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Why We Divide Ourselves into Parenting Tribes

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

The breastfeeding brouhaha that Stacey referenced recently got me thinking about how many parenting conflicts are basically made up, yet divide parents into tribes. Breastfeeding is not a bad example of this: While the benefits of breastfeeding seem incontrovertible, the degree of the benefit is not nearly as large as the loudest advocates seem to suggest.

The same is true across a whole spectrum of other "conflicts." Attachment parenting works for some parents. "Cry it out" works for others. While everyone agrees that organic foods are probably ideal, some people are far more militant about reading the label. We've got the public vs. private debate, the go-to-work vs. stay-at-home debate and the minivan vs. SUV debate.

Some of these debates are just fodder for cocktail parties (or the modern-parent version of the cocktail party: the non-drop-off birthday party), but the longer I'm a parent, the more I see parents defining themselves around these little conflicts. There are parenting gurus ready to offer anecdotes supporting that worldview, and endless magazines articles fanning the flames.

And I'm not immune; I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes at the extremists, especially the extremists whose take on parenting is a bit different from mine. (For the record, I like to think I'm a moderate member of the bottle-is-OK, cry-it-out, organics-are-not-a-tonic-for-everything, pro-public, go-to-work, minivan tribe.)

I'm sure some of this may be the usual human effort to find similarities with people (including, I fear, socio-economic similarities), but I'm curious to get your take: What are some of the other tribes you've seen, why do you think we divide ourselves up this way and -- fess up -- what parenting tribes are you a part of?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  March 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  The Debate
Previous: 'In the Motherhood': The Reviews Are In | Next: "No Touch" -- Again

Comments


We're military and we move a lot and every place we've ever moved to seems to have a schism between The Parents who Hate (or at least want to improve or restructure) the Elementary School, and the Parents who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Elementary School. And it's a difficult line to cross or move back and forth between, in my opinion.


In our last location, I was clearly in the camp of parents who thought the principal was certifiably insane and that the last thing in the world we needed was Chinese in kindergarten and that one should be very wary indeed of a principal who visits the kindergarten class during art project time dressed in a white linen suit and then goes ballistic when a child TOUCHES her-- but strangely enough, in our present location, I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the principal and am having a really hard time being friends with my neighbor when every conversation seems to revolve around the fact that she hates the school, the principal, etc. It's even more awkward because our girls are in the same class, and according to my child, the problem isn't the principal, it's Chelsea, the fourth grader. Sometimes the schism between Hate the School and Love the School reflects some deeper philosophical schism (those of us who think it's abuse to jumpstart your baby and would actually prefer to unschool them as they ran naked through the forest eating homegrown vegetables and reading books that they chose themselves vs. those who actually bought the "Your baby Can Read" CD's being hawked on TV)-- but I think it's a significant rift in most communities.

Posted by: Justsaying4 | March 30, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I think I am in the fewer-the-chemicals-the-better, independence-is-not-a-bad-thing, SUV, slow-fuse, laid-back-about-everything-but-respect tribe. Of course I have it harder and easier. Harder because some of the things I believe are not what their parents believe. I am completely not into Cocoa Puffs as a viable breakfast. I am out numbered. I believe in recycling. The only reason why I am NOT outnumbered is because they teach it in school! SS wants to recycle.

I have it easier because I am not completely responsible for the complete well-being kids so there is a whole class of things I don't have to deal with like schools and teachers.

On the other hand, an acquaintance of mine went totally off on me and she accused me of being a complete control freak. Why you might ask? Because SS most often doesn't want to do anything but play and I expressed my frustration in front of her. She thinks it is terrible that I make him help set the table. He is 6.5 for clarification. She thought that was completely beyond his capabilities and I was forcing him to be a mini-adult. When I suggested that I wasn't being unreasonable in my expectations because his sister at 3 years old was setting the table she was aghast that I was comparing them. I didn't say I was comparing them. I was serving her up as an example that a 6.5 year should be capable of the task if a 3 year could do it. And when he wants to eat outside which requires EVERYONE to help me... he is eager to help... because he loves to eat outside. So he is capable... just not necessarily willing.

So maybe I am in the control freak tribe? I don't know and nor do I care what tribes other parents are in. I am more than happy to listen to other people's points of view in case I might learn something that is suitable for my children but ultimately I don't really care what you do as long as it is not abusive. And I have learned lots. We have greatly improved SS's performance at school by offering up money for good weekly report cards - Thanks laura33. 2 out of 3 report cards have come back acceptable since we started it.

Posted by: Billie_R | March 30, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey, you forgot the "wouldn't be caught dead in a mini-van OR an SUV" tribe!

Posted by: SP1231 | March 30, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Billie,

Unless there's more to the story, then I don't think you're a control freak for asking a child that age to do a chore or two. How else do they learn responsibility and a sense that they're a part of a family that works together?

Is there a "fumbling-through-doing-whatever-works" tribe? If so, then we're part of it. For instance, I was never an attachment parenting proponent, but with this baby I seem to be attachment parenting. It's just what works best right now with this child.

Other than that, I don't think I belong to a tribe. There are certain issues that I care about, but only as relates to my kids -- what do I care what someone else feeds their own kids?

Posted by: newsahm | March 30, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I reside in the 'do whatever works for you and don't tell me how to raise my kids' tribe.

wife and i really don't socialize outside of our tribe. the instant someone raises an eyebrow about our parenting it's buh-bye.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | March 30, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Interesting @9:31, I agree I am in the whatever works fo you camp, but I socialize with people of all tribes. I am not a shrinking violet though. If there is a snide remark or erroneous assumption about a school, parent, kid, activity - I voice my opinion. Don't let the knuckleheads get away with being the "know it alls." Make some space between the troublemakers and yourself without being rude and life gets much simpler.

I don't understand the need to label and pidgeonhole ourselves. For the most part I trust parents to make decisions related to their children, schools, cars and whatever else is listed above. Heck, I even trust people WITHOUT kids, call me radical!

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Wacky Weasel's response to this ought to be interesting....

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article - I suppose the bigger your family the more likely you are to revert into your "tribe"...having said that, there are more and more online communities where you can gain advice and tips for your family - do these not count? There's sites like the pregnancy and parenting site gurgle, and indeed blogs like this one - are we not spreading our wings by being on here?

Posted by: astock123 | March 30, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Newsahm,

As far as I know there is nothing more to the story. I was expressing my frustration that my step-son was almost always uncooperative and argumentative when it came to things like chores and homework and it was frustrating the h*ll out of me. I think I was focusing on his homework and his problems at school. I truly don't think we force the kids to do too much. Well.. ok.. I don't actually know what my husband does on Saturday while I work. I know he makes SS do extra schoolwork.

So I was kvetching about my frustration at my stepson when this woman stepped into the conversation. She said things like... they aren't mini adults and I only made my 6 year old empty the bathroom garbage can. You are expecting too much of them. We 'make' our kids occasionally(so not every meal) help set the table and clear off the table. They help me put away the groceries every week and I force them to clean up their toys before they go back to their mother. Often times one of them will help me empty the dishwasher or even cook - usually SD. This is usually voluntary. They might get asked to do some other 30 seconds chores to help me.

And I got an earful about how I didn't contact the teacher and my husband was a bad parent because he lets the mother make the majority of the decisions (that is the sense I get). They DO live with her so it makes sense that she makes most of the decisions. I have the least amount of control over anything and at best I can give suggestions to my husband about what I think - sometimes my suggestions are taken and sometimes not. Which then led to her saying I owed it to the children to be friendly with the mother. I have tried and discovered it was best to stay away from her. I am friendly to her when I have to meet her but don't go out of my way to do so. Later on, someone told me that the teacher would not likely speak to me without one of the other parents present so to ignore that part of the conversation.

The whole thing left me pretty shaken as I don't have children of my own and I was wondering if I was really messing up in my attempt to parent. I do the best I can with the children. I try to show them love, consistency, give encouragement, discipline them, help them, play with them. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Like I shared last week... I sure wasn't happy that were going to have the kids every single day for the next little while. Over that... I just needed some time to adjust to the radical change in schedule. And when I am tired and frustrated, I have other uncharitable thoughts that I keep to myself. I asked a couple of friends about them and they said it was normal even towards your own children.

Posted by: Billie_R | March 30, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

i agree - there's room for lots of different people in our 'live and let live' tribe.

in our experience, parents who lament "i can't believe you do/don't let your child ______" are just exposing their true colors that bleed into every part of their lives. we really don't have time for those people.

don't get me wrong, we're not staying home hiding from these people, they're simply not included as friends.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | March 30, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I have an SUV, but I'm really tempted to join the minivan tribe. But I really want something fuel efficient. Is there something about sliding doors that makes a hybrid engine verboten?

How about the "No TV at all" tribe vs. the "Oh my G-d, my family is completely addicted, how can this end" tribe? Normally I am pretty easy going as a parent, so I thought by just letting the kiddo watch as much TV as he wants as long as it is age appropriate, he would eventually find a happy balance and learn to turn off the TV without prompting from me. But alas, it seems he would prefer to zone-out in front of the boob tube more than anything else. So I'm tempted to unhook the cable.

"Oh, the channel you want isn't coming in? I'm sure it'll be better later. Meanwhile, lets go outside, bake cookies, read to your baby sister, play with the wii, watch a dvd of the show you like."

If I'm upfront, it seems more punitive than necessary. He'll throw a huge fit and probably try to reconnect the cable and likely knock the TV over and break it. I'm telling you, the kid LOVES TV. Especially Disney Channel. If I could set it up so that we only get non-commercial channels, I wouldn't hate TV so much. anyone know if I could do that?

I note that the "No TV" parents seem much more relaxed.

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 30, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, We agree more than we disagree, as in, at a certain point if people (parents, individuals) become obnoxious and/or toxic then the relationship serves no purpose. I don't exactly enjoy confrontation, but at this point in my life I am not afraid of it either.

My opinion is that what happens in so many circumstances with parents and parenting issues is that people are unwilling to civily speak their mind. Reasonable people can have reasonable exhanges, but if you come across a real PC weenie or blowhard - speak up - and maybe they will stop bothering people. Maybe they won't, but as the saying goes: Be Not Afraid.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm in the live and let live tribe.
I think there are way too many options for everything. I think some people feel that the way to validate their own opinions and choices is for others to do exactly as they do - and if someone chooses otherwise, they are not validated, so they have to push down the person who did differently.
This is done by people who aren't quite comfortable with their decisions, I think. I have different ideas and want different things that some other people (and the same as some, too) but some people seem to think that that says something about *their* style (parenting or other type of life decision).

Just my two cents.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Billie, it sounds to me like you're doing the best you can in a less-than-ideal situation. I say, cut yourself some slack and ignore what that other mom said.

Posted by: newsahm | March 30, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

capitolhill mom: you may want to check out the mazda 6, I think it is. It's a tiny car, but it seats six. I would suspect it has relatively good mileage.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I hear you Cheeky, but we put comments/criticism/outrage over how people raise their children in a different category.

we love to engage in social/political/pop culture debates/discussions with our friends. And we often discuss our child raising activities, but we keep it in the context of "oh, that's how you do it? we had better/worse success when we did this____"

i love discussing all of this parenting stuff, but when it goes beyond the exchange of ideas and becomes judging and criticizing i bow out.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | March 30, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Billie: don't sweat it too much. You are COMPLETELY correct. Kids don't get asked to do enough - certainly they are capable of much more than we ask them. The whole idea that asking your SS to do something to help around the house is like treating him like a mini adult is crazy. Kids should help around the house - and do it as much as they can. Your 6.5 YO is more than capable of setting the table. Our kids most of the time have to be asked to do stuff, but love to help out (cooking, cleaning up). And they should know how to help out, that they are valued/valuable.
What does your friend think happened years ago when there was much more housework and people had 5 or more kids? By the time they were 6, kids were doing a whole heckuva lot around the house. No other choices...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I think one reason parents separate into tribes is because it makes socializing easier. It is easier and more plesant to have kids around who have similar rules and values.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 30, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I think the PTA tribe is the most notorious of all parenting groups. That and the Home Schooler's tribe. I'm not a member of either, nor do I think that people self segregate themselves on parenting issues like bottle/breast, disposable/cloth, anti-meds/pro-meds, control freaks/abdicaters, folders/bunchers, or an over/under paper preference.

In our neighborhood, it's more like the slobs against the snobs. You can tell which household belongs to which just by walking down the street on trash day. The recycle bins of the slobs will be overflowing with empty beer cans, the snobby people fill their bins with empty wine bottles. Hahaha!

Although I'll drink wine if I have to, I fit in best with the slobs, but y'all already knew that.

Other than that, I'm a member of the "TV is Evil" crowd and thinks exercise is the answer to almost everything.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | March 30, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm in the "Billie is doing a fine job and should ignore nutcases who step in and give unsolicited (not to mention inappropriate) parenting advice" tribe.

Posted by: janedoe5 | March 30, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how many of us are absolutely confident about every one of our parenting decisions. That makes it very reassuring when we find another parent who has made the same decision. And thus tribes form.

I find for example that it's easier to say we're a no-TV family at younger DD's new Montessori school. It's unheard of among my elder DD's circle in public school.

Do I know if I'm doing the right thing for my daughters by keeping TV out of our home? No, I just can't stand that racket in my house. But it's reassuring to hear from other parents who've decided on no TV and their kids don't seem scarred for life.

Posted by: annenh | March 30, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I am in the "Jack Bauer Knows Best" tribe!

Which, of course, is the Dirty Harry version of "Father Knows Best"

Posted by: anonymous_one | March 30, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I think it's because most parents have some level of insecurity in regards to their parenting, so they like having the reassurance from other parents that they are doing things the "right" way. Of course there is no right way to parent except for what works for your family, and that is different for everyone.

Posted by: dennis5 | March 30, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else in the 'live and let live' tribe because they have enough of their problems to resolve without getting involved in other people's issues?

I mean seriously, I am too busy to stick my nose into other people's business. I have enough problems keeping my own business on track without taking on the judgment of others.

Now if you want my opinion and ask for it... hey... I am all over it. But if you don't solicit, I try not to provide. My mom is big on not providing her opinion and my dad has been really big on meddling (with fairly negative consequences for me) so perhaps my background is showing through?

Posted by: Billie_R | March 30, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Whacky, I admit to being a "slob" as in beer drinker. When we have neighborhood parties the recycling bins of those involved can be embarrassing.

On the whole, I like socializing with people that are similar but it can get boring. Admittedly there is a comfort to it, but mixing things up can be a good thing.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like some Bauerizing is needed in Billie R's case!

Posted by: anonymous_one | March 30, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Billie: well said.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Billie, Real question, would your dad have continued to be a "meddler" if someone had told him to pipe down once in awhile? Maybe he wouldn't care, but sometimes I think meddlers are enabled by people remaining silent.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, sounds like I'm in interestingidea's tribe, with -- dare I say it -- a dash of Jezebel thrown in. Which is itself interesting, since we don't always agree here. :-) Every kid is different, every family is different. I like to get different perspectives (which is pretty much why I'm here), because I know I haven't thought of everything. But I don't presume to know what is best for other folks, and don't have much time for people who think they know what's best for me.

"I don't know how many of us are absolutely confident about every one of our parenting decisions. That makes it very reassuring when we find another parent who has made the same decision. And thus tribes form." -- Annenh, this is certainly my story.

"Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 10:39 AM" -- Atlmom, agree with most everything you said. Except in my own experience, I see that more from the ridiculously overconfident types. It's less about insecurity and more about some fundamental inability/unwillingness to see things from anyone else's perspective, to step outside of themselves and their own lives, to question or explore.

Posted by: laura33 | March 30, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Altmom, thanks for the mazda referral. I'll check it out.

annenh, I am totally with you! But the ideal for me would be that the kid learns ON HIS OWN that TV isn't that great. But how long do I have to wait for this ephiphany? Maybe it will come sooner with the obnoxious commericals-- i.e., unhooking the cable may just draw out the process longer?

My husband told me that last night while reading the titles of Berenstein Bear books, the title "Too Much TV" caught my son's attention and he said "sounds like me." So maybe there is hope . . . isn't recognizing that you have a problem the first step in resolving our problem?

fingers crossed . . .

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 30, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Cheekymonkey - I tried it once with zero results. Of course, once is hardly enough to know if more would have helped. But it wasn't more because...

In general, I find my dad and his wife completely toxic and stay away from them as much as my sense of decency allows me to. I would never, EVER let my husband or kids go anywhere alone with them. Their shenanigans generally occur when I am out of earshot.

I have no idea if anyone else has ever tried because I live in a different country and no longer know the people that my father hangs out with. My brother won't speak to him and their son(4) has never met his grandfather. I won't go quite that far (you know me - I am simply too nice) because I have this eternal hope that my father will someday start behaving like a decent human being and I might want to develop a closer relationship with him when that happens.

Posted by: Billie_R | March 30, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

capitolhillmom: But your kid doesn't really have the capacity to make the decision of what is good and bad for him. WOuldn't it be great if they did? I mean, there are certain age appropriate decisions they can and do make (when we let them) but the kids would sit there and watch tv all day long if we let them.
Sometimes they may get up and think that they can do something else - but usually, it's me saying: okay, enough TV and then they figure out different things to do.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 30, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Billie, not only are you doing the right thing, your stepchildren will probably be the ones who help the teacher or their classmates, while the nosy, nattering nabob will be the one who is called by the school constantly, but it's NEVER the poor BABY's fault. Infantilizing kids leads to immature adults. I let my daughter dig for worms, and chase her around the house to furious giggling, but she has to put away any of her things that may still be scattered about before she can play with something new. I use age-appropriate words so that she can understand, but I never talk down to her.

So FWIW, you have another vote of support.

Posted by: MaxH | March 30, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Wow . . . so many opinions . . . I'm in the let's-just-keep-my-head-above-water-in-this-whole-parenting-thing-tribe. It's amazing how much of what we think is a matter of perspective . . . which I gained a lot of during the first two years of my youngest child's life when we weren't sure most weeks whether she was going to live or die. Some things which seemed life-or-death suddenly just didn't seem that way anymore. http://lipstickdaily.com

Posted by: ElaineatLipstickdaily | March 30, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Billie, not only are you doing the right thing"

Posted by: MaxH | March 30, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Another tribe, compelled to tell Net strangers that they "are doing the right thing" or "you are doing the best you can" and otherwise offer support, when they know zip about the situation. Very weird.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 30, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Billie, you not only have my vote of support, you can use my example to horrify your critic: my husband and I let (and strongly encourage) our 15 mo old son to "help." He will go get his shoes, go get our shoes, carry the throw pillows to us when we make the bed, and hand us silverware (no, nothing sharp!) from the dishwasher while we are unloading it. He will also help us put the books away that he pulls off the shelf, but more often than not he is back pulling them down 5 minutes later! My hubby and I were both raised in the "you are part of Team Family, and you will do your part to help out" tribe...

Posted by: Ga_gal | March 30, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. People who have been around here for a while know much about Billie's situation. Probably too much. While these "Net Strangers" may not be known to Billie, Billie is known to them.

Of course, all of us have been here long enough to know that Jezebel is nothing more than a pretentious bore who fancies herself to be humorous and witty.

Posted by: anonymous_one | March 30, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. People who have been around here for a while know much about Billie's situation. Probably too much. While these "Net Strangers" may not be known to Billie, Billie is known to them.

Of course, all of us have been here long enough to know that Jezebel is nothing more than a pretentious bore who fancies herself to be humorous and witty.

Posted by: anonymous_one | March 30, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Yet another tribe....

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 30, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

How about forming an "Others" tribe a la LOST. They are rather violent but on the other hand, getting rid of the perfect parents that belong to the "DARMA Initiative" tribe could be a good thing...

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 30, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

What? How can everyone be claiming to be in the live-and-let-live tribe when I read snarky, judgemental comments here regularly (and admittedly have added one or two)? What's up with the consensus and goodwill?

Posted by: mlc2 | March 30, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the "Rock on, life is good, smile and wave" tribes. I'm a former minivan driver, now a planet killing SUV owner, let 'em run naked and eat homegrown veggies but if I can't afford organic, they can have conventional, fruit at every meal but sometimes you get junk too, you will finish what's on your plate or not get yogurt for dessert, make my own all butter sugar packed heavy cream (Rosie!) cookies, the book is always better than the movie but movies are fun, 30 minutes of TV a day except sometimes, play hard and go to bed tired kind of mom. I loathe extremism of any kind (unless it's something I believe in but don't think I'm extremist about) and try to avoid fruit loops if I can, unless I get good stories out of them, in which case I often stir the pot to get things going. With luck, my kids will grow up happy and healthy, and everything other than that is GRAVY.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 30, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to see that I'm part of the "kids have chores too" tribe, the "most TV today is bad" tribe, the "anything but a minivan" tribe (we do have an SUV, but that's necessary due to fire calls on the mountain roads, farm lanes, and just plain impassable roads due to severe weather where we are), the "there is no I in team" tribe, and the "being a stay-at-home mom IS a real job!" tribe.

I've had people think I'm a mutant because Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are banned in our house, friends and family both drive me absolutely nuts when they ask me when I'm going to get a "real" job (like raising kids, homeschooling them for preschool and to supplement the public education, growing your own vegetables, and keeping hearth and home orderly ISN'T a job?!?!?), they say I'm "enslaving" my kids or making them grow up too fast because I assign chores to them (the 6 1/2-year-old has a "Chore Chart" with both daily and weekly chores on it, as well as a system of fines for wasting food or utilities that can impact how much allowance she gets, while the two-year-old is already pitching in by helping me make the beds, putting all the laundry in appropriate hampers, and putting her toys away), and sometimes even accuse me of "socially depriving" my kids because I'd rather they run out and play in the backyard than be signed up for every sport, club, and activity that comes down the pike. So what? My sister and I were raised that way, and we turned out just fine! I'd rather my kids be independent, creative, and self-reliant than go away to college and not even know how to sort socks, much less entertain themselves after they're done hitting the books for the day. There's more to life than junk TV, being spoiled, and having every little thing in life handed to you. All I have to say to the objectors is that the mistletoe hangs from my belt loops!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | March 30, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse


I'm in the tribe that doesn't use, "we were raised that way and we turned out just fine" as an excuse for one-size-fits-all parenting.

Posted by: anonfornow | March 30, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the "No hitting or yelling" tribe. Which is particularly difficult because NOONE else in my family is. My daughter is markedly better behaved than their kids, so they declare I just got lucky and don't "need to" do those things.

[Sigh]

Although I really try to live my life in a non-judgemental fashion, I simply can not stand by silently when I see someone hitting a child. Even a stranger in a store. I try to talk the parents down gently, and empathize with their frustration without supporting their behavior. But really, it's difficult for me to find any respect at all for that approach.

The tribe I wish I could find [IRL] is the "Intellectual Approach" tribe. A group of people who actually read the research, and think/talk things through, without getting emotional or downright vicious any time a disagreement surfaces.

The fact is though, I don't have much time to interact with other parents. As a working single Mom I am on my own all the way, and if I stop to chat I'm afraid I'll get hopelessly behind.

Posted by: TruCelt | March 31, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I like the I'm-flexible-and-secure-enough-to-change-how-I-parent-to-meet-the-needs-of-my-individual-kids tribe. Some kids would wilt in one style while his/her sibling would thrive. Good parents recognize the difference and accomodate to the extent possible within a healthy family.

Posted by: esleigh | March 31, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

WorkingMomX - Wow! Rock on. Love your style and your kids must be a kick to hang out with.

Posted by: esleigh | March 31, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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