Rachel's Blog: Defensive Parenting

Tue, 13 Jun 2006

I'm going to use that previous post as the first example of a technique I'm calling Defensive Parenting. It's the strategy employed by carers who are recieving charges of deficient parenting by other parents/relatives/people in the bus queue. It's a perfectly legitimate technique, one I employ myself when the need arises, but I felt it needed recognition. You'll find it can often be identified by the phrase "Oh, but only..."

Bottlefeeding:
"Oh, but only so I can give Junior his three a.m. feed and my wife can sleep through a little longer."

Disposable nappies:
"Oh, but only when we're going out."

Television:
"Oh, but only because we're renovating the bathroom again and I can get in another coat of paint during a Wiggles video."

Defensive Parenting is indispensible when faced in the supermarket queue by another parent who you just know has read all the same books and magazine articles as you and who raises an eyebrow at the new dummy/pacifier you've placed in your trolley. "Oh, it's for me," you can say, "It's the only way I can get to sleep at night." And your toddler will pat you comfortingly on the cheek before he reaches for a packet of his favourite all-natural lollies.

Comment by damien on Wed, 14 Jun 2006

Hmmm, how about "I've got twins, this one is the experiment, the other one is the control."... no?

Comment by Richard on Wed, 14 Jun 2006

No, clearly the statement is "Oh, but this one is the control."

Comment by hilary on Wed, 14 Jun 2006

Try "This snotty, little brat? It's not mine. I'm just the nanny."

Comment by toby on Sat, 17 Jun 2006

Just feed their child mars bars and coke while they're not looking.