Jan 10 2016 - Jan 12 2016

On Parenting In The Online World: 2016-01-10

I believe parenting has changed somewhat, of course it has always been morphing from one generation to the next, but lately with the new digital age, social media, the ability to discuss it on a worldwide scale with ease, it has changed radically, or at least our perception of it.

We can not surround ourselves in an echo chamber, ignoring anyone who has a different point of view and only listening to those who agree on the same stances we do. We need to be challenged, to embrace new ideas, consider everything with logic and reason, but also love and compassion. We always need to be open to at least considering new ideas, seeing things from different view points, to be stuck in one set of tracks is to lose out on so much.

At the same time we can't let negativity fill our lives. It's one thing to be open to other people's opinions and ideas, but constant arguments about everything, having people question your every decision can get to you, bring you down. It is about balance, you need people in your life who will argue with you, and people who will agree with you. Try to explore every facet of parenting you can, but of course don't over burden yourself.

I think because parenting styles are such a personal choice it's easy to feel attacked when we are not, and easier to get offended over things we would not have gotten offended over before. We go on the defensive, trying to make it feel like we are making the right choices, we want that self affirmation, so we sometimes ignore others or attack their choices to make ours seem better.

In the end just like parenting, the online world has so many choices as well. Different online forums offer different levels of s safe space. You can choose who you interact with online, and what levels of interaction you want with those who disagree with you, or would attack you on their own, to defend themselves as well. I think a lot of times we feel judged when we are not, we become so self conscious with our parenting decisions that we feel people looking at us, judging us. When your toddler throws a fit at the store we feel all the eyes burning on us, but chances are most of the parents there have been through the same, they are not judging though it feels like it, they are sympathizing. I think we are actually judged about 1/100th of what we actually think we are. This puts us more on the defensive than we need to be, makes us become offensive, it causes us to become more offended, as we feel judged so much.

We enter this social media bubble, and the more we are in it and surrounding ourselves with like opinions, the more we think the whole world agrees with us. If you spend all your time on forums that are anti-X, you will think the majority of the world agrees on anti-X, but that could be far from the truth. The more we enter this bubble, the more easily we can get offended by other points of view, as we think they detract more and more from reality. And as we get offended we shut them out, instead of reasoning, examining, understanding, and we go further into the bubble and thus become even more slighted by differing opinions.

Parents have gone on the defensive, everything they say is always met with an counter example or argument, every decision questioned and debated, and when we get defensive we get offensive. We attack others who parent differently as a way of feeling more secure about our own choices, we get into this mindset there is only one correct way to parent. We need to realize there are many different ways to parent, we can not hold judgment over each other.

I think the most important thing is to always look where the other person is coming from, see things from their perspective, their view. Try to understand their side before combating it. Basic high school debate, always research the other side. When you come at something from a place of understanding instead of ignorance conversations tend to go better. It is so easy to be reactive and emotional, especially as parenting is one of the most emotional subjects we can broker, they are our children. My mind is never 100% made up on anything, everything can and always might be subject to change at any time, especially given a good counter argument.

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