Do or Don’t? Commenting on the Parenting Styles of Others

Other peoples parenting

Other people’s parenting styles. Is it ever okay to comment on and/or question it?

Maybe you have a friend who does everything for his/her child, and you think they’re doing nothing but fostering the child’s dependence on others.

Perhaps you have a relative who’s installed their infant’s car seat incorrectly.

Or maybe, you think your colleague feeds her child too much junk food.

In an informal Facebook poll, I asked my friends and acquaintances if it is ever okay to comment on/question a friend or relative’s parenting. Respondents were asked to answer “yes,” “no,” or “it depends.” For the latter response, individuals were asked to provide an example of when saying something would be warranted.

One respondent had this to say: “(Commenting or questioning someone’s parenting) depends on the situation, familiarity with the situation, and your motive. You can helpful or hurtful depending on the circumstance.”

Another person responded: “It depends whether or not your comment is worth more than your relationship with that person (whose parenting you’re calling into question). If not, keep it to yourself.

Several other respondents indicated they would comment and/or question someone’s parenting if they were making choices that harmed their child(ren) and/or put them in danger.

I feel like the last scenario could get tricky, as harm and danger are open to interpretation. To some, choosing to formula feed a child may be construed as harmful.

What I gathered from my little Facebook poll is that nothing is black and white. The older I get, the more I question whether anything in life is, but that’s a topic for another day. Sure, there have been times I wanted to say something about a friend or relative’s parenting, but truthfully, I will never be in that parent’s shoes, and they’ll never be in mine. So long as someone’s parenting techniques/choices and child’s behavior don’t directly affect me or my child, I’ve found it best to keep quiet.

What do you think, fellow parents? Is it ever okay to comment on and/or question another parent’s techniques/choices?

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6 thoughts on “Do or Don’t? Commenting on the Parenting Styles of Others

  1. No, despite your motive, reason etc… you are judging someone else. You never know the full story, you never know their reasoning or the parent is much harder on themselves anyway they don’t need your comment. And really how perfect are you to be commenting? I read a blog where someone actually went and counted all of the times the Mom did something the commenter considered harmful in the name of protecting the children. Honestly? I’m too busy to ‘care’ about someone else’s family that much and would much rather concentrate on being the best I can be. And when asked for advice… “well everyone is different but with our first child we did this…, with our second we did this… if I would do it a third time this is what I’ve learned… hope these options helped.”

  2. If the child is in danger, yes you should say something. Most people judge parent skills over silly things but stay quiet in abuse or endangerment. I don’t get it.

  3. I have worked in childcare and have seen many types of parenting and the only unsolicited comments I have ever made to another parent was about crib bumpers, stuffed toys, and heavy blankets in cribs because of SIDS. Some people really don’t know the risks.

  4. I am a child raised by her mother. Life definitely was not fair to me. However my sister was raised by both her mother and our father and we both ended up with the same outcome. Can someone please explain to me how being raised by both parents is better than one. No we are not exactly the same, however my sister was raised by both parents and is a whole lot worse off than myself and I was raised by a single alcoholic mother and I turned out better!!

  5. This is a very useful article, and I enjoyed reading it. As a matter of fact I am with this opinion: “Commenting or questioning someone’s parenting) depends on the situation, familiarity with the situation, and your motive. You can helpful or hurtful depending on the circumstance”

  6. Every parent has their own style so we need to respect them for it. But this situation is case to case basis, maybe you can comment when it’s too much but know your limitations.

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