Kind Matters

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.


When I talk with other parents – be it in person, in support groups, in the online community or even in Facebook comments – I try to keep an open mind and an open heart. I am always aware that I am learning all of this as I go along, so how can I expect others to be anywhere besides exactly where they are at this moment in time?

When talking with other parents, the one thing I know for sure is that being kind matters.

Be Kind To Others

Life is hard, demands on us are high and really, none of us were how to do any of this before. Not really. We may have seen models of parenting (for better or worse) and I am thankful every day for my Motherful friends who have kindly shared their wisdom and experiences with me, making me a better and more aware parent. But still, no matter what our upbringing or education or community, we are all doing this – this moment, these children – for the first time, with stakes that feel too high to lose, and in a world that can seem too busy to care.

And it can be challenging. I know parenting and breastfeeding and child birth and child rearing and loving and healing and growing and learning and life is complex and multifaceted and beautiful and wild and unruly and uncontrollable. I know there is no one-size-fits-all.

This knowledge frees me to listen to others without judgment. This knowledge reminds me no one has all the answers. As a result, I haven’t really argued with anyone about parenting philosophies or things I think they should do or that they think I should do. When others have told me to act differently than I wish to, I know that they simply don’t have the same world view / experiences / temperament as I do, and I take no offense to their comments. Yet I certainly have parenting suggestions, and am passionate about what works for me as a parent, and have  been known to give unsolicited advice – even after acknowledging it’s unsolicited!

But I am uninterested in arguments. Arguments damage my peace, and I have no time for that. And arguments damage credibility (no one wants to listen to or model someone who looks down on others) and I have no desire to act like that.

After you strip away arguments, and pile on the knowledge that life is crazy and we’re all doing the best we can, all you’re left with – the only thing you can possibly do – is to be kind. And I want to be kind.  I want my daughter to be kind, and therefore I want her to see me be kind. I want other parents – my friends – to know they can come to me for support… for kindness. Life’s hard enough, and no one has all the answers.

Just maybe some kindly worded suggestions….and a shoulder to lean on.




Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it’s from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother’s groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the “Mommy-space” online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles… — Jenny at I’m a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents’ worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting – Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she’s learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others’ parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metalityMudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can’t — We’ve all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you’re stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think “Gosh, I wish I said…” This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought “Gosh, I wish I said…”
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don’t Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she’d want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying “I’m Right and You’re Wrong” Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won’t care — Cassie of There’s a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don’t know what to do when you’re confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and ChoicesDulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky – Parenting Peacefully with Social MediaHannabert’s Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.


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27 Responses to Kind Matters

  1. Pingback: Doing it my way but respecting your highway. - Child of the Nature Isle

  2. Pingback: If You Can’t Say Something Nice… |

  3. Pingback: Assumptions « miniMOMist

  4. Pingback: Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars | The Artful Mama

  5. Pingback: How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment | Natural Parents Network

  6. Beautiful words and images. I want to be more kind too. This line will stick in my head “Arguments damage my peace, and I have no time for that. And arguments damage credibility (no one wants to listen to or model someone who looks down on others) and I have no desire to act like that.” – It’s powerful and I hope one day I will be that person who always chooses peace. Onelove

  7. Pingback: 10 Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree – - LiveNewsX - Live News AggregatorLiveNewsX – Live News Aggregator

  8. Pingback: Different Rules for Different Families « living peacefully with children

  9. “Arguments damage my peace, and I like peace. And arguments damage credibility; no one wants to listen to or model someone who looks down on others.” So, so true. The other night my husband and I were trying to have a conversation, and it was getting heated. I finally had to just say – stop – stop! This is doing nothing for us! Let’s come back to it when we can speak peacefully. And so it should be with everyone we encounter – what is the good of arguing without compassion? Great post!

  10. Pingback: Navigating Parenting Politics | the other baby blog

  11. What a fantastic message! You are so right that the most important thing is to be kind. I wholeheartedly agree and really try my best to do it.

    I’m following you on FB now and I’m so glad the CNP has introduced me to your blog <3

  12. Pingback: Hybrid Rasta Mama: Judgment Is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn

  13. Pingback: Respecting the Parenting of Others: Quieting Judgey McJudgerson | Monkey Butt Junction

  14. talkbirth says:

    What a great blog carnival! I’m definitely going to have to click on all these great sounding articles. I’m glad my Motherful post spoke to you. I think we can bring the word back :)

  15. Pingback: Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to Eliminate Judge/Be Judged Mentality | MudpieMama

  16. Kenna says:

    I’m inspired! I think I’m going to take that old can of spray paint and paint my garage door with “KIND > RIGHT” Yes, yes, yes!

  17. sarah says:

    Such a lovely post. Thank you :-)

  18. Ah, thank you. Beautiful sentiments, and beautiful post!

  19. Pingback: The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents | MUMmedia

  20. Pingback: Respectful Interaction With Other Parents | Diary of a First Child

  21. I love and fully support the idea that not one size fits all! And also what you said about arguments–they mess with my peace too and I also do my best to not get myself in them! Thanks for such a lovely post!

  22. Pingback: Parenting as a mirror | Kate Wicker

  23. Kelly says:


    “But I am uninterested in arguments. Arguments damage my peace, and I have no time for that. And arguments damage credibility (no one wants to listen to or model someone who looks down on others) and I have no desire to act like that.” – Amen sista! :D

    Thank you for a beautiful post – and sharing such truth :)

  24. So true! All we can do is be kind and empathetic because, like you said, no one is perfect, no one has all of the answers, we are all always learning and having arguments does no one any good. Everything (not just parenting-related) would be *SO MUCH EASIER* if everyone could just be more kind. Thank you!

  25. Pingback: Why I used to hide the formula box «

  26. Pingback: Not Holier Than Thou

  27. Pingback: Judgment Is Natural – Just Don't Condemn Hybrid Rasta Mama

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