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The Brutality of 'Peaceful' Parenting

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The comments sections of "kind" or "peaceful" parenting sites can be brutal. I'm not talking a little rough, I mean Brutal with a capital "B."

More than a year ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when a comment a friend left on a kind parenting site popped up on my screen. There was a heated discussion underway about "crying it out," or CIO as it's called on the World Wide Web. The vitriol was astounding. Two camps were emerging—one set of parents who were comfortable with placing their not yet sleeping infant or baby down for a nap, allowing them to "cry it out" before achieving slumber, and the other camp of parents who were shocked and appalled with that practice, calling it neglectful and abusive.

A few, mysteriously, associated it with rape.

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I read comment after comment, my jaw dropping just a wee bit lower with each one. Unfolding before my eyes was a virtual mob akin to the Gangs of New York, except here were parents fighting over babies and how they sleep.

The social worker in me, perhaps the mother, actually, took over and before I knew it I was crafting a carefully constructed response, trying to strike the right tone between admonishing and encouraging. I was fairly certain I had been successful, when I saw that my comment has been "liked" a few times. But then, oops, nope, I realize I had been banned by the page.

While I could see the debate continue, I was no longer able to comment or respond or even "like" anything I was seeing. Huh.

I had been banned by the kind parenting page. Whoa. Better yet, I had been banned for suggesting that folks who happen to practice a different parenting style deserved the same kindness and compassion that our precious babies are afforded. It is still one of my online badges of honor that I claim proudly.

As I see parents in online communities tear other parents apart, I just keep wondering who has time for that?

Fast forward to earlier this week when a friend posted a meme circulated by the same page that had banned me. I was curious, so popped over to the page to nose around. Yep. It was still as brutal as ever. There were dozens and dozens and dozens of the kindest parents you will ever meet all spewing hatred and anger about discipline, obedience, circumcision, homeschooling and other topics near and dear to peaceful folk everywhere.

Somehow, raising an obedient child is a crime tantamount to grooming junior Nazis. I know this, because the meme from the kind parenting page told me so. So, in today's online world, wanting a child that is mannered and follows strict rules established by a parent is now akin to killing over six million Jews. Shame, shame, shame on you, peaceful parents.

It still astounds me that parents can be so brutal towards one another about the dogma they follow. I've written before about how parenting theory is no different than organized religion in that there is an inherent right vs. wrong and us vs. them mentality to it. Honestly, I have a hard time tolerating it. Raise your kiddos, love them, teach them to do unto others, yada yada yada.

It truly can be that simple.

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As I see parents in online communities tear other parents apart, I just keep wondering who has time for that? The premise of these pages is to create a "safe" place for like-minded parents. OK, cool, but when almost each and every post devolves into furious keyboard matches with folks who practice something different, well, what is the point? I mean, besides raising your blood pressure.

I don't know about you, but I am too busy for that nonsense. I have teeth to brush and beds to make and laundry to fold and stale noodles to remove from thermoses that were left in backpacks overnight. And while I do all that, I will keep teaching my kids kindness and empathy and tolerance and all those other good things that I wish us parents shared with one another.

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