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Unpopular Parenting

19 July 2010 22 Comments

One would like to hope that the peer pressure to act a certain way ends when you become an adult. But I am finding that it keeps on keeping on. I am not talking about the desire to “keep up with the Jonses”. The desire to have what other people have will rear its ugly head until the day we die, but I think there is something even more dangerous. It is the desire to be a well liked parent.

I have always fought against the notion that parents should ever be their children’s friends. But when you actually become a parent, it is really difficult to have your children dislike you. And you know what I am finding even more difficult? Having other children’s parents dislike you because you make different parenting decisions then they do.

I am an admittedly strict parent. And so some of the decisions my husband and I make are met ,at best, odd stares. At worst, some rude comments. The thing is, whenever you make a decision about your parenting when other people are doing things differently it feels like judgment. Even when it isn’t. For instance if you homeschool, you must think all other parents who send there kids to, gasp, public school are just feeding their kids to the wolves. Sometimes decisions that work for one family are simply that. Decisions that work for one family.

Here is the deal. We make decisions because we have thought them out and decided this is the way we want to run OUR family. Hopefully the decisions you make for your family are similarly well thought out. I am certainly willing to entertain the thought that the way I do things isn’t for everyone. But it is the right way for us. Even if it is weird/ different/ unpopular. Even if it makes my kids weird/ different/ unpopular.

At the end of the day I don’t want to be voted world’s most popular mom by my kids. And I certainly don’t expect to win the award with other parents. I just want to do my best for my family to raise respectful, loving, competent adults that someday, despite my unpopular decisions know that I only wanted what was best for them. If that happens, all the rest won’t matter anyway.

How about you? Do you find yourself making unpopular decisions?

The winner of the contest is Megan with the email address: m*********@mac.com

Jill Anderson is a mother, wife, and blogger. She is a member of the BornFree Mom Panel.


  • Karianna said:

    I definitely end up making choices that other parents may see as being “wrong” – but since I’ve made those choices based on my particular children’s needs, they are “right” to our family. I try to keep this in mind when I see other parents making choices that seem “off” to me at first glance; but, it is true that we judge things that are different from us.

    Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to think subjectively about such things – they believe that their reality is the objective truth. I think what hurts me the most is that in doing what I find works for my child, I end up being very lonely. It isn’t that I want to be crowned the world’s best mother; rather, it is that I wish I could avoid the criticism. After all, you don’t want to be friends with “that mother” whose child is “the troublemaker.” If you don’t respect the parent’s choices, you won’t respect the parent as a person.

    Just as in junior high, we want to “fit in” – not for praise, but for acceptance. :)

  • Lauren said:

    Author never even mentioned how she parents, or what’s so ” unpopular” about her descisions?!?

  • Lauren said:

    So to me this was pointless- who doesn’t make descisions based on their family needs/wants?! This blog makes it seems she hits her children. She never claifired so that’s all I can think of

  • Meagan Jackson said:

    I have to agree with Lauren, there is no real information here. I don’t have a problem with ways people parent their children, unless they are harming them. For example, here in Arkansas it is still legal to spank your child with a belt. Do I agree with that? Absolutely NOT. There are some people who shouldn’t be parents- and they need to be judged in order to protect those children. Of course, I’m sure the blogger is not talking about parenting decisions in such extremes.

  • Katy Galloway said:

    Every family is different and will do things differently. I would like to hear about what those unpopular decisions are that the author mentions? I just had my first child that is almost 6 months old. We are just learning the ends and outs of parenthood. I’ve heard about those families that have never had to spank their children and I would really like to know how they do it and make it work from the start. I would love to be able to have that control and discipline and make her mind and have respect as she grows up without ever having to whip/spank her. There are a lot of people I know family and friends who do and have always whipped/spanked their kids. If anyone has any tips on ways to never have to spank let me know how you did it….:)

  • Jen said:

    I try not to judge how others parent. Each child comes with their own set of difficulties and sometimes parents need to go outside the box to handle them. As long as the child is safe and happy, that’s all the matters.

  • Heidi said:

    I think at some point in time, every parent is going to make an unpopular parenting decision. What works for some, doesn’t work for others. When making parenting decisions you’re tailoring those decisions to meet the needs of your family specifically. Of course others may disagree because their family is different and has different needs. I know some families with children that have never needed to be spanked. One word was reprimand enough. For others, like my strong willed children, a spanking is sometimes necessary. It really just depends on the kids.

  • Taylor P said:

    Parenting just begs to be judged and asks for opinions.

  • Sara said:

    Everyone always has an opinion on everything, mine is that as long as I am not hurting my child then I’m doing a good job, Regardless of if I am making a popular or an unpopular decision.

  • Ashley P said:

    I can deal with the opinions of family members, but strangers can just keep it to themselves.

  • Samantha Ballinger said:

    Great read. I totally agree that what works for one family might not work for others and what worked for our parents might not work for us. I am doing what I feel is best for our daughter.

  • Felicity B said:

    Every mother/father makes decisions based on their own family. I’ve only been a mom a little more than a year, and have run into criticism from parents and grandparents and have to battle criticism on a daily basis, but I wouldn’t change the way I do things. If everyone would just respect everyone elses parenting styles we would all be better off. Rather than criticize, why not just take what you don’t like and make an effort to do things differently in your own family.

  • angela tuttle said:

    I often find that the parenting decisions are met with odd glances or criticizing words, especially from my children’s grandparents, but I know that no matter what our children are just that our children, and the decisions we make are for a good reason popular or not!

  • Dawn said:

    Challenging trying to be the best you can be as a parent. I try to accept that I’ve made thebest decision for my daughter as I can at that moment and learn from it. We are always quick to criticize others for what t they do. Grandparents and great are critical based on experiences, excepting that for What it is is a challenge in itself. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a parent and make mistakes, I’m not perfect.

  • Jen @ Mommy Instincts said:

    Yes, we do make parenting decisions that aren’t “normal”.

    We don’t fully-vaccinate our kids, we co-sleep, we homeschool. These are all “not normal” to those so-called “normal” parents out there. I do wonder how THEY are the one’s who get to be normal, but WE are the one’s being ” not normal” or deviating from what is socially acceptable.

    I don’t judge other people for vaccinating their kids. I don’t judge them for thinking “Cry It Out” is a good method. If it is what works for them, then great. If it doesn’t, then maybe how “I” parent might work for them.

    That’s the beauty of living in the United States. We have so many options and freedoms. So embrace them. And those that judge, please stop. There is no good coming from judgemental people. And those that don’t judge, thank you, it makes life easier for everyone. ;-)

  • Amanda martinez said:

    I understand this completely. My fiancé and I chose to be religious and take our child to church every Sunday and to raise her in that community. We also choose not to drink or swear, but our families are less than supportive. Some of the parents of the children our child is around do not respect this either and choose instead to parent our child the way they parent theirs. We knew it would happen but would appreciate some support on at least some level.

  • Meredith said:

    I couldn’t agree more…it’s amazing the “peer-pressure” involved in interacting with the parent set. My daughter is a bit of a free spirit and we like to encourage her to explore (she’s only 14 mos old). While at a class the other day where her 12-24month-old friends were sharing the space with 2-3 1/2 year olds, we were met by evil stares when I allowed her to take a toy onto the jungle-gym. Another mother was trying to teach her daughter that the toys belong in one space and should not be brought on the climbing equipment. I completely understood the desire to teach her daughter as well as her frustration when we didn’t follow her rules, but then again, don’t I have the right to teach my daughter, and really who wants to be arguing with a toddler ALL DAY LONG about what toys should go where?

  • Megan said:

    I think you have to do what is best for you and your family and go with it. Just like each person is different we all have different ways of doing things. In the end you have to do what makes you and your family happy.

  • Michelle Bunn said:

    I totally agree. It is the one area people feel they have the right to tell you what you are doing is wrong in their opinion. So much of the time it is in a back handed comment. It has been one of the most frustrating part of being a parent.

  • Emily said:

    I think every parent has had to deal with being “unpopular” at some point. No matter what you do, you’re likely to run into at least one person who thinks that you’re doing it badly/wrong/strangely/whatever, and most of those people don’t have it in them to keep their opinions to themselves.

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