I've been thinking about this. It seems to me that we have it backwards. For example, my DD eats like a dream but is a crap sleeper. Now, if it were about my parenting I should immediately write a book about how to get your child to eat. However, I really think I am an expert on sleep from being in the trenches.

I think people think their child's accomplishments are down to their awesome parenting and their issues are down to the child. They read a bunch of unqualified 'experts' who are also useless at working out nature/nurture and parenting as well.

We should give each other a break. So, your child doesn't tantrum. Bully for you. Mine doesn't whine. Not your parenting or mine, just luck. Yes, you can manage their behaviour but they are the way they are when they are little. Play to your child's strengths and try to avoid guilt, either for you or for your child.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 14:18:23

If anyone supports a particular approach to bringing up children they are either a. the parent of a baby, so have little clue what is ahead or b. a really excellent parent.

It wouldn't have mattered which child rearing approach I had picked, I'd still have failed to follow it. What I have actually done is battled through so far to the teen years without any of my children becoming a criminal, a bully, mean spirited, significantly underachieving for their actual ability or incredibly unhappy. I am going to try and consider that okay and not regret all the mistakes I have made or all the ways in which I never was and never will be a parent who manages to bring their child up in the right way.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 14:24:10

Some are righter than others.

My way is the rightest.

Lueji Tue 26-Mar-13 14:25:55

What are you going on about???

There is only one way and it's my way.

Now, give me 200 children for 20 years and I'll prove it to you.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 26-Mar-13 14:26:56

< Runs up to Lueji and hands over DD> NO TAKESY BACKSY.

glenthebattleostrich Tue 26-Mar-13 14:28:01

I'm fairly certain that as long as you get the kids to 18, able to function as adults without abusing or neglecting them then your way is the right way!!

I am of course the perfect parent. My 2yo DD eats everything (including mud, flowers and other misc items) and only needs 8 hours sleep per night (spread over 14 hours of course).

Lueji Tue 26-Mar-13 14:30:18

MrsTerry grin

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 26-Mar-13 14:32:43

glen I have the exact same child. You know Lueji is willing to have them and never sleep again.

Someone on the Sleep topic says the non-sleeping ones are wildly intelligent and that is why they don't sleep. DD'd better become a bloody millionaire and keep me when I'm old.

SirChenjin Tue 26-Mar-13 14:38:08

As long as your children are polite, respectful, independent, confident and above all happy then you've brought them up correctly.

You may wish to refer to me on all matters relating to parenting from now on grin

VisualiseAHorse Tue 26-Mar-13 14:45:51

Hear, hear SirChenjin.

I think your main 'aim' as a parent is to bring up a child that is all of those things. Whether they sleep 2 hours a night or eat only olives and houmous, as long as they are decent human beings, I think that is enough.

But of course...I am clearly the best parent. Mine sleeps 12 hours straight every night doncha know?

MamaBear17 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:06:25

It annoys me that people get bogged down in the silly little things that we do differently, rather than the big things that we do the same. I follow Mayim Bialik's blog quite closely because I find her take on parenting really interesting. She has written a book on attachment parenting. Now, I do not consider myself an 'attachment parent' at all, although, by coincidence, I realise that by following my instincts I ended up doing certain things what might be deemed the 'AP' way. However, most of the elements of AP would not work for me and my dd. Neither would Gina Ford. Nor the baby whisperer, or good old Super Nanny (although I do love her). However, I would not judge another mum who followed any one of those 'styles'. Why? Because they love their kid enough to think carefully about how they want to raise them. Whether you follow a 'style' or not, the fact that someone takes great pains to ensure they are doing the best job they can is the most important thing. I also believe that I can learn from other mums who do things differently to me, if I judged them without considering their point of view, I would be shooting myself in the foot. Reserve judgement for those who abuse and neglect, and let the rest of the world get on with raising their kids.

MsAkimbo Tue 26-Mar-13 15:11:13

I wonder if our mothers/grandmothers ever sat around agonizing over their "parenting style."

If they did, no one would ever know, what with not having the internet.

Pandemoniaa Tue 26-Mar-13 15:23:27

I wonder if our mothers/grandmothers ever sat around agonizing over their "parenting style."

I think they did although the phrase "parenting style" was probably not in common parlance. Different theories about child raising are not new (my dm, who was born in 1925 recalls debates about natural childbirth and bf-v-ff but I rather think that whatever 'agonizing' occurred was in middle class homes. In working class homes I suspect the sheer burden of hard work that fell to most women left little time for pondering these matters in the way we take for granted nowadays. I also think that was a lot less labelling of things.

So far as my parenting style was concerned, I read every book going while expecting ds1. When it came to putting all this theory into practice I muddled along mainly using a mish-mash of what I'd agreed with in the books but in the main, instinct played the most significant part. Somehow, ds1 & 2 have reached their 30s remarkably unscathed.

YANBU though. There's no one way that's the right way. But then that's hardly surprising since there's no such thing as a standard issue baby or child either.

Exhaustipated Tue 26-Mar-13 15:33:17

YANBU. I have often wanted to post something similar. People do their best (except in cases of actual neglect) and children need love. Everything else is up to what works for individual parents/childen. That message wouldn't sell many books though would it or start many threads on MN

MsAkimbo Tue 26-Mar-13 15:39:43

Fair point Pandemonia.

Though I personally find that those who subscribe to a certain 'parenting style' will ONLY associate with like-minded parents. Talk about adding more pressure to new parents-you just have a baby and then need to figure out which clique you belong to already.

I think, back in the day, the attitude was a bit more lax as to what other people did with their children.

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 26-Mar-13 15:42:14


It doesn't really help that some people have rather extreme views on what is neglectful/abusive though. (I find it quite hurtful, as someone who was abused, to hear things that are really just normal parenting choices like cc with an older baby, or letting an older child cross roads on the way to school alone described as abuse/neglect)

Largely I think the passion comes from being defensive and unsure about your own choices. If you were that confident you wouldn't get bothered by what others do.

I'm sure it was ever the same.

NaturalBaby Tue 26-Mar-13 15:43:06

YANBU and in my opinion it happens on all threads, not just parenting. Let slip one minor detail too many and you get accusations or instructions not fitting the situation at all: leave the bastard, give up work, forget your ex, bf/ff, cry it out, co-sleep, throw the food in the bin, take your dc's to the GP/a&e.... there are many right ways to do a lot of things but the hysteria the way some people lead their lives is amazing.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 16:14:56

It is,as NaturalBaby says, across the board. People are insecure, they decide on a course of action and it has to be best-or even the only.
There is a misguided view that if you do a,b,c and d you end up as the 'perfect' parent with the 'perfect child. Life is not like that.
You have to respond to the child you have-e.g. you may have decided 'attachment parenting' is 'the' thing, which is fine unless you happen to have a baby who just wants to be put down and likes their own space.
We are all different, all children are different-one size doesn't fit all. One person's 'perfect' parent is another person's nightmare' parent -seen clearly on MIL threads where it is such a shame that those who think theirs are over involved can't swap with the ones who think they are under involved!

YouTheCat Tue 26-Mar-13 16:21:36

I recommend my approach - totally ignoring children until they do anything of worth or start working and giving you money. grin

SirChenjin Tue 26-Mar-13 17:35:46

I couldn't agree more TheCat grin

RawShark Wed 27-Mar-13 06:20:57

I agree. Everyone seems to accept there are different management styles for different personality types so why should it be different for parenting? Main thing is that it works OK. The thing that has put me most at ease recently was hearing an interview with NIgella Lawson where she said that she could only parent the way she was a person. NOt a fan of hers but that did resonate.

(would like to point out this doesn;t help at all when you are feeling shit about yourself)

N0tinmylife Wed 27-Mar-13 08:48:41

Hully, no my way is the rightest!!

Lueji, I would like to see you parent 200 children!

Glad to see IANBU though! smile

Lueji Wed 27-Mar-13 11:04:42

I obviously would't parent 200 children. shock

I'd pay surrogates. Doh.

100 would parent my way (the right way, by the way) and 100 would parent in another way (the controls).

I just need a sponsor...
<searchers for research sponsors who don't give a damn about ethics>

How much does a child cost these days?
<Calculates budget>


YouTheCat Wed 27-Mar-13 11:05:32


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