The other day, a friend of mine went to a health food store to buy her young son some gluten-free porridge, as he has bad food allergies. She was speaking to the shop’s sales clerk and mentioned that she typically microwaves the porridge. The clerk reeled back in horror and gave her a lecture about how unhealthy it is to use a microwave. The thing is, my friend is a scientist and knows that that’s not actually the case. Still, the clerk continued to scold her and said, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
When she left the shop, my friend was fuming and ready to write the store’s manager an angry letter. She felt like the clerk was overstepping her bounds and being very judgmental. Even if she was right, it was not her place to comment on my friend’s parenting.
Another mother I know says it drives her crazy when strangers pass by, see her son yawning or being upset, and say something like, “Oh, he needs a nap,” or “You should put a jacket on him.” She argues that, as her child’s mother, she knows what is best for him and is offended when others give unsolicited advice. She says people she doesn’t know are constantly weighing in on whether or not she should breastfeed and other private parenting matters.
Obviously, there are some extreme cases in which a child’s life may be in immediate danger. But generally, it’s not our place to comment on the parenting of people we don’t know. Just because you feel strongly about one issue doesn’t mean it’s your right to interfere.