People have so many opinions on how to best raise a child, and there are no right or wrong answers. Of course, everyone thinks that their way is the best way, and that they have all of the answers. And everyone wants to give you advice, whether you're pregnant with your first child, your second child, or all of your kids are elementary school-aged.
You have to do what feels like the right thing for you, and if that means telling your mom that you know they have well-meaning advice but you just can't take it, then that's the way that it works out sometimes. What works super well for one mom and one family won't necessarily work the same way for someone else. It can be awkward but it's always best to follow your gut instincts as a mother.
While we all agree that we want our children to be healthy and full of joy, that we want them to do well in school and have friends and learn new things, and that we want them to live the best life possible, that's about where our similarities end. The following 20 parenting questions are ones that moms will never agree on.
20 Should You Stay Home Or Go Back To Work?
The question of whether a mom should stay home with her kids or go back to work full-time after having a baby is a pretty huge one. This is definitely a parenting question that moms will never agree on. While one mom will really want to return to their career and juggling a job and a family feels like the right thing, the next mom will know that they want to be a SAHM.
Sometimes this is personal preference and other times, this is a financial decision.
For those reasons, there will never be one right answer to the parenting question, "Should I stay home or go back to work?"
19 How Much Junk Food And Sugar Is Too Much?
Should kids only get treats at a birthday party? Once a week? Once a month?
If they have a dessert or potato chips or candy or ice cream several times a week, is that too much because that seems like a sugar overload?
The question of how much candy and junk food is too much for kids isn't an easy one to answer. We care about giving our children healthy food but we also know that they should live a balanced life where they enjoy themselves. Some moms might have more rules about sugar and junk food than others, so this is a tough question to agree on.
18 Do Babies Really Need To Cry It Out Or Should You Reach For Them Every Time?
Moms know that it can be super tough to listen to babies cry it out. You have that maternal instinct and want to be there for your sweet little one.
Parents can't agree on what to do here: do you let your baby cry it out because that's what some experts say to do, or do you reach for your baby every time because it's not very nice for them to cry so much? This is one of the many tough decisions that you make as a parent, and you might not even be certain that what you decided on was the right thing.
17 Are Vaccines A Good Or Bad Idea?
To vaccine or not to vaccine: it's a question that all parents ask themselves (and each other). It's also a question without any simple answers. Some parents believe that this is absolutely necessary. They keep their shots up to date and make sure that their children do the same.
Other parents aren't so sure and believe the sometimes controversial things that are in the media.
16 How Many Activities Do Kids Need And What About Free Time?
Many of us might say that kids today are overscheduled. That seems like a fair assessment when we think about all of the activities that we drive our kids to all of the time. Others would say that kids need a lot of activity, stimulation, and fun and educational opportunities, so this is no big deal.
While one mom wants her kids to have one activity a week so they have some time to play outside with friends or neighbors or just be a kid in general, another mom wants to follow a busier schedule. It really depends and there is no right answer here.
15 Is A Pacifier A Good Idea?
According to Babble, the question of whether a baby should use a pacifier is something that moms feel differently about: "Some people think giving a baby a pacifier will cause dependence and [nip] confusion. Others believe it's the best way to soothe a fussy child. Personally, I've had one baby who's loved her pacifier, and three who refused to take one."
This is a perfect example of how many choices a mom has to make in a day and how what works for one baby doesn't work for another.
You might feel one way about a pacifier and your best friend who just had a kid feels another way.
14 Should You Co-Sleep Or Not?
Co-sleeping is another aspect of parenthood that is hard for moms to agree on. As Babble says, "Some people swear co-sleeping is best for baby, others thinks it's especially dangerous. Personally, I have decided not to co-sleep with my children, but do nurse in bed (laying down) throughout the night."
This seems like one of those things that you can't know if you will do until you become a mom yourself. It might seem strange and like the baby or toddler should always sleep in their own bed, but many moms say this was the only way to get some shut-eye, and we can all relate to that.
13 How Long Should You Breastfeed For?
How long should you breastfeed your baby? It's a tricky question to answer. According to Baby Center, "Most women in Western cultures set goals for breastfeeding of between three and 12 months, but in other areas of the world it is normal to breastfeed for two years or longer."
Some moms go beyond the first year and breastfeed for two years or even longer. While one mom might feel like that is too long, it feels right for another. You really have to make your own personal decision here and we shouldn't judge anyone for what they want to do.
12 Is All Organic Necessary?
All moms want to feed their children healthy food... and that's about where moms stop agreeing. When it comes to food, moms have different opinions, and they are so passionate about this subject, too.
If you feel that you want to feed your family all-organic, then that is something that is important to you. Maybe you can afford it easily so the question is a no-brainer or maybe you're able to budget so you can swing it. For another mom, organic food is way too expensive or not even possible to find nearby, so that answers the question for them. What matters is that you do what you know is the right choice for your family.
11 Will Attachment Parenting Help A Child Or Not?
According to The List, attachment parenting is a topic that some parents feel strongly about and others aren't so sure.
As this article points out, the reason why some people aren't big on it is they feel it takes away a child's independence.
Part of this concept is co-sleeping, which is another thing that parents will never agree on. The best thing that we can do is remove all judgment and know that while we can't come to the same conclusion about how to raise our children, we're all doing what we can to ensure that our kids are healthy and joyful.
10 How Much Is Too Much Screen Time? Do Kids Need Their Own iPads?
The question of screen time might be fairly recent since this wasn't exactly a problem in decades past, but it's something that makes a lot of parents shrug their shoulders and scratch their heads. Should kids spend only an hour a day on screens, including watching TV and using the computer or iPad? And should kids get their own iPads?
That last question might seem ridiculous to some parents who think that kids are way too young for their own piece of technology.
But it's a valid question since some parents buy iPads for each child. To each their own.
9 Do Kids Need An Allowance?
Many of us can most likely recall getting an allowance. Maybe it was five dollars a week or a month (or more or less). Whatever it was, we might have felt that our siblings or friends got more than we did, and we weren't that thrilled.
Maybe we give our own kids an allowance... or perhaps we don't because we're not big on that idea. Either way, we can see how the question of whether children need their own money is something that could confuse a lot of parents. There really don't seem to be any simple answers here. Of course, money is always complicated.
8 At What Age Can Your Kids Stay Home Alone?
Sometimes we feel like our kids are growing up way too fast. We want them to stay young and innocent and we know that childhood is magical.
How young is too young for kids to stay home alone? Some parents might say that eleven is perfectly fine because pre-teens can take babysitting training courses. Other parents might feel that's really young and that it's just not safe, and they would rather that their kids be in their teens before they can stay home alone. And others are more of the mindset that under 18 is too young. It depends on what you think makes sense for your family.
7 Do All Children Need A Sibling?
If we have a few older siblings, it would make sense that we would want our own kids to have siblings and to grow up with tons of love and fun around. If we're an only child, we might think that's the best kind of household to have.
Deciding how many kids we want to have is so subjective, and no one can tell us what is right or wrong.
We know what feels right for us and our partner, and we shouldn't judge others for having three kids when we want one. Everyone is on their own path.
6 Can Your Kids Walk To School Alone?
This question might have a lot to do with what we did back when we were growing up.
If we walked to school alone every day, at least from a certain age on, then we would probably think that it's fine for our children to do the same.
If our mom always walked with us or maybe we took the bus, then it's possible that the idea of our kids going it alone would make us nervous. The thing to do here is make our decision and not allow anyone to sway us one way or the other because we have to do what feels right for us and what we're comfortable with. And, of course, we want our kids to be comfortable, too.
5 How Independent Should Kids Be?
Another question that parents can't quite agree on is how independent kids should be. While some parents give their young children a chores chart and want them to help out around the house, other moms and dads believe that childhood is a special, magical, and innocent time and that there will always be time for chores and household work.
Some parents want their kids to make their own lunches once they are old enough. Other moms are content to pack their kids' lunches even when they're in high school. If two moms had a discussion about this subject, they would come to very different conclusions.
4 What Is The Best Curfew For Teenagers?
All moms would say that teenagers need a curfew... or would they?!
Some parents might say of course this is necessary because you have to know where your kids are and they have to be responsible.
Others might say that you can raise kids so they are naturally responsible and they will know to come home at a decent and reasonable time. Some parents will decide on a curfew and say that's the rule and others will ask their teens what they think. It's yet another subject that would be very difficult for all parents to come to a consensus on.
3 Should Your Children Eat The Way You Do (Ex. If You're Vegan)?
It makes sense that if parents are vegan or follow a certain style of eating, they would have their kids eat the same way. They're preparing the meals and it makes things a lot simpler.
But it's not what everyone wants to do. Some parents feel super strongly that their children should eat the exact same way that they do and avoid animal products if they're vegan, for instance. Other parents are okay with their children eating some foods that they themselves don't and they want their kids to decide for themselves. Food is definitely a complicated issue.
2 Should You Be Your Kid's BFF Or An Authoritative Parent?
The List brings up this really good point: is it better to be a kid's BFF or a more authoritative figure? You could say that you feel more comfortable being good friends with your child and you want to create that kind of environment.
Your best friend and fellow mom could say that she feels the opposite way and would rather have a relationship with her kid where she is the one who is always in charge.
It depends on what you think is best for your family, but it seems like personalities might come into play as well.
1 Will Private Or Public School Deliver A Better Education?
Yet another tough question, you can never be sure which schools are good until your children start going there. One public school in a certain neighborhood could be awesome whereas the rest of the public schools in that city or town aren't the greatest, and the same thing could be true with the choice of private schools.
This is something else that is based on personal preference and, of course, budget. We might have gone to private school ourselves and we feel that it's important to send our children there, and we have the means so we decide to do so. Or maybe we didn't go to private school and so we have no attachment and think that public school is just fine.
These 20 parenting questions prove that nothing about this journey or road is easy, but as long as you go with your gut, you should be just fine (and your kids will be more than fine).