17 of the Most Controversial Parenting Topics Ever

If only all of us could live in harmony and respect the decisions each of us take and the differences that exist amidst us. This particularly holds true for a topic as beautiful as pregnancy and parenting.

The fact of the matter is that being a new parent isn’t really easy. If anything, the entire experience can leave you feeling isolated and a tad bit out of your comfort zone. When you’re putting up with so much, the last thing you need is to end up in a heated argument about the parenting choices that you’ve made. 

Yes, there are plenty of topics that can get most parents rather defensive. It’s not clear whether this is because of an impassioned belief that they’ve made the right choice or a deep fear of being judged for their decision. However, the one thing for sure is that these parenting choices can spark up a rather heated debate amidst parents. A few of these controversial parenting topics are:

17 How to give birth

It is fairly normal for emotions to be raw with many women continuing to feel rather unhappy about the birthing experience that they ended up having. Apparently, it seems like every mother wants to outdo the other in terms of their horrific birth stories.

As parents continue to share birth stories, the details keep on getting more gruesome and scary. Because of this, women who had an easy and peaceful birth end up feeling like smug idiots when sharing their story. What’s worse is that hearing such a story may piss off mama who didn’t have the birthing experience they wanted. 

The clue to avoiding controversy with this one is to focus on your own experience. Avoid generalizations and stick to your own birth story.

16 Yelling and screaming at kids

There's certainly beneficial ways we can communicate with our children, but when it comes to getting their attention or stopping them from fighting or doing something dangerous, as parents our knee jerk reaction will be to yell or scream to gain control over the situation quickly.

Sometimes we may even lose our patience and begin yelling, but needless to say, if you're caught doing this in public, you're going to draw negativity towards you from other parents. They will judge you based on what they saw, not who you are and the type of parent you normally are.

15 Months vs Years

Some women lose patience over little things surrounding pregnancy and parenting, in particular talking about how old children are in terms of months versus years and how far along someone is if they insist on being specific down to the day as well as the weeks.

While most people will let this breeze right past them, others are instantly put off by insisting that a child is 36 months old instead of 3 years old or visa versa. There's no point in sweating the small stuff, so if someone get's their feathers ruffled by how you express your child's age or how far along in your pregnancy you are, let it be their problem, not yours.

14 No winning in competition

Competition is used to reward hard work and people who come in first place, or just award a winning status. Lately the goal has been to be more inclusive, so kids who aren't going to come in first don't feel bad about themselves. While the thought behind creating equality is commendable, this causes some parents grief.

There's nothing unhealthy about competition, it can inspire kids to work harder, give them a goal to reach for. letting kids realize their own strengths and weaknesses is good for them, it sets boundaries and gives them the desire to push past their own limitations.

13  Sleeping arrangements

Oh yes, something as simple as sleeping arrangements with a baby is a major controversial topic in parenting circles. If you bring up this topic, there’s a good chance that you will be in for a major heated debate. The truth is that most parents prefer staying silent about the sleeping arrangements that they’ve chosen to follow for the simple reason that they don’t want to face any backlash over it.

No matter what it is that you choose to use, read up as much as possible about it and make an informed decision. Once done, promise yourself that you will not care a bit about what people think or have to say about your decision- stick to it!

12 Child leashes

These have been hotly debated for years. Parents who don't use them see them as inhumane and feel sorry for the kids wearing them without understanding why parents would choose this for their kids in the first place. Parents who choose to use the leash with their children have good reasons why it works for them. And that's what other parents should take away from it, that the leash is good for some parents for their own personal reasons.

11 Gender neutrality

Some couples decide that they want their children to freely choose their identity, to embrace their true selves, and the only way to do that is to raise them gender neutral so they can decide what gender they want to be, or what their sexual preference is. This is a recent phenomena, but quite a controversial one. This can be taken to extremes where parents won't discuss their baby's gender, from mild where boys and girls are not restricted by their gender as to what they wear or play with.

Judith Butler a professor at Berkeley University has written papers about acting out gender rather than gender being innate. Her theory suggests that outside influences around us informs us how we're to perform our gender through look and actions.

10  Breast milk vs. formula feeding

The controversial conversations surrounding this particular topic are a never-ending battle. Seriously, this topic has been discussed over and over again since the time that formula milk was introduced to the world. If anything, this one parenting topic has the potential to stir up tons of awkward pauses in a parenting group.

Yes, science is clear about the whole ‘breast is best’ slogan, but every woman out there has her own personal circumstances to put up with. Not every woman out there can or wants to breastfeed and it’s completely alright. Judging women over their choice or breast or formula feed is just wrong. 

9 Medicating for illnesses

Since the rise of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) in the 1990s, kids have been put on medication to treat a number of mental illnesses. Some of these medications, such as Ritalin, have become hot topic buttons since they seem to cause as many problems for some individuals as they cure for another. 

If other parents find out you have a 7 year old on some kind of medication, you can pretty much expect a certain amount of animosity about it. Just trust your instincts and keep doing what you know to be right for you and your family and try not to let their feelings bother you.

8  Smacking vs. peaceful parenting

Many of us might have been spanked as children. To be honest, there are countless parents out there who spank their kids in order to discipline them – and they actually swear by its effectiveness.

However, research studies have shown otherwise. As experts who have conducted extensive research in this regard, there is a deep connection between spanking and severe mental health issues that children may face later on in life. Also, critics point out that spanking teaches the wrong message to children, including that it’s okay to use violence to solve a problem and it’s fine to pick on people smaller than you.

7  Giving solids to your baby

As a parent, you obviously look forward to the day when you will be able to give your baby her first taste of solid food. However, the sad part is that this seemingly innocuous activity is literally packed full of potential controversies.

When you bring up this topic, you will find yourself surrounded by questions like, “When do I wean my baby?”, “Should I wait for the six month mark or go in early”, “Do I go with baby led weaning or opt for purees?” The questions and controversies surrounding this topic are literally countless and endless!!!

6  Extended breastfeeding

Have you ever come across pictures on the internet where women are shown breastfeeding their three to four year old kids? In a majority of cases, people end up saying that the kids are way too old to be breastfed. Some believe breastfeeding past babyhood could be detrimental to a child’s sense of independence and say there’s no reason to keep doing it.

If truth be told, it is recommended by experts that mothers breastfeed their babies until at least age one. As per the World Health Organization, mothers should breastfeed for at least two years of age. There are no recommendations as such pertaining to the age at which babies should stop breastfeeding. If anything, science proves that toddlers continue to acquire nutritional benefits from breast milk, so it actually depends on how long a mother wants to breastfeed her baby.

5 Baby wearing

Baby wearing has become a huge sensation in North America, but has always been a common occurrence in most other corners of the globe. There are different ways to baby wear and different gadgets out there that can help you wear your baby. But for those who are truly invested, knowledge is power and they want parents to know the proper practices to baby wearing naturally.

One reason people may find baby wearing upsetting is the age of children being worn by their parents. On the other side of the fence, parents who see people improperly wearing their children are upset and concerned for the children who are at risk because their parents aren't aware they're doing anything wrong.

4 Rice cereal vs Oatmeal cereal

Some parents think rice cereal contains no nutritional value, going so far as to say they're toxic and over-processed. Rice can be used as a filler for some food stuffs, but in baby cereal the rice is more than just an extra product to consume because they're fortified with iron, which can be lacking from breastmilk in later months as breastfeeding continues.

While it's ok to skip cereals altogether, at one point they were considered an essential part of feeding babies in their early days. So whether you choose rice or oatmeal, or to skip cereal, know that your baby will do just fine as long as they're getting their daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

3 Electronics for kids

Giving your child an iPad or another electronic gadget might be met with some eye rolls as other parents think about the cost of the device and how long it will last before it's broken. Other parents might judge you because they think that you're being lazy by parenting through technology rather than trying to engage your child one-on-one. 

It's your personal decision whether your child is ready for a Nintendo3DS, and it's your money, so if you think it's a great gift idea, go for it. You can teach your child responsibility with it and it's good for kids to be able to relax and do something fun and mindless for a bit. Why else would our ancestors play with sticks?

2 Spoiling your kids

If you gift toys and clothes to your kids on a regular basis, some parents might think that you're spoiling your kids. This judgement can come from a place of jealousy, or from misunderstanding why you'd be generous with your children. Some parents believe in working hard to earn things, but if you want to give your child a toy just because, then go ahead. There's nothing wrong with being generous.

Just make sure you're not giving in to whining and crying when you've already said no, because that will create problem behaviour. Even if you do, that's still not spoiling your children.

1  Raising religious children

Whether you're a devout Catholic, or go to temple every week. Others may judge you because you're passing your religious beliefs onto your children. Some parents and people believe that raising your kids to believe in a higher power is forcing dogma onto children who can't think for themselves. People raise their children without spirituality because they want their children to think freely about whether they want to believe in anything or not.

On the other side of that fence, some studies find that as children turn into teens, those who were raised with religion progress with less problems and have higher self esteem than their peers who were raised without spiritual doctrine.

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