The Problem with ‘Each to Their Own’

The Problem with 'Each to Their Own'

You hear this comment a lot when it comes to parenting. Someone shares their opinion on something and we’re told ‘each to their own’. We shouldn’t judge, we should mind our own business, everyone parents differently, different things work for different people.

Personally, I like talking about parenting. I like to think about it, consider new ways of doing things, and be inspired by other people. So, when I hear this comment I have a couple of problems with it.

Judging is OK

Firstly, we are SO hung up on ‘not judging’ these days. You can never say anything that could be the least bit judgmental. Judgement gets such a bad rap! Why? It’s only human nature to judge. It’s how we make decisions! It’s how we decide what we believe and what is important to us. We hear or see something and we judge. We think ‘that sounds good, I agree with that, I think I’ll try it’. Or else we decide ‘that feels wrong, that doesn’t align with my beliefs, that’s not something I’m comfortable with’. It is perfectly OK not to agree with the way someone else does something. Many many people disagree with my style of parenting. I don’t care in the slightest because I am confident in my choices. I think that I am parenting the right way for my children, and in a way that aligns with my beliefs. Not always of course, we all make mistakes! But I am trying to parent with respect and love and make choices that I think are right. I came to these decisions by learning about different styles of parenting and judging what I thought was right and wrong and making my own way. The same way everyone else does, whether they admit it or not.

That kind of judging to me is OK. Where judging is bad is when it turns into not only disagreeing with others choices but then berating them for that. I have seen lots of name calling between mothers on the internet. That’s the kind of judging we should be eliminating! But let’s keep the respectful sharing of ideas and debate. That’s what helps us grow and learn.

The Problem with 'Each to Their Own'

We SHOULD speak up for children

I believe that children deserve respect, and to be treated like whole people from the moment they are born. I believe we have no right to physically punish our children, just as we have no right to hit an adult. I believe that children deserve love, understanding, freedom, and trust. I believe it is possible to raise them without punishment and shame. I believe this for ALL children and I will continue to speak up about it.

I do not believe ‘each to their own’ regarding these things. Countless studies now show how detrimental physical punishment is for children. It is so ingrained in society though. That’s not OK with me and the only way we can change it is to keep talking, keep showing people there is another way. So I will unapologetically keep sharing my opinions, in a respectful way, and I hope you do too.

25 thoughts on “The Problem with ‘Each to Their Own’

  1. I respect your right to raise your children as you see fit and I am not doubting that they are lovely children.

    However, as an ex school teacher and having a husband who was once a security guard for various clubs we saw first hand the effects of parents not disciplining their children. As a teacher I saw the effects on children who had the whole “I can do whatever I want whenever I want” attitude and it was dreadful.

    My husband had to deal with young men who were raised where there were no consequences for disobedience.. Henceforth if he had to remove them from a club for extremely anti-social behaviour such as extreme drunkenness, violence or treating women disrespectfully they would be astounded. “You can’t touch me (followed by every expletive under the sun)!!”.

    The fact is there are consequences/punishment for disobedience to authority and the law – imprisonment, hefty fines, taking away of drivers licenses etc. That is a reality of life.

    Further, any studies that have shown that punishment of children has negative consequences are always from situations of households of abuse. Find me one study which shows the results of children that came from loving families where the children were given lots of positive affirmation, time and attention of the parents but were also disciplined and taught obedience. Where the discipline was not given in anger or rage.

    I am a bible believing Christian. I realise that not everybody who homeschools are Christian. However many are and I know many who discipline their children and where there are consequences for disobedience. From my experience these children are a joy to be around – happy, respectful and courteous. God tells us in the bible to discipline our children and teach them obedience. If my children can’t obey me they will never learn to obey God.

    Anyone reading this who loves the God of the bible will not see disciplining their children and teaching them obedience as foolishness or mean or harmful. If you don’t love the God of the bible no doubt you will.

    • I don’t know how many times we have to say it. Respectful parenting does not mean no parenting at all. There is discipline and limits and natural consequences. There is just no disrespectful methods such as shaming, yelling, and smacking. It IS possible to raise kids this way.
      Alfie Kohn sums up the ineffectiveness and harmfulness of punitive discipline well here: http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/punishment.htm
      There is much more research that is easily found but it won’t change anyone’s mind if they don’t want to hear it I guess.

    • Aren’t you obeying God by choice? Defining His divine will using a combination of research, intuition and logic? These are rational ways to make a decision. If you teach kids how to make a choice, they’re empowered to make it in their own time. A two year old doesn’t choose to follow the same God that you may be following, and definitely not for the same reasons. But everyone in the Bible learned to follow God by making a series of mistakes, often without visible punishment, but sometimes incurring the natural consequences that followed a bad decision. People have always learned this way, and it’s somewhat shocking to me that it’s publicly protested.

    • Lynda, I too am I bible believing christian. I’m curious, have you ever done a word study into the Greek and Hebrew on the word obedience as seen in the bible?

      Did you know, in fact, that the word obey doesn’t even appear in the original texts of the Bible? When the English translators of the King James version of the Bible encountered the Hebrew words hupakouo/hupakoe and shema/lishmoa they discovered that there wasn’t an exact English equivalent, so they chose the word hearken in their translations which subsequently became an archaic term and was later changed to obey .

      Please do yourself a beautiful favour and do a word study on the original terms. I won’t post them here. Ask God to reveal His very heart to you in regards to obedience and submission because they actually look very different to the way we use them here in the English western world.

      You can certainly discipline your children without punishment. They are two very different things.

  2. I so agree. This argument is an absolute pet peeve of mine. It’s limits growth and authentically helpful parenting.

    It excuses parenting methods that inflict violence, shame, disrespect and belittle children.

  3. I agree, as per usual. (Also, in reference to the above comment. I am a Christian & I love Jesus. I do not agree with physical punishment. I do believe it is harmful and unnecessary. Both my husband and I believe that physical punishment is NOT reflective of the heart and character of God). There are plenty of ways to guide children without the need for physical punishment. 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing the article it truly brings light to the topic.

    This section sums it up for me.
    “The problem with the latter approach is that once your power begins to ebb – and it will — you’ve got nothing left. As Thomas Gordon pointed out, “The inevitable result of consistently employing power to control [your] kids when they are young is that [you] never learn how to influence.” The more you rely on punishment, therefore, “the less real influence you’ll have on their lives.”[11]”

  5. Great post Sara, I try not to judge others and the way they parent as I’m certainly not perfect either!

    I think it’s very right to stand up for the ones who don’t have a voice. But be prepared for backlash of people who disagree with parenting respectfully.

    I’ve lost many a real life friend from our parenting choices, especially cause we’re meant to be “bible believing Christians” 😉

  6. I love this post! I was thinking about ‘judging’ this morning and how natural it is as humans to evaluate what we see in order to learn. Positive judging helps us to take in new information and ways of being in order to validate or expand our existing knowledge. I learn so much from other parents regardless of whether their ways align with my own. Thank you for starting the discussion.

  7. Oh for goodness sake, are we living in the real world here or some kind of la la land?  Punishment is a fact of life…you can’t perform your job properly you get fired…you resist arrest you get tasered, capsicum sprayed or sadly shot…you drive over the speed limit you get fined…you commit murder you get imprisoned…you smuggle drugs into certain countries you get executed.  

    If a member of your family was murdered or raped would you want the offender to be punished? Or would that be unloving? Would you prefer that the judge let him or her go as an act of loving kindness.

     Is justice loving? You better believe it! Love and justice cannot be separated. Jesus was God in the flesh.  God is love.   God cannot be loving if He was not also just.  God did not punish?  Are you serious??? Get yourself a copy of the King James bible and get reading.

    I’m not really interested in made made versions of God.  People professing to be Christian and then coming up with what they think God is based on emotion and mixing their beliefs on what the world says and not on the bible.  If you are a born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ bible believing Chrisitan you do not just choose what parts of the bible you like and what parts you don’t like. You are not wiser than God.

    God is holy and righteous and he therefore hates sin.  He deplores it.  He therefore sent His only son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  We are all sinners because we all break his commandments.  Every last one of us. The ten commandments in particular are what the laws of our land are based upon and laws that even atheists are happy to be under – thou shalt not murder, steal, bear false witness.  They hate God but are happy to live under His laws.  Try living in a country where these laws don’t apply.

    Anyone who therefore does not repent of their sins will one day face the ultimate judgement and punsishment of their sins.

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

    John 5:24.

    The same cannot be said for those who are not saved.  You will be judged for all of your impure thoughts, bad deeds, wrong motives. All of your sins – breaking of God’s law as contained in the bible. Everything you have done will be measured up against the bible. There will be no escaping it and none will emerge as being found not guilty.

    “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

    Revelation 20:11-14.

    Is this unloving to tell you this? In the eyes of the world it is. But this is God’s word and God is love and God is righteous and God judges.

    And yes the Greek and Hebrew words mean obey, it’s really simply obedience which means submission and compliance and they are the action of obedience, as for my children I am an adult hardened and educated from life, that is called experience and that is how we ….learn. 

    Discipline is discipline without discipline homosexuals walk into a shop demand a cake made and when the people say no…they demand justice, they sue them so they lose their livelihood, they demand that we must force people to obey through the use of punishment to obey what others say regardless of their own opinions. 

    That is what you people are trying to do…

    You honestly believe you have a right to tell and force people into obeying, agreeing complying and submitting to what you believe is the only way to raise kids…and all the while you don’t expect or teach your own kids to do the same.

    What hypocrisy…

    I don’t have the time or energy for a ping pong match so that’s the last I have to say or read on this matter.  I’m always going to stick with what God, the creator of all, has to say on disciplining children and not the what the latest worldly trend is.

    How are all these worldly, psychology based methods of raising children working out anyway? Try spending time in a school or on the shift of a policeman on his beat or outside a nightclub one Saturday night to see just how methods of raising children outside of what God says is working out. It ain’t working people. It’s a disaster.

    If anybody who loves God and is interested on what God has to say about disciplining children you can read a post I wrote on this topic here:

    http://www.allaboutmama.com/2014/09/17/disciplining-children-gods-way/

    I don’t care what people think of me or if they ridicule me but when people start saying things about God that are not biblical and make up their own version of God I’m going to say something.  

    Do yourself the ultimate favour and read the bible.  Read it to your children. It is the book of life.  It will never teach you a lie.  It will be the best thing you could ever possibly do for them.

    • “You honestly believe you have a right to tell and force people into obeying, agreeing complying and submitting to what you believe”

      No, I didn’t say that, but I absolutely will not pretend I am ok with physical punishment of children. Though I’m not sure why this would be a problem with you if I did, as I see from your blog you find it a perfectly acceptable method to use on your own children (“Obedience has to do with the breaking of self will. That self will must be broken as early as possible”, “Chastisement is the infliction of pain for correction or restraint. Never respond to rebellion with threats. Chasten immediately.”). Let’s just say you’re not going to find anything that resonates with you over here. We’re about treating children like actual humans.

      “Discipline is discipline without discipline homosexuals walk into a shop demand a cake made and when the people say no…they demand justice, they sue them so they lose their livelihood, they demand that we must force people to obey through the use of punishment to obey what others say regardless of their own opinions.”

      Are you kidding me with this?? Hateful comments like that are most definitely not welcome here.

      “I’m always going to stick with what God, the creator of all, has to say”

      That’s good to hear. Maybe have a re-read of Matthew 7…

      7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    • Lynda, as a bible believing christian you say you are I’m really saddened to see this post.
      I see no fruits of the spirit excerised just a whole lotta fiery judgement from your keyboard.

      Please tell me, why would have God sent His only son, to pay the penalty for our sin, Jesus taking the punishment we did deserve because of our sin and died for us if God wanted to continue to punish us for such sin?!

      Jesus paid the price once and for all.

      You don’t have to keep “punishing” your children because wasn’t Jesus’ sacrifice enough? Or are you saying that His sacrifice wasn’t when you continue to punish for your childrens hearts and want to break their will.
      God gave us free will to choose him. Not to bend us to mindless robots.

      God certainly wants us to discipline our children, the root meaning of discipline is disciple. But your getting punishment and discipline confused.
      I used to think like you (I read your post by the way on your blog) but God lead me through his word, and I begun looking into the Hebrew and Greek terms and within context.

      Also you CLEARLY did not look up the original terms of His word.

      You have no right to think I’m not a Christian who doesn’t read the “whole” bible as you put it. You don’t know me or my walk. I’ve actually been to bible college and done years of study.

      I wish you all the best Lynda. I’ll be praying that the Lord reveal himself to you more and more.

      Also, sorry for hijacking your comment section Sara with a theological debate. These things usually annoy me to no end, they are very petty and unattractive to people who arent Christians. So I apologize.

    • I will never understand why someone who professes to treat her kids with love and respect receives so much negative feedback. How can you be against treating kids lovingly? How is it a “made up version of God” when Jesus LITERALLY treated everyone with respect and love?

      PS. Thank you, Sara, for standing up against hate speech here, too.

  8. This post is fantastic and is something I have been thinking for a loooong time! Why is it so hard for others to look at their parenting and not want to learn more or make a change? At what point do we sit back and watch others verbally and physically abuse children and not say something??? I find it disgusting! I have a very natural way of parenting and also want homeschool, yet I’m the odd one out because I don’t want my son growing up hooked on TV and iPads!! I say yes we speak up! And it’s always the people who feel guilty and insecure inside who are the first ones to throw stones and then say ‘oh don’t be so judgemental!’
    You are in inspiration and thank you so much for your amazing blog

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