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Old 01-06-2010, 04:46 AM
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ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
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Default Irrational Parents Pt2

Now…the extension of the comment which was read into the original comment…and what I think it actually means:

While we’re on the subject of what non-parents may or may not know about parents and kids…it’s not entirely unlike teachers and students. Everyone thinks they’re an expert, since generally everyone has been a kid with a parent…just as almost everyone has been a student with a teacher.
I’ve been told by my friends who have since become teachers that it’s quite a different reality being a teacher...including that of Parent/Teacher days where they get to meet several ‘experts’ who will pontificate at the teachers about how they should be doing their job.

This is very similar I think to how parents feel when continuously challenged to justify themselves to those who aren’t parents.
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
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When someone with no children lectures me on my decision making-that to me is belittling. They are assuming that they know what is best in my situation, despite having no experience in my situation.

Further that to someone who doesn't even KNOW me OR my children-and it comes across as highly arrogant and presumptive.
I apologize if speaking of the effect that your decisions have on others is lecturing. I don't think anyone was speaking about questioning that what you're doing is best for your children.
Ceoli…I chose this specifically because I do think you understand how it can come across...and that it’s probably not the intention.

I also know you realize the other extension of this though…as I alluded to above, the experience of being a parent is an experience unique to individuals...and those who have not had that experience will not have the same perspective. I’ve seen you say as much.
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
I can comprehend intellectually the way it feels to have my leg amputated, but unless my leg is ACTUALLY amputated-it's only conceptual.
While it's GOOD for me to work on conceptual understanding of things I don't personally experience, it's unfair to those truly suffering the experience and somewhat egotistical for me to tell someone I DO understand what they experience if I in fact haven't ever been through their situation.
EVEN if I have been through having my leg amputated, I STILL don't know exactly what THEY are going through-because I am not them. I don't have their mind, their life experience etc and therefore I don't feel exactly what they feel.
I specifically said earlier in this thread that I certainly cannot understand the EXPERIENCE of having a child. I was speaking to the issues that surround having a child and the presumption that any of us who are looking at this from outside are ignorant of such issues.
This last part is the only clincher. Nothing in my post said anything about you or anyone else being ignorant of the issues surrounding care. Between own family, siblings, exposure to children, social work, friends with kids, teaching, there’s a myriad of ways to get experience with kids, know the issues, see family drama in action, even be a part of it.

Non-parents and their perspective can in fact be very valuable, benefiting from not being as myopic or clouded by affections and instinct as parents might be. Regardless of what they know about parenting, they’re still experts with many years experience of being kids…and might remember what it was like better than the parents...but still with the communication abilities of an adult, which kids sometimes lack. Sometimes it can simply be similar to the perspective an observer may have from outside the NRE of two new lovers. As I said, parents can be a little irrational about their kids…and non-parents can sometimes provide a moderating force to balance that. Mothers being a force of nature, the only thing to say about that is that sometimes it needs to be approached very delicately lest the bear comes out from hibernation.

Along those lines, if it sometimes feels that parents react badly to the suggestion that they should make decisions more like you, or that they don’t think you understand, some of that may be a result of a not so delicate approach...but in a few places like this thread, I think some of it comes from a place of envy. Just like some people grow up and get into the working world and long to be back in school again sometimes, so do some parents sometimes long to be able to make decisions for only themselves. To be able to enjoy a former life they might only vaguely remember where there was no responsibility, no babysitters, no minivan, or clothes covered in dried up pabulum.

It’s not that non-parents don’t have something to contribute…and I would never assume that they have nothing to contribute just because they aren’t a parent. I had plenty of good ideas before I was a parent that are still good ideas after too. However, having been a non-parent, while I believe it’s possible, it’s few and far between the individuals who are not parents who would truly understand the full mindset, and decision making of those who are…and that can exist across time as well. The mind as a non-parent may be very different than a few short months later when they become a parent, and that one is different again than the mind after another couple years or raising a child.

Ceoli...I know you in particular should understand this…which is why I also dug out this nugget...
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
The facilitator responded with this powerful question: "Who do you think understands the experiences and challenges of being a person of color in white privileged society? You or the people who have lived it all their lives?"
This is simply one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard or read. It speaks to something I think is just a plain truth.

In this particular context of addressing non-parents (and I would gladly remodel this for dozens of contexts…it’s that versatile), I would simply paraphrase it to say, who do you think understands the experiences and challenges of being a parent? You, or those who have time-in as parents?
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