Controversial Parenting Issues: Where Do You Stand?

The results are in: find out which side you fall on when it comes to controversial parenting issues

If you've ever wondered where you stand among other parents when it comes to your position on controversial issues, now you can. At least among a good chunk of those in the Buzzfeed readership, anyway.

BuzzFeed polled over 200,000 parents asking them about controversial subjects ranging from homeschooling (can a child truly get a well-rounded social and academic experience through homeschooling?) to spanking (should you spank your child?) to breastfeeding in public (is it appropriate for a baby to be breastfed in public?) Have a look at the answers and gain some insight into the personal beliefs of other parents.

Some answers that might surprise you…

Is it ever appropriate to discipline someone else's child? Sixty-seven percent say no while a whopping 33% say yes.

Would you spank your child? Fifty-two percent of parents say no but there is still 48% of parents who say yes.

Would you let your baby cry-it-out? Fifty-seven percent of parents are not in favour of this sleep training method but 43% say yes, they would use the cry-it-out method.

Would you schedule an elective C-section for the birth of your child? The majority of parents say no (64%), but the other 46% say yes, they would.

Is it okay for grade school-aged children to drink soda/caffeine? Sixty-eight percent say no to caffeine and carbonation, while 42% say yes.

As interesting—and much lengthier—than the poll results are the comments (Shock! Horror! Anger!) The topics covered by the poll are deeply personal ones, so it's not very surprising that Buzzfeed, the master of engaging content, chose this as a poll. No shortage of engagement here.

Engagement around these issues is good—it’s important that we have a dialogue about controversial parenting issues, as we do with all controversial issues. But what’s equally as important is that we also talk about the judgement, shaming and blaming that so often happens around that conversation. Parenting Coach Mercedes Samudio said it well:  

"We need to talk about how we all make quick judgements about how parents raise their children. We need to stop and reflect on how those judgements seep into our general consciousness and get internalized as facts for us to use against one another. And we need to talk about our fascination with blaming either the parent or the kid when the real issue is the environment in which the family lives." 

She’s so right. It’s important that we be critical, not necessarily of any one "side" of the debate, but rather, of the state of the debate itself. Taking an “us vs. them” approach to it just isn’t helpful or constructive. Samudio makes another good point: “We forget that mistakes and failures are actually part of the growth and change process.” That needs some space to take place.

So, Buzzfeed doesn’t have to change the world, but it can be a reminder that when we talk about controversial issues it’s important that we remember to take a step back and ask, is this real, honest, supportive engagement? 

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