Megan Williams
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Feb, 22

Learning to Tolerate and Embrace Different Parenting Styles

Subhan’s mum had the same choice as Suzanne and most of her friends. But she took it in the way she had always done it. Why?

There was no conscious choice unlike with most areas of what makes up the modern day life, like how you can choose, without even thinking twice about it, which mobile casinos you’re going to spend your downtime on. That’s probably part of why it’s such an instinct. Subhan said: “If I said she took a different stance, she wouldn’t have taken a different stance for me. We do have different parenting styles but we do understand each other’s approach and both give the kids the same love and care.”

Amelia, who’s also called Subhan, is going to be 10 in a few weeks. “People around me in the UK are worried about kids going to bed on time and being read to,” she said. “That hasn’t been my experience.”

There was one difference. When I asked her what she had to say about Suzanne and she said: “Suzanne is such an amazing mum to the kids. She’s got her own different way of parenting. I’ve heard Suzanne talking to my mum and my mum is saying it’s all different but in my experience it’s all the same.”

I asked Subhan if she knew of others in the UK who took different approaches to parenting. “There are. And they’re totally different. And that’s the thing.”

A significant part of this conflict is that we can’t have it both ways. Either we hold up traditional families as the best, and stay out of the way of intersex kids and their parents who aren’t ready for that. Or we can accept that not all parents can do everything the right way for everyone, and have the ability to reach people where they are and welcome them into our wider society in a fair and caring way.

“Having parents who you have an appreciation of and respect for is a very powerful thing.”

What if they’re not ready to be part of our society?

Subhan had a mother who taught him to be strong, to be sure of himself and his goals, and to be a bit selfish. “That wasn’t always the best way to raise kids.”

Suzanne taught Subhan to be kind, to be thoughtful and to feel secure in who he was.

“She made me have self-esteem, to be secure in who I was. To be confident. It’s good to know we have different parenting styles but to understand that it’s the same. It’s the same love and caring and everything that we have as parents. It’s the same care for them as parents.”

What if they’re not there?

Subhan’s mum told me: “I know from experience that if there isn’t an expectation that kids have to come and see you, then they just won’t. They’ll find their way, and you won’t be able to reach them.”

What about Suzanne?

“We send Amelia a card at least every other month. And she sends us a card.”

What about Suzanne’s mum? “We call Mum and Dad whenever we can. We haven’t had problems at all. It’s been perfect.”

For any intersex kids or parents, there is nothing wrong with having parents you love and appreciate, who want to spend time with you and give you the best of what they can.

Of course, if you’re like me and your parents split, it’s much easier to say than to do.

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