Nicole Knepper">

True Grit

This article, entitled True Grit comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear © on

Before I became the keeper of my own wee people, I harshly judged parents of small children. I’m not using hyperbole here with when I use the word harsh. I was HARSH!

I gave dirty looks to crying children in church, in restaurants and on airplanes. When I saw a child walking about with a pacifier, I silently chastised the mother. When I heard a parent threaten a consequence, count to 3 and then do absolutely nothing, it made me cringe. I always thought a monkey could parent better than most of the people I was critiquing.


Sometime between realizing that there were no less than 20 pacifiers in my house and the time my 2 year old daughter walked up to me at the pool and lifted up my swimsuit, I learned to shut my pie-hole. The thing of it is, I still find myself thinking all sorts of critical and judicious things when it comes to the way other people choose to parent.

Is it ever O.K. to critique another person’s parenting style?

Now I’m not talking about the obvious stuff like abuse or neglect, I’m talking about having the stones to open your mouth and actually say something to somebody else about the way they choose to interact/discipline/feed/care for their children.

Recently, I was at a birthday party and this parent person, made a condescending remark to a young couple with regard to how they discipline their kids. Now this person attempted to dress it up as a complement, but it was so clearly a jab that I was twitching with discomfort. The energy in the room became charged with tension and so as usual, I cut the cloud of “ick” with humor. I just had to rescue all of us from the unforgiving and awkward silence.

Whether or not I agreed with this parent person that I shall refer to as, Stones, and I think you know why, the comment was completely inappropriate for a number of reasons. This was truly an example of the wrong time and place, but once again I ask the question; Is it ever O.K. to critique another person’s parenting style?

I can’t answer this question for you, but I can tell you how I deal with it when someone throws the metaphorical stones at me with regard to my parenting style.

Recently, I was given some feedback on my own parenting at the right time AND the right place and as I said before, karma. I’m still smarting from the stone thrown my way. The pain of the wound is a reminder that someone loved me and my kid enough to help us both and believe me, we needed it.

It’s certainly something to think about because we all want to be the best parents we can be for our children. If it takes a village to raise a kid and you are the resident village idiot, can you handle a nugget being tossed your way?

Whether it’s a pebble or a boulder, if you have the stones to throw at another parent, I suggest you try not to trigger an avalanche and prepare to get some grit flung back at ‘cha. Thanks, Annie.

Read more from Nicole at

I write both from the heart and my experience as a mental health professional and a parent of two nutjob kids who provide me with more material for this nonsense than I could ever use.

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