Have you ever been told that you should never be angry with your parents because they did the best they could for you?
Well, I’m all up for that (unless they did some really terrible things, in which case there’s no excuse).
What I do have an issue with is when my parents begin questioning my own parenting skills, not understanding that 30 years later, the sciences of medicine and psychology have progressed?
The list of things my parents think makes me a bad mom grows larger by the day:
- You’re not giving him water? Well I drink a glass of milk from time to time, but it doesn’t quench my thirst!
- Why won’t you feed him whole milk yet? You drank it since you were three months old and look at you! (On my second blog, I go into detail on why this isn’t a good idea!)
- Why won’t you put salt into his food? It must be so bland and disgusting!
- You still won’t give him sweets? But he’s a big boy now! (mind you, he’s 10 months old)
- Oh come on, put him into a sitting position already, who cares what the doctors say!
- You have to stop rocking him to sleep! Just put him into the crib and if he starts crying, he’ll soon calm down, trust me.
Now… now. I do know that my parents didn’t know any better. I was consuming salt, sugars, and cow’s milk way too early on; I was walking via a stroller when we now know it’s not good for the baby’s bones. They practiced the “cry it out” method when getting me to sleep.
And I get it — in 1994, there was no widespread internet. There were no thousands of articles or Google to tell you in a single click not to do that.
What bugs me ever so much is the fact that they think I am exaggerating, and that my child is lacking because of it. Now, that really gets on my nerves.
Because my child is anything but lacking. I make him homemade cookies he can eat in one sitting, so I can avoid additional sugars. I add different spices and food combos, and yes, I will even occasionally give him a Hipp vegetable jar (with no salt added), so he can enjoy food without hurting his kidneys in the long run.
And what makes me even angrier is that very logic: our parents did it, we did it, and aren’t we all healthy?
There’s a big part of me that just wants to put on paper every little disease they’re struggling with — diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels… And ask them — really? Really? Are you healthy?
But I never do it, and the reason is simple: I know I’ll never convince them. They’ll always find excuses as to why that’s not the cause of it. So, being a psychologist, I know there’s only one other way to keep myself calm and mentally healthy throughout it all.
How to Deal With Parents Questioning Your Parenting
- Understand what I’m feeling. When faced with this, some may feel sad, others anxious, and I just feel angry.
- Figure out if it’s a healthy or an unhealthy emotion. Anger is an unhealthy negative emotion, as opposed to dissatisfaction, which is also a negative emotion, but a healthy one.
- Get to the bottom of what exactly is making me angry. In my case, it’s usually this belief: “My parents cannot and have no right to question my parenting skills! How dare they?”
- Understand that the previous statement is ridiculous. Yes, they can question me! There’s no law against it. And it’s my responsibility to be sensible about it and bring myself to feel dissatisfaction rather than anger. From that place, I may even be able to confront them (as futile as that may sound) without causing a fight.
This approach is typical for REBT — Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
If you have any emotional issues, I’m a psychologist who did two extra years of REBT training, and I’d be happy to teach you how to use this approach yourself!
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