You're the mom, you know best...

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011 ( 61 moms have responded )

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I see this peppered through conversations and debates on here quite a bit, and I have to say, it bugs me. Because sometimes, I think it's just simply not true! Most recently, I saw it on the circumcision thread and Sarah B's thread about carseats. Now, I'm not going to touch the circ one, but in the case of carseats, I have to disagree. When a mother is turning her barely 20 lb. 9 month old (no, that wasn't the case in the thread, just an ex.) forward facing just because she thinks she can, she does NOT know best! It's illegal - well, depending where you live, and more importantly, it's risking your child's life!
Am I alone on this, or does this phrase bug anyone else? I feel like we're giving license to parents to do whatever the heck they want with their children, just because they're the parent. Parents do not always know best! If they did, children would never die because they were improperly restrained, or were accidentally poisoned, or choked on food they weren't ready for yet, or were beaten to death. That's why we have Children's Services and that's why we have experts and parenting books. (although yes, I know those are always right either!) What issues do you feel, "you're the parent, you know best" is a really inappropriate response to?

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Stifler's - posted on 01/26/2011

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It has been bugging me for the whole entire time I've been on here. And I've been abused for saying so. Just because you popped out a baby doesn't mean you know everything about kids.

[deleted account]

I find that the phrase applies to non-life threatening parental decisions. Mom does know best what her child needs, most of the time. I'm talking about the kid is fussy and everyone says baby needs food, but mom knows baby needs sleep...those types of situations. Mom knows best in the natural, organic, non man-made situations. Car seats would fall into the man-made category. That is where education and correct information comes in to play.

Rosie - posted on 01/26/2011

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yes, i feel the parent knows best. :) how would you feel if every decision you made was up for scrutiny to other people? you are confident in the decisions you've made for your children, no? obviously there are laws that are there for a reason, and people not following those laws probably don't know best. however, putting cereal in a babys bottle, or circumcising their child, or even spanking a child is not illegal. they get to decide what they feel is best for their child.

Krista - posted on 01/27/2011

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Candi, there's a reason why that weight limit is 20 lbs. It's because their necks just aren't strong enough for them to be forward-facing before then. So yes, their legs might be scrunched up, but there are actually NO recorded cases of a rear-facing baby getting their legs broken. However, there ARE plenty of cases of front-facing babies being killed when the force of the accident separates their skull from their spinal cord.

So in this case, the people who invented that law DO know better. Sorry.

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011

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I totally agree that there are some areas where it's just a matter of parenting style and parents do what is best for their family. Whether you co-sleep until they're 20 or use the crib in their own room from day 1, whether you breast or formula feed, whether you buy every baby-proofing device out there or just teach them boundaries, whether you use a stroller or a sling, etc. In those cases, I have no problem with people saying, well, you do what's right for your child or family. It's when I see it used in a situation where what the parent is doing is clearly not best - when a mom says she takes her child out of the carseat to nurse them while the vehicle is moving, for example, that I just want to shake whoever says, "Your child, you know best." It's not about judging or scrutinizing every decision a parent makes, it's about not coddling people when they are making decisions that are very obviously unsafe for their child.

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Sandra - posted on 01/27/2011

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"Moms always knows best for their child(ren)." Yeah, I call bullshit. Take a look at the welcome page. Oodles and oodles of threads prove they don't. Kids don't come with an instruction book, so why on earth would any parent ever just assume they know best??? Just because you are physically able to have a child, absolutely does not mean you automatically know how to raise them. Rather egotistical of one to think so.

(And just because the law says you CAN turn your child around, it doesn't mean you should. There's a reason why carseat manufacturers in all countries are now making carseats with higher weight limits. The safety of the child really should come before the convenience of the parent.)

Stifler's - posted on 01/27/2011

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Yeah I had no frigging idea before CoM. We had this capsule thing that was meant to go to 6 months but Logan was too long for the highest straps by 5 months and everyone else we know with little kids and on the carseat said 8 kg onwards can be front facing. The new carseat we bought can go backwards but we just put it forwards because it said we could. So with the next one she can just go backwards until she's a year.

[deleted account]

i follow what i know to be best for my child, if someone said in Australia, that i was doing something wrong, told me why, said why my rules were outdated. I would follow the better option. safety first...

learn from other peoples mistakes, not your own.

Bonnie - posted on 01/27/2011

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Honestly, don't people just follow the laws in their own province or state? I know I do. Most people don't care about other places because they don't live there.

[deleted account]

so....because your laws are dated you choose not to follow the new rules in countries who are making progress on child safety while driving?

Johnny - posted on 01/27/2011

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I don't know. I've actually seen a lot of Aussies here on COM express concerns that their car seat laws are too lax.... but I'd like to suggest that perhaps the car seat debate might be better off in another thread. I think we're supposed to be focused on the "Mommy always knows best" concept.

Melissa - posted on 01/27/2011

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Im just going by the laws I choose to abide by the laws here I really cant tell you any more then what i already have

[deleted account]

mandy its not aloud in certian places. The rules here just recently changed and my 13month old is not aloud to forward face....why is your child less likely to die from it because of geographical differences?

Melissa - posted on 01/27/2011

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I just think surely it there really were more accidents related to that here they would have fixed this by now? I mean they make it 6 months for a reason right. Its the norm here. I know people who work in daycare who think nothing of changing kids at 6 months or younger as the laws used to be 6-8kg not 6 months. I admit it did worry me a little after reading comments on here , since I forward face at 4 months with my girls but now I feel comfortable ecause my little one has hit 6 months now and I just think if it really werent safe it wouldnt be allowed at all

Krista - posted on 01/27/2011

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I don't know, Mandy. I'm not really buying it. Like I said, unless Australian car seats actually restrain the kid's head, there's nothing there preventing the baby's head from whipping forward in an accident. So I really don't understand how forward facing at 6 months COULD be safer than rear-facing, no matter what kind of space-age car seat you have.

Melissa - posted on 01/27/2011

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Krista I just know they are made differently thats all I know have american friends our car seats are made in a way so that 6 months is safer forward facing so Ive heard so the law is different in the states because your car seats are different. If you were to bring those car seats here they would not meet Australian standards

Cassie - posted on 01/27/2011

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I just think Australia (not you ladies on this board in particular but Australians as a country) need to realize how far behind they are in car seat safety and create car seats that rear face past one year. No matter what, a child is safer rear-facing than forward facing. Australia just needs to catch up in the distribution and enforcement of rear facing car seats past 6 months.

Krista - posted on 01/27/2011

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I don't GET that, though. Unless Australian car seats have forehead restraints, how do they stop a child's head from flinging forward in a rear-end or front-end collision? That's what causes internal decapitation. And I don't think there's anything in the water in Australia that makes your babies' necks any stronger than ours.

Melissa - posted on 01/27/2011

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Carol and Sherri they are different because our car seats are made differently therefore it is safer to forward face at 6 months in Aus which is the law anyhow

Tara - posted on 01/27/2011

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Canadian car seat laws are very strict.

But not always clear...when they use terms like "when your child reaches the maximum height or weight requirements set out by the manufacturer..."

"or" leaves some parents with tall light weight children wondering what to do. But rear facing is still safer.

I have more issues with Cdn car seat ambiguity...sigh.. for another thread another time..

Johnny - posted on 01/27/2011

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Emma, I've got the impression here on COM that the regulations in Australia are quite different than here in North America. It seems common for Aussies to turn around a 6 months.

Johnny - posted on 01/27/2011

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I totally agree Becky. I think that each individual parent MAY know their child best (not all do unfortunately) but we are not all experts in all things. As a mom, I don't have the time to do the in depth medical training to equal my doctors and nurses, I don't have time to get the engineering degree that will help me to understand why carseat regulations are designed as they are, and I don't have time to get the psychology doctorate to make me an expert in best practices in child development. So I do the best I can by reading what those experts have to offer, comparing their ideas, and trying to match that to what will work for me and my child. Am I always right? Heck no! We all make mistakes. What frightens me the most are the parents who refuse to admit that they make errors and just insist that they know best. It rather reminds me of people who drive twice the speed limit because their car has good brakes and they have a fast reaction time. Usually at the end of the day, someone suffers and it isn't usually them.

Stifler's - posted on 01/27/2011

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i turned logan around at 5 months. i never knew it was such an issue until CoM.

Becky - posted on 01/27/2011

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Well, I didn't intend for this to turn into a carseat debate, I was just saying that's one of the issues that bothers me the most. And I stand by my statement that parents who turn their children around too early are not doing what is best by them.
Better broken legs than a broken neck! or dead child!

Esther - posted on 01/27/2011

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I haven't read the responses, but I totally agree with you Becky. It always bugs me too. Sure on some things you know your child better than anyone (especially as time goes on) but on many things, particularly medical issues, I don't think moms are always the most qualified. There is a reason people have to study medicine for years on end before getting a license to practice. As a first time mom, I didn't have a clue about most things and to me the responsible thing to do was to listen to those who did have the qualifications. Of course as a mom you spend a lot of time studying, observing and getting to know your children. So yes, you are much more qualified than an outsider to judge if they are "off" (i.e. not feeling well, seem stressed, whatever) and things of that nature, but for many things, moms definitely don't know best.

[deleted account]

For things like parenting style and none safety issues then generally mum does know best, for her family. But for safety things and times when the child's well-being is at stake mums do not always know best, even when they think they do.

Cassie - posted on 01/27/2011

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Totally agree Krista! When it boils down to the car seat forward facing vs rear facing, a mother saying "she had good head control" or "her legs were scrunched" does not know best for her child. While the child may be unhappy rear facing, our job as mothers is to ensure their safety as our number one priority and that includes keeping them rear faced for as long as possible (the current recommendation is 2 but the law is 1 in the US) even if they seem unhappy rear-facing.

Candi - posted on 01/26/2011

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My daughter is almost 2 and JUST hit the weight limit of being able to be forward facing, if I were to leave her rear facing until now her legs would be all messed up because she would have to have her legs bent at all times just to sit, talk about uncomfortable. Some babies are just too tall to be left rear facing when they still dont weight the 20 pounds, so is that parent a bad mother for turning her child around because "HER" child is too tall to be rear facing? The people who invent these laws DONT always know right, most of the time yes they do but how do we know they all even have kids to determine what is "safer" for others kids. My opinion is tat parents who use Graco infant seats are putting their kids lives in danger because of how many recalls are on Graco infant seat, is it my job to go up to some parent that is using Graco for her infant and tell her she is wrong and harming her child? No because its her choice just because I would NEVER EVER put my child in a Graco infant seat doesnt mean that parents that do dont know about the recalls, risks, or safety. Graco is the number 1 recalled infant seat and millions of people still use them. My personally I bought an infant seat that costed me $180 for the carseat alone because they NEVER had a recall and to me that was the safest infant seat I could buy for my bundle of joy. Parents know best when it comes to their child, the doesnt. The law isntt there raising your child everyday with you. How many parents out there use both tether hooks aned the seat belt? MILLIONS because we think its safer but according to the law its not. For mt daughters whole first year thats how I had her infant seat base and her "big girl" carseat until I found that out. Im not the type of mother who judges another mother for the choices she makes for her child and it bugs me and I HATE when other parents/mother judge. Nothing bugs me more. Unless your living with me and see me with my child dont judge me for the choices I make for her, she is my child and I KNOW whats best not some person who has either no kids, hasnt had an infant/toddler in years. Yes some parent dont always make the best decision and give their child things we would never think of giving them but it was their choice and I may think they are crazy and stupid but its not my job to over step their parenting and tell them they are wrong. I was in an instant when I was at a friends daughters birthday party and I gave my 1 year old daughter a carrot to naw on because she only had 3 teeth at the time and hard cold things help my daughter and some mother that Ive never seen in my life came up to me and my fiance and told me that i should take the carrot away from her because its dangerous and she could choke, so my fiance and I told her we knew what we were giving OUR child and we KNEW she wasnt going to choke on it and she was in my arms and NEVER choked on the carrot. If any mother I didnt know came up to me and tried telling me I was in the wrong about something with MY child is not going to like what I would have to say. If your next to some one and their child isnt properly buckled in their carseats then its up to you to call the police and report it to them so they and DCF (child services) can deal with the situation it not up to you nor I.

Melissa - posted on 01/26/2011

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in Australia the laws when I had my first were 6-8kg OR 6 months forward facing whatver came first. Now the laws are 6 months minimum and 6-8 kg I believe. My first was changed at 4 months then switched back because of bad head control and then forward faced again around 5 months maybe a little more. Second was forward faced at 4 months and is now 6 months. I made the decision as a mother that she needed to be forward faced her capsule was stinking hot on 40 degree days and she had sweat all over her in 5 minute trips plus her feet were way past the end (both my kids are tall). Did I worry about her safety? Yes a little. But I did what I thought was right as a mother and will do the same with my future children. I thnk the parents know wen their child is developmentally safe to forward face.

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011

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Well, I'm generally too chicken-shit to go up to random strangers in parking lots. Although a couple of times I almost have when I've seen people leaving their improperly restrained 4-5 year old children in their vehicle, hanging out the window waving at people parked right next to the drive through lane while they go into Tim Hortons for a good 15 minutes. The kids could've fallen out the window right in front of a car!

Mrs. - posted on 01/26/2011

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I guess I'd have to make sure I know everything there is to know about the subject before I go up to a mom I don't know in a parking lot and tell her I am the safety police. That and I better know some self defence, some people don't take kindly to being told you know better about their child.

[deleted account]

No it isn't. I totally agree with all that you have said and I can think of dozens of more examples to go with it all. Not every mom knows best and it drives me nuts to hear it too. :)

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011

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Well, Rebecca, if I am more informed, then yes, I do know better. Again, I'm not talking about personal choice issues like whether you cosleep or crib sleep, or homeschool or send your child to public school. I'm talking about safety issues, times when the well-being of the child is at stake. The one I've seen most often and that bothers me the most is the carseat issue. It's not just a matter of personal choice, having your child in an inappropriate carseat can be deadly. So, if a mom honestly doesn't know this and is putting her child in a carseat that is not safe, then I think it is my job - or the job of anyone else who has done the research - to let her know the risks. (I'm not even talking extended rear-facing, I'm talking turning them before they reach the age and weight limits just because they outgrow the infant seat or whatever.)

Jenn - posted on 01/26/2011

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I know plenty of parents who do NOT know best. This is why I wish you had to get a licence to be a parent - or pass some sort of test before you get to take your baby home from the hospital.

[deleted account]

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~Douglas Adams

Mrs. - posted on 01/26/2011

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I guess you could ask, if they don't know best, are you the one that knows better? Whose job is it to know better and tell the person they know better?

Nicole - posted on 01/26/2011

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If a child thinks it would be great to have candy for supper and a mom wants to serve a nutritional meal, mother knows best

If a child wants to stay up all night playing video games and a mom wants them to have a bath and go to bed, mom knows best

Other than that, it's up for debate

[deleted account]

God Forbid if anyone disagrees with me. Don't judge me.
It's all crap this is what we as humans do judge and critisise. Usually because it differs from what we know. Then we will go and learn and things change but we still judge.

Stifler's - posted on 01/26/2011

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It just annoys me in general. 'i did it it worked for my kid so it must be the best thing to do and if anyone argues they are judging me'.

Cyndel - posted on 01/26/2011

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One very true part of the statement 'mom knows best', is when mom know something is wrong with the child and the doc ignores her because he doesn't find anything in the normal range of problems and dismisses the possibility of something rarer.
If a mother who isn't the kind to bring her child in every time he sneezes believes something is wrong, figure it out. If she knows his behavior is really off and has been for a while, the doc should begin searching for reasons outside of the normal.
Instead of waiting until it is too late or the child has suffered beyond necessity. I've heard of this happening way too often. A mother may not have a Medical degree but she has been with her child 24/7 or close enough to know when something is wrong.
Any way, used with wisdom and not just to excuse laziness this phrase is just fine.

Krista - posted on 01/26/2011

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Mothers do know their children best. They do not always know best.

Perfectly, perfectly put. As a general rule, mothers DO know their kids better than anybody else does. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that they necessarily know what is best for that kid. Cripes, if every mother knew what was best for her own child, like the OP said, we certainly wouldn't need Child Services, would we?

Do I know what's best for my own child? I hope that I do, but I don't doubt for a second that there are probably some extremely experienced mothers, or child development experts out there, who would be much better at knowing precisely what he needs and how to provide it. But he's stuck with me, so I just muddle through and hope that I don't screw up.

Cyndel - posted on 01/26/2011

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I feel a parent does know best. But a wise parent does the research, finds out the risks and laws, what 'experts' and most of all other parents that have been through the same stage of parenting did and didn't do, then makes the decision. It won't always turn out right, but that is part of living in a fallen, sin filled world.

Jessica - posted on 01/26/2011

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Carolyn Rea
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Carolyn Rea

I totally agree, parents do not always know best.


I agree with you especially when it comes to young or first time parents. i was once there..i was a 19 yr old mom and relied on my parents heavily for advice..otherwise for the most part..i do think parents know best when it comes to their child. There are standards, but i believe those are for the ppl who shouldnt procreate to begin with.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/26/2011

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I am the mother, and I know best when it comes to vaccinating my child, feeding, clothing, discipline, education, teaching manner, and ALL medical decisions....these are things that can always use improvement...but the decisions that I make at the time, I feel comfortable with. I do not need to be judged for every little thing that I do by other mothers that are not in my shoes...they can share advice, but if you FORCE your opinion on me, that is when I will get defensive, argumentative...or I just won't listen.

[deleted account]

I think the phrase applies most of the time, but I agree that there are times when I read on here and think, "No, no, noooooo". I think I know the carseat thread you're talking about and if it's the same one, I was happily relieved that she went and had it proplerly installed, rather than forward facing it. Seriously, I was relieved. I think a lot of moms (no offense to anyone, but it seems to happen more with teen moms), see their friends doing something and think it's ok.....just like how a year ago they saw their friends wearing X and went right out and bought X. That's my observation though. But at the same time, I'm what I would consider an "older" first time mom and I can't say I haven't made mistakes along the way too.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/26/2011

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They don't always know best because they just don't always know. Some people have no idea why it is important to rear face babies. If they don't have the knowledge to make the decision, it's pretty hard to know best. For less life-and-death things, sure. I know my daughter best and I am best able to determine who mood and habits and blah blah blah. But if I sit there and feed her a steady diet of candy and cola, I don't know best. That's crap.

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011

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I'm not saying it's never true that the mother knows best, or even that it's not usually true. I'm saying that it's not always true. Yes, we know our children best, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we know what's best for them. It bugs me when someone is doing something based on misinformation and lack of education, or just plain laziness, and, amid everyone trying to educate her, someone jumps in with, "Well, it's your child, you know best!" You know what? When she's feeding her child McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for no other reason than that she doesn't like to cook, (just pulling an example out of my ass here), she does NOT know best, nor is she doing what is best for her child. I don't even really think in cases like that that she has her child's best interests at heart. She has her own best interests at heart. And it bugs me when people defend things like that. It's just perpetuating ignorance.

[deleted account]

I think its an inappropriate response. Mothers do know their children best. They do not always know best. I would rather be educated and informed that i was doing something wrong, then live a lifetime making excuses for myself being ignorant. Its just to say, I'm right so whatever.

"Its ok to give my infant 7up as a way to stop gas, im the mother i know best" does she??

Nikkole - posted on 01/26/2011

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I feel if it is not breaking a law or is not Life threatening like the car seat thing than i don't argue with it, because you as a mother know your child better than ANYONE i know one time my son was sick and he went to the dr and they said OH hes fine sent him home later that night he had 104.7temp at 6months!!!!! We went to the emergency room all they did was give him Tylenol and set us out in the waiting room for 2hrs By that time my son looked soo dehydrated and soo sad I DEMANDED we see someone that SOMETHING was wrong with my son and Guess what he had Bacterial Meningitis and was hospitalized for 5days! I feel as my kids mother i know whats best for them but i would never break the law because i think i know whats best! There is not a manual to tell us mothers whats right and wrong so we do the best we can and love our children i think thats what matters!

[deleted account]

Every decision we make be it right or wrong is up for scrutiny of any other mother out there.
I don't think parent always knows best BUT i do think they have the best interest at heart even if what they are doing may be so very very wrong.

Tara - posted on 01/26/2011

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It does bug me when it's used to defend a behaviour or attitude that is clearly detrimental or potentially dangerous to a child.
The car seat one for sure, the circ. one for sure and some others...
"you don't know my kids, I spank them because they need a spanking, I'm their mom and I know best"
"You're her mom so you know best whether letting her cry it out for that long is okay or not"
There are more I'm sure, but yeah it bothers me and I never use that saying.

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