Never is a very powerful word, and one that most people tend to use a lot before they become parents.

“I would NEVER get an epidural.”

“I would NEVER let my child sleep in my bed.”

“I will NEVER talk to my children the way my mother talked to me.”

Sometimes we are able to stand strong behind these “never” statements; more often, they fizzle out when met with reality.

“That epidural was the best decision I ever made!”’

“Bed-sharing has saved my sleep!”

“Yep, turning into my mom.”

But sometimes, all the “nevering” can actually do harm. Digging in your heels, standing by a preconceived notion of how you had decided to parent for no good reason other than The Principle Of It All may keep you from being an effective parent. 

It Can Be Hurtful

A never can be even more hurtful if it’s directed at somebody else’s parenting. Unless another parent is actually doing their kid harm, try to refrain from telling them they should NEVER do what they’re doing, even if you feel strongly about it. Never statements just raise hackles and rarely change minds. Also keep in mind that even if you’re only making statements about your own choices (“I would NEVER feed my children popsicles for breakfast!”) that can make those around you feel judged just the same.

Reframing The Conversation

Here are a few ways you can restate your own “nevers” in a way that is kind to your future self who may have changed her mind, discovered she was wrong, or just softened her stance a bit.

Instead of:Say:
I would never feed my baby formula.I’m hoping to breastfeed as long as possible.
I would never let my child be born at home; it’s s dangerous!I like the idea of a hospital birth; I find the close proximity of doctors and a surgical center comforting.
I would never put a leash on my child; how demeaning!I’ve always found leashes on kids a little demeaning, but I’m sure if I end up with a runner I might rethink my stance!
I would never let my kid throw a tantrum in the grocery store like that mom did.I hope when I have a toddler I can stay as patient as that mom is.
I could never allow a doctor to induce me; I have to allow my baby to come into the world on his own terms!Ideally I would like to avoid an induction and I am planning to try all possible alternate measures or kickstarting labor first!

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