To the Parenting Police

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We all know the Parenting Police - either we have been them or we have come across them at some point on our parenting journey ... the well-intentioned fact giver that basically tells you what you're doing is wrong and you *should* do it some other way. A lot of times they're actually right, but they're policing this parenting thing and not going to lie ... it can be super annoying.

I recently had my run-in with the Parenting Police online when I posted a question regarding car seats. I wasn't asking for feedback on position of my children but asking about thoughts regarding a specific type of car seat. That question apparently solicited feedback regarding changing my twins forward facing until they're 2+. DUH. The well-intentioned PP did not read my question where I clearly stated I wasn't turning them forward facing until sometime after their 2nd birthday this summer and that I just wanted feedback on a different car seat than our current one. Then a second commenter jumped on the thread backup up the PP stating that I really should wait to turn them until they're 4 or 5 years old. WHAT.

Okay, back up.

Why do we feel it's okay to provide unsolicited parenting advice? If the government (in some states) requires that children stay rear facing until the age of 2, and then it's up to the parent to switch them around - why do we feel it's our duty to convince them otherwise? I understand thinking about the safety of the child, however, I'm making a decision based on what I feel is right for my kid and my family and staying within the legal limits of the law.

According to the NHTSA's website children are recommended to be rear facing from birth to 3 years old. However, it's also cleared to forward facing (see the age overlap!) from 1 years to seven years of age. A booster seat is okay from ages 4-12. Now this all depends also on your child's height and weight in addition to age. As always, adhere to your own state regulations.

The NHTSA's website has a handy tool to determine what your child should be seated in. According to the website TODAY - my girls at 1 year, 8 months old and 23 lbs and 35 inches tall could be either rear facing or forward facing.

Your Child

Age: 1yr 8months  Weight: 23lb 0oz Height: 35in

Recommended Car Seat Types Based on Your Search Criteria

Not saying that I'm going to run out and switch them forward facing - but just trying to make a point that unless a child is in danger, why do parents jump on board and essentially bully others or try to make them feel bad for their parenting decisions? My decision to move my children *possibly* forward facing after they turn 2 years old is well within the legal limits and is a decision that I'll make based on how safe I feel the girls to be while riding in my car. 

I do think there's a time and a place to stand up when you feel that a child is in danger either physically or emotionally, etc. And that's a time when the Parenting Police come to the aid of the child and show the parent what truly needs to be done or should be done for the betterment of the kid. However, if you feel the need to add on your extra tid-bit of keeping a child rear facing until the age of 4-5 "because it's really best for them" I say - SAYS WHO? You? And why do you feel the need to provide that information to me other than to tell me that my parenting decision is wrong. 

I'm mainly writing this post to rant, I realize. But also to send a note to all of the other parents out there - when dishing out advice (and I'm 1,000% guilty too!) let's start thinking about how this provides value to the other parent. Is it a tip or trick to help their life run more smoothly? Did they ask for this specific bit of advice? Is the child in danger? I think if we think about these questions before dishing out our advice, then we build a more "village" type of parenting community rather than the "rights" versus the "wrongs."

Sound off - what do you think?

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