rules of engagement

Seeing as this is my blog, I set the rules for comments and discussions.

This is not a food blog, and I am not a professional chef.  I don’t know the nutrition information.  I don’t know how to make things gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, or vegan.  (I am none of these things, so I probably won’t adapt any according to these guidelines.)  Feel free to ask questions like this in the comments because there may be folks out there who can fiddle with the recipe to get it where you want it.  Or you can experiment yourself and share your results.  Recipes are meant to be adapted and shared.

Share your story with the recognition that your story is no more right or legitimate than another’s.  I’ve been reading parenting articles and blogs for a while, and I’ve noticed a trend of articles written by everyday parents with no training in early childhood education, medicine, child development, etc.  There is nothing inherently wrong with these articles.  They have become part of the community we need but no longer have.  They are great in that they can provide some ideas for parents who are lost.  The trouble is that many are written as if the author is an expert on a certain aspect of parenting and that their way applies to all families.  I have regularly seen this attitude appear in comments on Facebook and on blogs.

Do not give unsolicited advice.  If someone says that they are hurting, that they are struggling, that they are frustrated, or that they are feeling anything negative, do not give advice unless specifically asked.  Some people just need to be heard.  Some need to commiserate.  Some are feeling too vulnerable and overwhelmed, which means that advice may increase their self-doubt or fears.

Be mindful about what research you are sharing and why you are sharing it.  Are you trying to prove you are right?  Don’t share.  Did something strike you as interesting and you’re interested in what other’s think?  Share away!  Are you sharing something you’ve seen on Romper, Babble, Scary Mommy, or sites like that?  Proceed with caution.

“I turned out ok.”  Share your story, but recognize that if you use or feel tempted to use this statement to defend your story or any kind of parenting practice, it may negate anything of value you might have to say and most certainly puts a full-stop on the discussion.  You are an intelligent person.  It is ok to feel defensive of parenting practices that you either practiced or were subjected to.  Unless you are a sociopathic sadist, you did what you thought was best. Unless your parents were addicted to something or sociopathic sadists, they did what they thought was best.  “I turned out ok” (or “my children turned out ok”) is a defensive strategy and not a valid argument that promotes meaningful discussion.  Please refrain from using it.

Respect new parents.  Always respect new parents.  Everyone is welcome on my blog.  However, this will be a safe haven for new parents.  New parents are some of the most vulnerable people in our culture, and they are also under the most pressure.  They have unsolicited advice coming at them from all angles.  They are being judged for every single thing they do.  Our culture is shameless in the way that it treats new parents.  Disrespect to new parents is not welcome on this blog.  Comments that disrespect new parents will be deleted.

No insulting me, my son, any member of my family.   I’m depressed that I even have to set this as an expectation, but it has happened on other blogs, Facebook profiles and pages, and Twitter far too many times.  I will ban and block you.

No insulting other commenters, the children of commenters, or any members of the commenters’ family.  Please see above.

No threats to harm me or my family.  I’m sorry that I even have to say this.  I will find a way to persecute.