I love reading Babble. I love the thought provoking posts the writers contribute (and secretly, I wish that one day I’ll be asked to be a contributor on their site, but that’s a post for another day), although I don’t always agree with the opinions, I enjoy reading about other people’s thoughts on a wide variety of parenting subjects.
The other day I was reading an article on the mom who gave her consent for her 10 year old son to get a tattoo in memory of his deceased brother. You can read the article here. As per usual, Babble asked readers for their thoughts.
My thoughts on the whole matter? The law isn’t too strict. I don’t agree with tattooing a 10 year old, regardless of the reason. If he really wanted a tattoo in memory of his brother, that’s fine…he could wait until he was the legal age. In Ontario, you can get a tattoo at 16 but only with a legal guardian’s consent. The legal guardian has to be over the age of 18. There is a huge difference, developmentally, between a 10 year old and a 16 year old. I see nothing wrong with making your 10 year old son wait until he’s at least 16 and if he still felt just as strong about getting the tattoo, fine. Getting a tattoo in memory of someone is a beautiful reason, but I’d also make sure I “approved” of it before it was done – meaning that I would need to see the design, see the artist’s work, and “approve” of the location. Yes, both Matt and I have tattoos (and will be getting more) but we both have ones we regret. Either the artist wasn’t very good (like, at all…note to self, never get “free” tattoos), or the placement is too hard to conceal. At 16, most kids don’t know what they want to do when they grow up, and I want to make sure that the tattoo won’t interfere with career choices.
16 is incredibly young to get a tattoo too, and I can’t say I’d even give my consent. I will probably make both my kids wait until they are 18, unless I truly felt it wasn’t something they would regret later on in life.
So no, I don’t agree with giving consent for your 10 year old to get a tattoo, regardless of the meaning behind it. There’s nothing wrong with saying “that’s a beautiful idea, however, you’re going to wait until you are older”.
Do I agree with her getting arrested for it? No…not really. I think that’s a bit excessive. If her child isn’t neglected and she’s generally a good parent who just made a bad decision because she misses her other son and truly felt that it was a great tribute to him, then I don’t think going to jail is a suitable “punishment”. She should have found a different way to help him deal with the grief until he is old enough to get a tattoo, by law, but I’m sad for her. She’s lost one son, and now is going to jail for a very poor parental choice. I personally think the tattoo artist shouldn’t have done the tattoo in the first place, and he/she should be looked at for ethical reasons.
So, that’s my opinion on that. Now onto the real reason for this post: the comments [on Facebook] and the post. A few comments were made about how “circumcision is just as bad”. This really irritated me. If circumcisions were just as bad, then they wouldn’t be legal. There are medical benefits to having your son circumcised, but I’m really not going to get into that here – I know people are either pro or against, and behind it 100%. That’s why I make it a point to not discuss whether or not we circumcised our boys. I’ve had people ask me, and my answer is always the same. What’s it to you?
Remember the days when things like circumcision weren’t discussed? They were inappropriate conversations to have? I still feel that way. A lot of people can’t accept the fact that others have different opinions from them, and they just can’t agree to disagree. Instead, name calling gets tossed around. I’ve read the anti-circumcision parents calling the parents who did circumcise their boys abusive. What the hell? Really? The judgy-mcjudgy parents need to get off their damn high horse and stop tossing that word around. Just because you don’t agree with a parental choice someone else has made, doesn’t mean you get to call them “bad parents” or “abusive”. That isn’t how it works. If I don’t agree with something someone is doing, I hold my tongue and accept the fact that I don’t agree, and I drop it. My parental decisions are just that: mine. Just like yours are yours, and I won’t call you a bad parent for simply making a different decision.
You are a bad parent if you don’t love your child, if you hit and belittle and scream at and generally just don’t take care of you kid. If you don’t give a rats ass, you’re a bad parent.
But if you’re doing the best that you can? If you generally love your child and it shows, despite the different parental choices you make? You’re a good parent. Nobody has the solution to everything. Nobody knows the “right” way to parent because there is none. You just do the best you can do and love your child unconditionally.
I don’t think it’s right for anyone to call anyone else a bad parent based on their parental choices. Like when Jill blogged about using the CIO Method on her kids, the amount of people attacking her for this decision, telling her she didn’t love her own daughter, truly sickened me. So the CIO Method isn’t something you’d do; whatever, that’s fine, if that works for your family that’s fantastic. I did the CIO Method with Nolan because I had to. Because if I went into his room I’d only anger and frustrate him off more. With Archer, things are different. He’s a different kid. If he cries, it’s because he needs something – a diaper change or a feeding. He’s also 4 months old. Who knows what will happen when he’s close to a year? Who knows what “method” will work for him, and for us?
I once blogged about my yelling. I’m a yeller, always have been. It’s something I’m working on, something I’m trying to not do because I don’t like yelling. But it’s not like I yell for no reason. If Nolan is being bad and not listening to my gentle voice, I’ll raise it. He knows I mean business and he’ll stop what he’s doing. He knows that I love him, unconditionally. Raising my voice doesn’t mean I don’t respect him. I don’t belittle him when I yell at him, I’m generally saying “NOLAN, we don’t touch/do that”. I give time outs, I do my best to correct inappropriate behavior and I don’t think that makes me a bad parent, like the author of this post believes. My friend Allie wrote a post on her response to this bizarre, judgmental post, and I read it…the entire time I nodded my head in agreement. I read her post first, and then the Blogher post. I was sicken by what I read…I don’t appreciate being called a bad parent for having picked up my child and carried him out mid temper tantrum. I pick him up to avoid “dragging” him, which would happen if I’m trying to lead him out of an area and he flops down to the ground. I don’t judge a parent when I see them trying to lead their child out, and they end up “dragging” them. Sometimes, our kids don’t listen to us. Sometimes, our hands are full of other things and we can’t carry them out. I give that parent a sympathetic smile because I’ve been there. I always choose to carry, if I can, because Nolan’s shoulders are very weak and I fear dislocation. I make it a habit of letting go of his hand if he tries to drop down, and he knows this and tries to take advantage of it.
I don’t find this method harsh or abusive. Adults don’t throw tantrums in public, because we learned young not to. Because we got a firm talking to and removal from the place we were having a meltdown in. Those times that I have taken Nolan out of a store for not listening, I haven’t been mean about it. I’ve removed him from the situation and explained to him why I removed him and why he’s in trouble.
When kids throw temper tantrums, people look and they judge and that needs to stop. People judging others based on “impressions” is just redundant. You’re judged if you ignore the behavior. You’re judged if you try to correct the behavior.
Sometimes, I wonder if things will ever get easier. I find I’m getting judged on so many things with my kids this little. Whether or not I had them circumcised, whether or not I breastfeed or cloth diaper, whether or not I spent over 300 on a stroller, and so on and so forth. I’ve had moms tsk at me because I don’t spend thousands on baby gear, or baby clothes. I don’t have the “top brands” and therefore, in their eyes, I love my kids less. This is such and utter crap, I’d love to be able to buy the “top brands” of baby stuff but I can’t afford to. My kids are clean, fed, and, I like to think, well dressed…but I’m not going to break the bank for brand name things. I find that I’m constantly worried that people think I’m a bad mom because my opinions and parenting techniques differ from theirs. And I’m tired of worrying about that, I really am.
I really wish the harsh judgments would stop. It’s okay to have a different opinion, but the name calling and outright rudeness needs to stop. Don’t you agree?
Now would be a good time to point you in the direction of The Mom Pledge. I feel very strongly about stopping mommy bullying, and every other kind of bullying. I’ve taken the pledge, and if you also want to put a stop to bullying…you should too.
The Mom Pledge:
I am a proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example.
I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, “right” way to be a good mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.
I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.
I stand up against cyber bullying. My online space reflects who I am and what I believe in. I will not tolerate comments that are defamatory, hateful or threatening.
I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks with no mention or response. I can take control.
I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.
I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference.