Parenting Politics

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Going to a variety of playgroups and child-friendly places means I am exposed to the whole rainbow of parenting styles. There are breast feeders and bottle feeders, baby wearers and buggy pushers. There’s young mums, old mums, single mums, married mums and divorced mums. There are mums who let their children eat chocolate fingers for breakfast occasionally (okay… Just once so far…) and mums who avoid anything unhealthy like the plague. A spectrum of mums raising a variety of children in a whole host of ways. And it’s brilliant. And interesting.

The only thing I’m struggling with is when I find no common ground with any parenting choices. In almost every case, even when mums are very different to me, I either understand their choices or have tried them myself. Things don’t appeal or work for everyone but usually I at least “get” it. I respect it. But not always.

Finding common ground with mums I don’t even slightly “get” is proving extremely challenging. Because Miss Rose is the main focus of my existence, sad though that may seem to some, she colours my perceptions of people. It means I can’t separate the “mum” from the person in others. If I don’t like how you mother I will struggle to like you. If you let your child kick mine I will REALLY not like you.

I strongly believe it is not mine, nor anyone’s, place to tell a parent how to raise their child (other than when social services have to get involved obviously). I think everyone needs to respect everyone else and accept their choices. But when I feel that not saying something puts other children at risk? That’s when I question that belief.

Playgroups and soft plays are always full of rough and tumble and that’s important. I believe children don’t learn how to stay within social limitations of acceptable behaviour without pushing those boundaries and finding out the consequences. The good thing about these settings is that children can learn and can socialise and find how to function in a group. But this requires adult input. If we as the parents don’t deal out consequences for violent or rude behaviour Bounce N Rhyme could quickly turn into The Lord of the Flies. Chatterbox; The Hunger Games.

I know I will meet parents on the opposite side of the Parenting spectrum to me for the rest of my life. It is something I will have to just handle and accept. We all parent differently and there are thousands of books, and people, telling us why whatever it is we choose to do is wrong. Why their way is right. But is there really a right and wrong in parenting? For the first time ever I’m beginning to wonder if there is.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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