Talking to other parents about your rules for your child
Parenting can feel like a constant game of second-guessing at times, especially when the rules you have for your baby seem to conflict with some of the rules other parents set (or don’t set). If you’re receiving backlash for your rules, whether they’re seen as too permissive or too uptight, it’s natural to wonder if you’re doing right by your child.
The rules you’ve set forth are based on your core beliefs about what’s best for your baby - if you’re wondering if you should start bending your rules, it’s a great time to think through why you set them to begin with. When you’re out in the world, it can be helpful to have a plan in place for how to talk through your family’s policies with other adults who might not have the same rules in place.
- Keep it non-judgmental: Any playdate will reveal differences between parenting styles, and while other parents may not have the same rules for their children, it doesn’t necessarily mean either of you is wrong in how you parent. A common disagreement among parents, for example, is the issue of screen time. While some parents have no issue with their children watching television or using a tablet, your household may be screen-free. While it’s best to let the issue be, in some cases, you may need to express your rules - especially if another parent is babysitting your baby. If you keep the conversation light, and just say your rule simply, without getting into it too far. Being clear about your rule should let the other parent know that you hope they’ll offer activities when they’re watching your baby that respect your rules.
- Know when to bend: You may have a strict bedtime routine in place at home, and work hard to keep it in place at all times. There will be occasions, however, that you may have to bend your routine a little. A birthday party your baby really wants to attend may mean skipping her afternoon nap, and holiday celebrations sometimes lead to a later bedtime. If you think it’s appropriate, don’t feel bad about bending your own rules now and again.
- Stay firm on important matters: Some of the rules you have place may be safety-related, or very important to your family for other reasons. In these cases, you should feel confident in standing your ground. If a friend wants to let their child on an amusement park ride your child isn’t ready for, let them know you won’t be changing your mind - you’re the person who knows your baby best, and the one who’s responsible for her safety. Other parents in your life should be able to respect the rules you set for your baby, just like you respect their choices for their children.
It can be hard to feel like the odd one out, but if you keep the reasons why you set up your rules in mind, you should feel confident standing your ground. Parents who respect you will respect your rules, too.
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