It really bugs me when I’m told how to raise my child, whether by the government, by people I know, or random people off the street. If you have children, then you get to decide how you raise them (I have no desire to interfere with that at all). If you don’t have children, then it’s nothing to do with you, and you don’t know anything about it anyway. For better or worse (and it does seem a lot like worse, these days), any man & woman can have a child, and if they make that decision (or a decision that leads to a child that wasn’t expected), then they are responsible for making sure that, to the best of their ability, the child is brought up appropriately. ’Appropriately’, of course, is completely up to them (the things insane people do, like violence and abuse, don’t count – if you’re so badly disturbed that you can deliberately injure your own child, then you don’t belong in society).
I have no problem with people offering advice, or asking for it. But that’s where it stops. I really don’t care in the slightest what you (where “you” covers everyone but my wife) think about how I am raising my child. It’s our business, not yours. When he’s my age, then he can make his own judgement about it as well (but while he’s a child, he doesn’t get to decide, either). That means the government shouldn’t interfere, past ensuring basic rights (preventing the aforementioned violence, requiring schooling, etc). That means that if you’re someone that knows me, you’re welcome to have any opinion you like about how we are doing it, but you can keep any non-constructive criticism and negative judgements to yourself. If you’re a random person on the street, then feel free to give me a passing compliment, but you can save anything else to discuss with your own friends, if you have any. I imagine it would be extremely annoying if grandparents did this (they’ve had their chance, it’s time to let the kids have their turn). Thankfully, my parents are great, and let us do things however we like, even if it differs from what they would do (or did), all the while supporting us as much as they can.
One of the annoying things is that (as people who know me know) I really don’t care in general what people think about what I do. I act as I believe I should, and am happy to discuss things with people, but I’m going to do what I think is right, not what other people think I should do. So other people’s judgements wouldn’t bother me, except that it does bother my wife, and her opinion, of course, does count.
So, please: if you’re someone that does this, stop. Next time you feel you’re going to criticise someone else’s parenting to them, remember that it’s their kid, and their decision, and save your comments for a water cooler discussion another day.