Google+ Authentic Parenting: Silly Questions You Shouldn't Ask Parents

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Silly Questions You Shouldn't Ask Parents

  1. What about your sex life? This is a question that occasionally pops up when people wonder about cosleeping. As if the family bed is the only place in the world where a couple can have sex. Moreover, I really don't see how that should be of anyone's concern, and in my humble opinion, you don't just go around asking people about their sex life. Maybe you should consider how you'd feel if someone asked you that question and expected you to answer it.
  2. Is he being a good boy? Any actions a child undertakes or possible mistakes he might make do not make him a bad person. This judging and conditionality placed on children is all too prevailent in our society and should be eradicated at the root. Maybe you'd better ask how the child is doing and not interlace your question about the child with judgments.
  3. Aren't you spoiling him? What's spoiling anyway? I believe very few parents set out to spoil their children in the first place, so what you are suggesting is rather offensive.
  4. Are you still breastfeeding that child? Again, I do not see how ones duration of breastfeeding should be of anyone's particular concern. It should be decided by the mother and the child based on their feelings about it and their particular situation. Moreover, breastfeeding longer than what is considered normal by you or the mainstream should only be applauded, what else should we be feeding our children? Cow's milk? 
  5. When will you be giving him a bottle? If that baby is lucky, probably never. Again, I don't see how this could be of your concern. Moreover, I am wondering why you would be suggesting a mother to give her child food that is inferior to the one she is now providing him with.
  6. Aren't you afraid she'll never fall asleep on her own? This is a question cosleeping parents get, but it is also asked when mothers nurse their child to sleep. Whichever prompted this question, all children eventually learn to fall asleep on their own and in their own beds. Expecting them to self-soothe, and sleep on their own before they are developmentally ready to do so, is just a result of our societal disconnect with human nature.
  7. Is he sleeping through the night yet? What's this obsession with sleeping through the night anyway? Every child will one day sleep through, it just takes some time, and for some this is longer than for others. Moreover, I have found that sleeping through the night means something different to everyone. For some it is sleeping a six hour stretch, which indeed, some babies do rather quickly, for some it is sleeping in a room unsupervised for over twelve hours.
  8. Are you seriously letting her wear that? Well apparently, yes. Again, wondering how this is anyone's concern. Let the child wear what she wants to wear, as long as it is not hurting anyone.
  9. Shouldn't your child be in school? Ever consider there are alternatives to school? Apparently not.
  10. Are you sure that's safe? Wether it's about cosleeping, babywearing, baby led weaning... in general, parents are aware of the safety of the way they tend to their children (however there are exceptions to this one).
If you are looking for responses to some of these silly questions, I suggest you read 'Witty Responses To Cosleeping Remarks'.

Image: Marco Bellucci on Flickr



  1. Ironically I am reading this the morning after yet another in the long line of 'discussions' with my MIL regarding breastfeeding. For the first time in ten years apparently I have offended her with my opinion... She has been offending me regarding breastfeeding since my first daughter was three weeks old. Thanks for this! :-)

  2. Love it! Hear these questions day in, day out... The worse part is, family gets upset when I answer with accurate, scientific data supporting breastfeeding on demand, cosleeping, baby wearing, attachment parenting...

  3. I wish I would have read this before reading the obnoxious comments from a well-meaning "friend" regarding my allowing my toddler to sleep in bed with me on facebook this morning. Really? What do they care if I let my toddler sleep with me at night? Apparently, I'm fostering "bad-habits". Excuse me, I thought fostering his sense of security was a good habit!!

  4. Griffin nursed until a couple of months past his second birthday. I got so offended by some stupid guys' comments about breastfeeding in general that I wrote a rant for my blog:

  5. I was asked every single one of those questions multiple times. Now that my kids are mostly teenagers, I want to hunt those people down and revise my answers. None of them were still breastfeeding by adolescence and no bottles were involved. They sleep through the night but I still don't cuz, ya know, I have TEENAGERS. They are STILL homeschooling and their work is still above "grade level." And yes, they have friends. Not only is he still wearing that but it goes well with his pony tail. And sex is still more fun when you are not in the bedroom.

  6. Well said!
    Oh I'm getting so tired of answering questions like these, I always feel like I'm under attack or something!

  7. i am forwarding this to all those that always thinks it is THEIR business how we raise OUR child. Children have different needs and we have become the all to wonderful society that needs to 'get on with our life' and 'have children who can do it for themselves'.

    Personally, I would much rather have a child who always knows she has a secure place to go to and who can ask for help when she needs it. My little one can do things on her own and is very independent. Sometimes she falls asleep on her own, sometimes not. There are no bad habits. I cater to her needs and therefore she knows that someone is always on the look out for her.

  8. @ Jake 'And sex is still more fun when you are not in the bedroom.' LOL... so true!

  9. One day I was with my newborn daughter in a store. She was fast asleep nestled in my sling. Someone actually asked me if she could breathe in there. "Why no, oxygen deprivation is an integral part of my parenting philosophy.". Sheesh!

  10. LOL freelearners! I have to remember that one!

  11. Thank you for #2. I'm a preschool teacher and questions about children being good or bad drive me nuts. Children are being children. They are learning. We all make mistakes when we are learning. It doesn't make us "good" or "bad", it just makes us "us".

    The other one that drives me nuts: "Be a good girl/boy and do (whatever) for me." What does THAT mean!?! If they don't want to do whatever, or whatever isn't appropriate, does that make the child bad? The child could certainly infer this. What a blow to the psyche! Or how about "Be good and finish your dinner." What if I'm not hungry anymore? Should I be "good", ignore my own body messages and eat more, or should I be "bad", listen to my body, and not eat. Talk about creating food issues along with self esteem problems.

    I could go on and on and on....

  12. Why not instead of getting mad when asked these questions, take the time to answer their questions, and educate them?

  13. Someone posted this blog on facebook and this was my reply to it:

    I think as first time parents, because you are working SO HARD to do the right thing, these questions sound judgmental, especially if coming from other parents. People without kids, I don't hardly mind at all because, well, they don't know themselves and are mostly just curious. They possibly may think they know, but, oh well, who cares. I've worked with kids for 15 years, babies and older, and I'm finding there still is a lot I don't know.
    So, this article was definitely defensive, but I bet a million bucks she's only had one kid (maybe not though). By about kids 3 - 5, you've got it down pat and you don't really care what others think or say and can take the questions for what they are, judgmental or not. This is according to my mom who has raised five kids.
    About the "good boy" question: well, I agree that technically, it's not a good question, since babies are not "good" or "bad", however, NO ONE asks me if he's been a "bad baby" and no one, that I've ever heard, has referred to a colicky or fussy baby as "bad". Which leads me to think that when people say or ask about (and I do the same, though I try not to, for perceptions sake) a "good baby" they are really just asking if the baby is content that day. I mean, it's really a "How's the baby doing today?" kind of question. When they get older and are making choices themselves, then I don't appreciate the "good boy/girl" question or judgement, because the question means something else entirely and people know that.
    In the end, I think it really comes down to how secure you are about yourself as a parent. When one finally gets confident about it, like I said before, you're not going to be bothered a whole lot about others thoughts or questions on the matter. I hope I get to that stage soon, since I still get offended at times, though I try not to.

  14. "When will you be giving him a bottle? If that baby is lucky, probably never.....Moreover, I am wondering why you would be suggesting a mother to give her child food that is inferior to the one she is now providing him with."

    Really? You go on and on about other people being judgmental and then make a comment like that? A baby is only lucky in the sense to have a parent/s who love them unconditionally. It's comments like that that make me feel inadequate because I choose to bottle feed my baby. In the end, I don't give a fuck, but I wanted to point out that in making that statement, you're acting just like those you are railing against.

    A kinder, NON JUDGMENTAL response would have been: "Well, I am choosing to breastfeed, but I support whatever a woman feels is best for her and her baby."


  15. Wow! Bingo to all that! I hate it when I hear these type of questions, and surprisingly, those who often asked are the ones who never did it, like 'are you still breastfeeding your child?' - they asked when they've never breastfeed before. Duh....

  16. With regard to sleeping through the night I have to say that I never sleep through the night and Im 32 years old! I wake at least once in the night every night, it's just how I am. Why would I expect anyone else to be different?

    When people ask this, I think they are really asking if baby is disturbing you in the night which is totally different. :)

  17. the wonderful thing about blogs is that they are small, personal records of ideas. when you don't like something, you can close the page.

    and the wonderful thing about blog commenting is that it is totally optional! you don't have to comment on everything you read, thus hostility is not mandated.

    i think women who choose to breastfeed probably get a lot more negative commentary, so do tend to feel defensive and choose to use their tiny, personal space on the internet to vent.

    and isn't calling someone a bitch the most judgmental of all?

  18. "A kinder, NON JUDGMENTAL response would have been: "Well, I am choosing to breastfeed, but I support whatever a woman feels is best for her and her baby."


    I have to respectfully disagree with you. I have no issue with the fact that you choose to formula feed your baby. I do think that parent's decisions should be respected. Of course you're trying to make the best decision for you and your baby. But that doesn't change the fact that human milk is designed for human babies in a superior way to formula. Stating a fact does not make a judgement of parents who choose to feed their child formula. Their are many reasons why parents may have to make a decision that is less than ideal. IMO, instead of feeling inadequate or name-calling any time someone mentions the superiority of breastmilk to formula, you could feel confident in making the right decision for your child DESPITE the inferiority of formula as an infant food.

    I will not be able to send my child to the best school in the nation for a variety of reasons. Reading about the top ten schools does not make me feel inadequate though. There's no reason to feel inadequate when you're making he best decision for your family. And no excuse for name calling.

  19. Facts really do not make people feel judged. And it is a fact that breast milk is superior to formula. The idea that you should switch your baby off breast milk at some arbitrary point and put them on formula or cow's milk is nutritionally preposterous.

    That being said, a mother choosing to nurse her child for an extended period and being frustrated when people question this decision and postulate that switching to formula or cow milk is the better thing to do easily leads to annoyance with the pre-conceived notion that all babies need cow milk or formula at some point in their lives to be healthy. It does not mean she thinks women who use formula or cow milk (for whatever reason!) are bad parents compared to herself.

    Imagine you use Elimination Communication with your baby and someone asks, "When are you going to put that baby in a diaper?" Would you find that an insane idea? That's how I feel about being asked when I'm switching my son to milk.

    It doesn't mean I look down or judge people who use diapers, but why would I do that when what I am already doing works great, and has amazing long term benefits? It simply doesn't make sense.

  20. Love it! My daughter has eczema & food allergies and so I've had to radically alter my diet. Everyone is already asking me why don't I switch her to formula - even my mother-in-law and husband in a weak moment have gently suggested it. She is only 4 months old! She needs my breastmilk even MORE because of her issues. It is such a small sacrifice for me to make to change my diet. It's hard of course but I love my baby and would rather me suffer than her! :)


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