Friday, December 18, 2009
Pass the Bean Dip!
Several years ago I saw a post on an attachment parenting called Pass the Bean Dip. I have since seen it written for other choice in life such as homeschoolling. In a nut shell, we need to have boundaries when talking with others. It is fine when they ask questions, but I would hope we all make the best choices that we can for our children and they may not be the same choices that others make. In making different choices, many people feel that they need to defend THEIR position. We do not need to defend ours though. And we don't need to attack others choices. We just need to be comfortable that it is the right choice for our family.
This type of thinking and conversation can happen in any area of life where you are making choices with your kids: basic parenting, homeschooling, if you get your child a cochlear implant, if you do sign, how divorce is handled with the kids and even what type of food your kids eat. We have recently begun RDI and I have found it 'interesting' to think about telling folks to pass the bean dip here too. I almost don't have to re-write it as the conversation is almost identical regardless of the issue. Remember... you do not need to cite references, explain or support your position. You know you are making the right choice for your kid..or you wouldn't be doing it!
Uncle Fred: "Why RDI? I have heard that behavioral models are proven."
You: "We are doing something different for our child. Pass the bean dip please."
Aunt Bessie: "Where are your chore charts? I heard that is the best way to work with autistic kids. That and schedules."
You: "We have our schedules covered Aunt Bessie. Love ya. Can you pass the bean dip please?"
Cousin Crazy (who watches too much news): "Why doesn't he look at me? All the stuff on the news says I should tell him to look at me. And how come you aren't doing ABA that is on all the newscasts."
You: "We are going a different route and please don't tell him to look at you. Bean dip please."
Grumpy Gonzo : "Well I remember back in the day, if one one of our kids got out of line we'd just take 'em out to the wood shed. All that kid needs is a firm hand."
You: "Our discipline methods are working well for us. Thanks for caring. Could you pass the bean dip?"
Get the picture? There doesn't need to be confrontation. Some people ask questions out of genuine love. Some have deep insecurities about their own methodologies. In either case, there is no need to provide websites, books and papers on why you do what you do unless they are someone who is in your life every day. And in that case, they already know why you do what you do. If someone persists, firmer words might be necessary and you can just say that "our choices have been made. Please do not ask again. And I still want some bean dip."
Remember though that the shoe can be on the other foot. Just because someone makes a different choice does not make it wrong for their family (even if you sincerely think they are wrong.) It is not effective to badger someone who you see infrequently. Those types of discussions are for folks in sincere ongoing relationships or with someone who is truly interested.
So try and have fun with your kids. Do what you need to do to relax. And stuff yourself on bean dip if you have to!