Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Judge Not

We've all read, ad nauseum, about the eighth deadly sin, parental judgmentalism. I like to think of myself as fairly accommondating of various parenting styles and decisions. For example, I don't hold particularly strong opinions about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding or co-sleeping versus using cribs or organic, homemade baby food versus plain old Gerber mush in a jar. Whatever works for you, go for it, I say. I tend to be a more than a little suspicious of people who espouse extreme views to such an extent that other practices are demonized.

That said, no matter how let-it-all-hang-out I may claim to be when it comes to what other parents do, I am not immune to certain trigger points, behaviors that I witness that just set off the self-righteous preacher in me. Spanking is a big one. Unlimited access to television is another one (note the word "unlimited," since I of course am chief facilitator of my kids' pleasant but moderated relationship with PBS Kids).

Apparently yet another one concerns, of all things, beverages.

Sean and Allie went to a birthday party on Saturday. Perfectly standard fare was served -- pizza and juice, followed by cake. Since my kids don't eat stuff like this often, I don't mind too much when it's served at parties. (And I should add that I don't know anyone in real life who is as progressive and crunchy as all my online friends are! Why don't any of you live closer to me?)

When food time came, I heard Sean whine to the party coordinator, "I don't LIKE juice!" True -- he drinks either soy milk or water. At parties he drinks water. The birthday parent overheard this and smiled. "It's okay, we also have rootbeer or orange soda for the kids."


Although I maintained a genial "oh, of course, how normal" facade, inside I turned slightly rabid at the thought of serving soda to toddlers and preschoolers. I said nothing, because who wants a lecture at a birthday party? I just found some water for Sean and decided I'd write about this instead.

I guess the moral of the story is that I should stop being judgmental about other people being judgmental. Now that I've shared some of my triggers, I'm curious -- what parenting behavior or decision or style sets you off?