• Sun, Mar 23 - 5:14 pm ET

The Four Most Argued About Parenting Topics You’ll Find Online

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People love to argue on the Internet. It’s a fact of life. And nothing gets folk’s dander up faster than arguing about parenting-related subjects. Whether it’s in forums, on blogs or awesome parenting websites like Mommyish, parenting arguments are as common as they are vicious. Here are some of the subjects that cause the most drama.

1. The Vaccination Debate

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The pro-vax vs. anti-vax debate is as heated as they get. We’ve touched on the subject a time or two our selves, and if you even casually follow my work you know where I stand (with logic, not batshittery, obv.) *Just to clarify, I meant pro-vaccine. Judging from the hate mail, I guess this wasn’t clear!*

2. Circumcision

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Just as vitriolic as the vaccine debate, the war between intactivists and the pro-circumcision camp is still going strong. And it’s no surprise. Anytime someone’s junk is involved, there’s gonna be a fight.

3. Breastfeeding

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Even though I nursed all three of my kids for extended periods of time, the breastfeeding Nazis annoy the ever-loving fuck out of me. We get it, you’re totes natural and better than anyone else. I support your right to breastfeed, and I support your right to do it wherever you please. Now STFU about it and leave the rest of us alone.

4. Attachment Parenting/Cry-It-Out/Slacker Moms Etc. 

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Let me make something crystal clear to all the angry Internet marauders who feel the need to shit on anyone who makes different parenting choices than they do. Other people’s choices when it comes to parenting style are NOT an indictment on YOUR choices. Attachment parenting doesn’t create “pussies” (and you suck for using that term), moms who don’t feel the need to get their kids into every activity ever are NOT lazy or bad moms, and the cry-it-out method is NOT torture. I could go on, but there isn’t enough time in the world. You do you, and let me do me, and we’re be good.

(Photo: Creativa/Shutterstock)

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  • MerlePerle

    I so thought number 4 was gonna be spanking! But I guessed the first 3!

  • CMJ

    I never knew the circumcision debate was so insane.

    • SmrtGrl86

      That makes two of us! But I live in the rural Midwest, we’re pretty laid back out here.

    • CMJ

      The hate spewed by some at people who choose to circumcise is, frankly, disconcerting. They remind me of anti-choicers in their condemnation of those who make a personal decision.

    • Fireinthefudgehole

      My jaw literally dropped when I saw the comment comparing parents who circumcise to rapists.

    • CMJ

      We could have one – but I have a feeling the shaming shamers would come in and get mad at us for being mean.

    • itpainsme2say

      Oh is that what that guy was saying, I was trying to figure out how circumcision was illegal when doctors do it all the time.

    • Fireinthefudgehole

      I don’t even know. The whole thing was such a (circ)us.

    • CMJ

      HEY-OH!

    • a_narwhal

      The thing is that they think that “personal decision” should be left up to the person who has the penis.

    • Fireinthefudgehole

      That’s certainly what I believe. I still can’t condone the vitriol spewing that went on in the comment section the other day at pro circ parents. Right or wrong, they were still just doing what they thought was best for their child (hopefully).

    • a_narwhal

      Agreed

    • CMJ

      Yes. I know that is what they think. I may even agree with you….That, however, was not my point.

    • a_narwhal

      Ah, I see. Ok.

    • Guest

      I think you need to be careful going down the “personal decision” route. A fetus is, to many people, clearly less of a person than a born human; fewer people are willing to say an infant is less a person. So the circumcision case does involve another person, whereas many would claim the abortion case only involves a potential person. Similarly, we place limits on what you are allowed to do to other people, even children. You can’t beat your child and call it personal choice (or if you do, then you face legal consequences.).

      The question ultimately comes down to how much potential harm is being caused and for how much potential benefit, vaccines, for instance, have a great deal of potential benefit, so it’s hard to see an argument for not vaccinating (except for the immuno-compromised et al. who have too high a risk.). The circumcision case has a lot more disagreement about potential risks and benefits. There are clearly cases where it is botched, so there is some risk. Are the benefits worth it? That seems to be cultural – the US says yes, but many other countries say no.

    • CMJ

      Not. My. Point.

    • Guest

      Okay, well, your point wasn’t communicated very well then, since several of us got replies that basically said “that’s not my point” but didn’t say what your point was.

      You said that people are giving a lot of grief for a personal decision and it reminds you of people who condemn anti-choice people. That seemed to argue a) it’s a personal choice and b) there is a parallel with anti-choice. I have noted that both of those are problematic claims, since it involves another actual person, not simply a potential person. Apparently you were actually claiming c) ?????, which I could not discuss because I did not guess.

      The only other point I could see in what you wrote was “wow there’s a lot of heat here” or “wow there’s a lot of vitriol” or something, which seems to be true of every single debate on parenting, including whether a person is willing to use the term “babywearing.” So, I’d agree, but the point seems rather obvious; I assumed your point was deeper.

    • CMJ

      I was talking about the people who spewed hate at circumcisers reminding me of anti-choicers. They both spew vitriolic comments. In fact, some of the Intactivists seem even more vitriolic than anti-choicers….and that’s saying a lot.

      And yes, while many may disagree about where that “personal choice” lies- they both still are, personal choices. (I’m not even trying to get into the nuances of that debate). Whatever I may believe, I still cannot, and will not condone the vitriol on the circumcision post. It was distasteful and does nothing to further the anti-circumcision cause.

    • a_narwhal

      Gotcha. Yes, there certainly is a right and wrong way to go about promoting a “cause”.

    • Guest

      And so you have people on one side going “you’re mutilating people for no reason!” and a lot of people on the other side going “there’s no risk – what are you talking about?”

      Both sides are wrong. People circumcise for a reason, whether or not they are good reasons. And, yes, some harm is being done.

      Personally, I don’t think there is enough benefit, and I do think people are wrong to circumcise. But it doesn’t mean I think they are evil. I think lots of decisions people make are wrong, and I expect them to think the same of me. Time will likely give us more definitive research, and this issue will likely be more settled someday. Until the, I think reasoned discussion is useful. Some of the lunatics aren’t, though, on either side.

      (I.e., I’m so sorry anyone had to love through the whole rape analogy thing.)

    • Pappy

      Late to the party but… I hate that too. I’m generally against routine infant circumcision but I’m hesitant to express that opinion because I don’t want people to assume I’m automatically in the “rapist!” camp. It is possible to be of the opinion that circumcision is probably not something that should be done to the majority of infants without their consent or a genuine medical need, while not simultaneously thinking all parents who do it are ignorant, evil or cruel. “Not the choice that I would make” is a world away from “Not a choice that anyone should be allowed to make, ever.”

      And, the child may be furious about it or not care at all. He may be mad it wasn’t done. There are so many other questionable choices to worry about parents making (like not vaccinating or home “schooling” in an effort to isolate and indoctrinate) that it just doesn’t seem worth it to attack parents over.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I find it absolutely mental, particularly because it’s so uncommon to find circumcised men here in Ireland. Until I started reading American blogs I didn’t realise it was such a common thing, it gave me flashbacks to that episode of sex and the city where charlotte is freaked out by a normal penis. Honestly, it’s only really performed here if it’s a religious thing ( and even then it’s not hugely common) or a medical necessity.

    • CMJ

      Honestly, that episode ALWAYS comes to my mind when this debate comes up. I may be a horrible person.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I love Charlotte. That moment is second only to ”I don’t wanna be the up-the-butt girl!”

  • pixie

    The rage I feel at the anti-vax commenter is indescribable.

    And I’ve been doing thinking about the circumcision debate. I feel that we shouldn’t shame boys and men no matter if they’re circumcised or not. Women (and other men) can have preferences, there’s nothing wrong with that, just like men (and women) have preferences on breast size or whatever in women, but a lot of the argument to me sounds like there’s a lot of shaming on both sides. If a man is cut, he’s cut. If he’s not, he’s not. If you really love a man, does it really matter if he has a foreskin or not?

    • Alicia Kiner

      Especially considering how many men now had any say in the matter

    • pixie

      Even more so considering so few have any say about it.

    • Momma425

      I grew up in an area where most men tend to be cut. The first time I saw someone not cut, I was a teenager and was like, “WTH is that?” I wasn’t trying to shame anyone, I just didn’t realize.

      My preference is cut, just because that is what I’m used to. But it’s no big deal and nothing to shame each other about.

    • pixie

      Oh yeah, preference is totally fine, like I said.

      I’ve mentioned before that my boyfriend is uncut and didn’t realize circumcision was a thing outside of Judaism until some friends let me know they were circumcised. I was confused at first, too, but got over it.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I’ve never actually seen one that wasn’t. I actually didn’t know it was a religious thing until I was an adult. Every boy I every baby sat was (I’ve changed a LOT of diapers) and every man since has been. So yeah….

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Legitimately surprised pro life/pro choice isn’t one.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I’m definitely going to write a follow up. This came to mind, but I want to look for more funny examples before I include it, lol.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      I wonder if the extended rear facing community is rabid yet lol

    • scooby23

      There are so many ParentWarsâ„¢ topics to cover, you should start a whole new website to cover them. Seriously,we should do this. It could be an extension to Mommyish. I can see it now….. *looks fondly and thoughtfully out into the sunset as dramatic music begins to play, signaling the start of a whole new beginning*

    • Véronique Houde

      I mean, whatever issue that the Duggars raise can totally be included here. ;) Abortion, check. “purity before marriage” check. Giving birth to more kids than you can count on your fingers and expecting the girls to raise them all, check. Traditional gender roles, check. Homeschooling, check. :D

    • Kat

      I feel like that’s more of an argument in general than an argument among moms. Not that all of them aren’t to some degree, but that one especially. Iuno, maybe not.

  • Mama

    Actually, a parents choice not to vaccinate IS an indictment on my choice.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I’m going to disagree. I’m vehemently pro-vaccine, but I see thew anti-vaxer’s choices as more of an infringement on my right as a person to herd immunity (and kid’s right as well). Considering how many of them claim “to each their own,” I don’t think most of them see their choice as an indictment.

    • Mikster

      I’m not arguing with them per se, but many argue that herd immunity is not a right.

    • keelhaulrose

      That’s easy to say when it’s not your child who is sick/dying from a preventable disease previously kept at bay with herd immunity.

    • Mikster

      And I could tell YOU it’s easy for you to spout off to me since YOU haven’t held your child as they DIED from vaccine damage. Our oldest son was severely brain-damaged following his DTwP vaccines as an infant. In SPITE of that, all 3 kids we had after this happened ARE up-to-date on their vaccines, save for gardisil. MY son DIED to give you and yours herd immunity. I don’t’ know whether you owe me a thank you or an apology MORE. Think before you post shit to people.

    • keelhaulrose

      I’m very sorry for your loss.
      I’m going sound cold replying like this, but there are risks with all medical procedures. But if you look at the number of children who were dying of these diseases before vaccinations it’s staggering, and it’s coming back, especially in places with high rates of anti-vaxers. All deaths are tragedies, and the goal should be preventing as many as possible.

    • Mikster

      And with the exception of Gardisil, I agree. It’s a risk we are willing to accept for the common good. And the risk of an innocent being executed under the death penalty is another risk I accept in the name of the common good.

    • anonymous

      while that is horrible what happened to your child, it would also be just as horrible for someone to bring their un-vaccinated child around your child who was too young to receive a vaccine, infect them, thus causing their death. death from vaccines is pretty rare. death from whooping cough, diphtheria, Scarlett fever etc. not so much.

    • Mikster

      I’m not arguing that. I agree. I also am willing to accept that a rare innocent will be executed by the state due to a mistake. I accept that risk as acceptable for the good of society.

    • the_ether

      Why not Gardisil?

    • itpainsme2say

      I assume its because that was the one that killed her child and therefore her other children had a higher chance of dying from. Thats the way it goes if one child has the mutation or allergy (not sure what the word is for the thing that causes the shot to kill some people) the other children are tested to see if they have it and most of the time they can’t get that shot either.

    • Mikster

      No. The vax that caused the damage was the DTwP- the live virus whole cell formulation of the pertussis component that is no longer used DUE to those rare, but real, severe risks. The second oldest child born 2 years later – that was hard, but we chose to immunize him and watch him like a hawk.Our 2 youngest received the newer DTaP, which is an inactivated virus and a bit safer. Though now they are finding it to be not nearly as efficacious as the original live virus.

    • Mikster

      After a discussion with the kids’ pediatrician, who is pro-vax but won’t touch this one with a 10 foot pole, we’ve chosen to wait until more studies are done.

    • koolchicken

      When that first came out I was still young enough for it. I asked my (pro-vax) doc about it and she said she didn’t recommend it. That she would give it to anyone who was high risk and wanted it, but she wash;t going to guinea pig her patients out on it. That the studies were unclear. So I didn’t get it and unless we start hearing good things in the next decade or so my son won’t be getting it either.

    • Psych Student

      I’m not sure how long it’s been since then, but it’s well researched and is an incredibly important vaccine that is safe for boys and girls. It’s highly recommended for girls and is well on its way to being recommended for boys. It saves lives and every child should be getting it.

    • koolchicken

      I’m 29 now so it’s been a while. My son is only 1 so I have time. I will not be getting it for myself (if it becomes available for someone in my age range) because I’m just not in a risk category and won’t ever find myself in one. My son on the other hand will not be getting this one (though I will get him everything else) unless there are new studies. There’s plenty of time though. I’m sure we’ll know more about it by the time he’s of age. Until then I’m not okay with him being treated like a test subject.

    • Kelly

      Yeah, if you’re going to say fuck everybody else and fuck herd immunity, maybe everyone else should say fuck you right back.

      These people should never be allowed on any organ donor list. You proclaim you don’t give a fuck anybody else’s life well fuck you when you need a heart. Bottom of the list bitch.

    • Mikster

      And where did I say “fuck herd immunity”? In fact, in spite of our oldest son suffering severe brain damage from an adverse reaction to his DTwP vaccines and dying from the complications of that damage, our subsequent 3 children are fully immunized, with the exception of gardisil. Obviously, I have seen merit in the concept of herd immunity. So you know what, you really need to step back, grow up and quit being one of the most unpleasant people I’ve encountered around here. Your assumptions and presentation are totally out of line.

    • Kat

      What everyone else read: I vaccinate my kids except for one vaccine because that vaccine caused the death of my first child.

      What you evidently read: I don’t give a fuck about anybody else’s life. Fuck everybody, and fuck herd immunity.

      Nope. Totally different.

    • Mama

      Because not vaccinating is bringing these diseases back. And no vaccine is 100%. So when vaccinated children get measles because someone else didn’t vaccinate, they are infringing on my choice. If you choose not to circumcise and I do, my son’s penis won’t fall off.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I’m not disagreeing with you, but that isn’t what I meant by indictment. My point was that just because someone believes in attachment parenting or a more relaxed style of parenting, that doesn’t mean they think people who do things differently are bad parents.

      I want to point out that the indictment line is in an entirely different section than the vaccination section, and I did that for a reason. I didn’t mean for one to have anything to do with the other. Choosing not to vaccinate isn’t a parenting style, so I’m not sure why you’re equating them here. No offense intended, I just think you’re misconstruing what I wrote.

    • Véronique Houde

      I agree with you. I found out at the beginning of my pregnancy that my immunity to measles is basically gone, and they can’t vaccinate me again until I give birth because I’m pregnant. My daughter isn’t 100% immunized against it yet because she’s 16 months old and her next booster is in two months, which makes me paranoid about catching it now. My doctor actually doesn’t understand why they didn’t catch that after my daughter was born, at the hospital.

  • keelhaulrose

    The first one. I can’t fucking even.
    Facts pulled out of one’s ass are, in fact, not facts. They’re the same thing that comes out of everyone’s ass.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      And suddenly a new understanding of “pulling something out of one’s butt” emerges :o I never correlated that with the fact that they pull BS out hahaha

    • Kat

      Me neither!

  • Mikster

    Yup- pretty much. To each their own on every one of them.

  • CW

    This might be the list for the parents of the babies/toddlers set, but the biggies I hear now as mom to older kids (mine are 5, 8, and 11) are: (1) employed mom vs. homemaker mom (2) public vs. charter vs. private vs. home schooling (3) “Helicopter” moms vs. “Free-Range” moms and (4) “Tiger moms” vs. “kids are overscheduled and overloaded with homework” moms.

  • scooby23

    My gosh that whole “autistic children are failures” thing makes me want to spew angry fire spitballs of meaness. Not to sound rude, but if the people that think that actually, you know, got out into the real world and escaped their little land of Googlecology and Youtube, they’d realize that there are MANY autistic people who are probably more happy and successful than them.

    *steps off soapbox*

    • Elisa Probert

      I would upvote this so many times if I could…

    • scooby23

      Thank you!

  • Kresaera

    ummm I wasn’t aware that circumcision was illegal in the US…

    • a_narwhal

      I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not… Some say that male circumcision is (technically) illegal because you cannot have a law specifically protect one sex and not the other. Female genital mutilation was banned in 1996 and thus they view male genital mutilation to be (technically) illegal. I think that’s not true because it is not defined as “mutilation” but instead deemed “circumcision”?
      At least I think this is what they’re getting at? It’s hard to follow the debate/logic sometimes…

  • koolchicken

    This is weird, I had no idea that there was anti-circ hate. In fact I didn’t even realize I was in a camp. My husband really wanted him to be but I didn’t (seemed painful and unnecessary). When our son was born prematurely and sick that changed things. The doc (and it actually still makes me angry) came to ask us if we wanted our poor sick baby (who was already all tied up to machines and too weak to move or eat) to be circumcised I looked at that nut job and told him I thought making him suffer even more for fun seemed like a bad idea. My husband said nothing so I guess I “won”. And if some chick doesn’t want to sleep with him someday because of what his penis looks like then good riddens. She probably would have made a horrible daughter in law!

  • val97

    I hate to be this person, but here I am doing it. The word “pussy” actually comes from pusillanimous. It’s not as bad a word as I once thought.

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      Okay but see NO ONE KNOWS THAT, language evolves, and the word “pussy”, wherever it originally came from, now sits firmly in the camp of misogynistic language.

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    Is it just me or is there something super uncomfortable about talking about “mind blowing orgasms” in conversation about circumcising/not circumcising babies?

    Like I lean more towards not circumcising my own future kids just because it’s an unnecessary surgery, not because that tiny baby could have awesome orgasms in his future.

    • CMJ

      It’s creepy to the max.

  • Kat

    Check for vax. Check for circ. Check for serious breastfeeding consideration.

    No check for attachment or cry-it-out. Hmm. Cry-a-while? Cry-and-I’ll-try-to-console-you-but-if-you-won’t-stop-then-cry-it-out. Yeah, I like that. I’m a CAITTCYBIYWSTCIO parent.

    ETA: Did that woman just say circumcision is illegal in the US?

  • LB

    Let’s face it, the best place to have rational, informative discussions about topics that matter this much is clearly the internet. And better yet, find the snarkiest most judgmental hipster pseudo-intellectuals possible so you can get some laughs along with your propaganda. The best thing you can do for yourselves as well as your kids is do your own research. Stop wasting your time having “debates” on these divisive topics because truly people are just feeding their own glutinous need to reinforce their beliefs-whether right or wrong. The truth gets lost in name-calling and the “discussion” descends into inanity. If you really want to be an informed, educated honest practitioner of truth in life, there is no substitute for research-look into both sides of absolutely every issue because when you objectively observe both sides, you can make an informed decision. Don’t rely on propagandists to speak for the opposition of any issue no matter how strongly you believe you are right. https://toostupidtoask.jux.com/

    • Kat

      Right. Down with debate and discussion!

      You can debate and discuss or you can research — you can’t have it both ways, people. We are all pseudo-intellectual propaganda-spewers. None of us are informed practitioners of truth. Not one. The internets are everywhere!

    • Véronique Houde

      LOL. I agree, and at the same time, when it came to the vaccination debate, I learned a hell of a lot online!! I had been given the “don’t vaccinate your kid” speech by my doula and was left with so many questions. The great thing about reading things online is, count the number of reasonable, well-researched comments from people who actually sound sane, and most likely, they will be right ;). I then talked to my doctor and nurse about it, and listened to what they had to say, and then chose to… VACCINATE! I think my doctor and nurse were happy that I was asking the questions, they would much prefer to have a discussion about the risks and rumours than have parents come in and act all high and mighty and refuse them flat out. However, I did refuse the one for gastro as I found it unnecessary, and the nurse agreed with me.

    • Psych Student

      But . . . but . . . fighting.

  • Robotic Socks

    I still think we need an epic Westside-Story-Like throw downs of all these Moms from different factions.

    • Valerie

      Snap…snap…snap…snap

  • Elizabeth

    #1: as opposed to the HUGE percentage of non-autistic kids who will go on to invent computers and computer software, which is of course the only indicator of intelligence –

    …wait.

  • ILoveJellybeans

    I guessed three of these before opening the page, lol.

    • Psych Student

      Which ones?

    • ILoveJellybeans

      The ones I guessed were vaccination, circumcision and breastfeeding.
      My other guesses were spanking and cloth/disposable diapers

    • Psych Student

      Spanking and diapers were good guesses as well!

  • Danyelle

    I think you forgot working mom vs. stay at home mom… I’ve seen so many posts regarding this and the hundreds of comments that soon follow.

  • Tina

    Looking the picture that accompanies #3, I have actually heard a few moms say that their toddler is starting to lose interest in breastfeeding but they are putting off weaning for a bit for completely selfish reasons because they enjoy the bonding time too much and that they don’t want to move on to the next stage just yet and acknowledge that their baby is growing up.