Recently at a family gathering, my sister, who has five children and has been a mother for fifteen years, was holding my first and only baby as I cooked in her kitchen. He started to fuss loudly, and I looked over and saw that she was scrolling through her Facebook and doing nothing to calm him. Frustrated, I called my brother over to take the baby. She grew snappy and started lecturing me about how “children just cry sometimes.” As a millennial parent, I don’t follow the “cry it out” method. She knew this, but chose to implement her parenting style over mine. But as his mother, I believe I have the right to ask my family to follow my parenting style with him, even if my family may not understand or agree. I would be horrified if they took it upon themselves to make decisions – especially medical ones - that affected my child that they knew were counter to what I wished.
This stance was challenged as I was at my holistic pet boutique, where we focus on food-based solutions to health problems. I had an older deaf woman in a vegan-support t-shirt bring her brother’s whippet into the store and indicated that the dog had cancerous tumors. She was familiar with the benefits of raw feeding, and we got her set up at the register with cannabis oil, turkey tail mushroom, and Steve’s Real Food Beef raw food, all of which experience had taught me could reduce tumor size and make a world of difference for the comfort and health of the dog. Just as I was about to run the woman’s credit card, she received a text from her brother that said, “Please don’t buy him anything, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The woman was in tears, and she pulled out her phone and wrote me a novel about how she knew she could help this dog, that it didn’t have to suffer, and that her brother was an egotistical surgeon with a slice and dice mentality who didn’t take her seriously because she wasn’t a doctor. I watched her actively go through a moral quandary of whether respecting her brother’s wishes was more important than what she felt would be best for the dog.
I felt sadness for the surgeon’s choice, but my automatic response was to respect his decision. The woman struggled and ended up purchasing the supplements but not the raw food with the hope that she could make enough of a difference in the week she had left to dog-sit him to convince her family of the benefits.
I can see both sides of the story. I understand where she was coming from, and I think her choices would have led to a happier dog. But ultimately, I think she was probably wrong. I think that the owner/parent has ultimate say over the way they wish to parent, and that even if you don’t like it, or disagree completely with their style, if it isn’t your kid, it’s not your place to interfere. What do you think?