Popular (And Controversial) Parenting Topics

mom stressing over parenting

I know it’s a bad habit, but I do go online quite often to read about various baby and parenting topics, especially if it’s a health or behavioral aspect involving one of my kids! When I do this, it often leaves me with more questions than answers!

I thought for this blog post I’d compile 25 of the most popular (and controversial) parenting topics that are often discussed online, and also between friends and family members. Some are certainly contentious so if you have any views on any of them, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of the article.

Breastfeeding vs. Bottle

This has been a topic of much discussion ever since formula became a popular option as opposed to breast milk. While there are a lot of studies showing that breast milk is the better option, working mothers, mothers who don’t produce a lot of breast milk, and mothers who simply choose not to breastfeed are all turning to using bottles. This is a popular topic as more and more people choose to really re-evaluate the foods in their diets.

Related Post: Alternatives To Baby Bottles

Paying Children To Do Chores

washing up

Parents who want a little extra help around the house often pay their children to help out, but this is not without its own controversy. There are some parents who say that paying children to complete chores undermines the fact that children are a part of the family and should be helping out willingly, while others disagree. These parents believe that children are going to be paid when they grow up and have jobs, so they might as well start now and learn the value of money.

Taking Baby To A Bar

Any parent who wants to enjoy time out with friends at a bar will have to find something to do with their child while they are out, but if a babysitter isn’t available, then many parents end up taking their child with them. Some bars and breweries even encourage this and have toys for children to play with while their parents drink, which makes many people ask whether this is really such a good idea.

Playing With Toy Guns

It seems as though boys have always had toy guns, but with the recent controversy over violence and access to weapons, more and more parents are taking them away. Schools don’t allow play with guns, and children across the country have gotten in trouble for mimicking guns with their fingers. While some parents are glad to see the gun play go, others feel like it is limiting their child’s play.

Piercing A Baby’s Ears

This has been a popular debate for years, as some people think that piercing ears when children are young is a better option, while opponents want children to be able to make the decision about having pierced ears themselves. Parents who pierce early say that it makes it easier to clean the ears and prevent infections, but others argue that children should enjoy autonomy over their own bodies.


dad and baby

Sleeping when you have a child can be really tricky, and it makes sense that parents would do just about anything to get some shut eye. There are some parents who believe in co-sleeping and think that it allows children to feel more secure at night and to better bond with their parents. Opponents, however cite the possibility of a child being killed in bed by accident, as well as problems with independence, as reasons to avoid co-sleeping.

Letting Older Kids Ride In Strollers

It can be tricky to corral older children and prevent them from running away or causing a scene, but some people don’t like the fact that parents push their older children in strollers. Parents who do this say that it makes it easy to travel when kids are getting tired, but opponents worry about child safety. They argue that strollers are made for infants and toddlers and that older children can easily get hurt if the stroller were to tip.

How To Blend Families

More and more families are blended, which means that children may live with step parents and step siblings. This changes the entire family dynamic and definitely has its own set of problems. Some parents have differing views on how to blend families and what information to give children. Different approaches can have very different effects on kids and their relationships with their new family members.

Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

Although it’s really common for siblings to argue and fight, this doesn’t make it any easier for parents when their children can’t get along. From taking away toys to making kids wear a large t-shirt until they make up, there are a lot of different ways to handle a sibling rivalry. What works for one family may not work for another, which makes it important for each family to carefully choose how they are going to handle the problem.

Understanding A Child’s Personality

Children all have their own personalities, and figuring out how that new personality fits into a family can be difficult. This is especially hard when children seem to butt heads with other family members and don’t have a personality that others can relate to. When this happens, parents need to make sure that they take time to understand their child, how they see the world, and how they respond to different parenting styles.

Involving Grandparents

grandmother and granddaughter

More and more parents both have to work outside of the home, which makes it difficult for some families to know how to take care of their children. Rather than turning to expensive child care facilities, many families are relying on grandparents to help raise their children. While this works for some families, others have a lot of problems with this arrangement and don’t think that it’s the best option for the kids.

Matching Parenting Styles To Each Child

Every child is different and is going to respond differently to certain parenting styles. While many parents may think that they know the right style for them to use with their children, sometimes they need to be able to adjust their style. This makes it possible for them to better meet the needs of each of their children while offering them the support that they require.

Positive Parenting

Positive parenting makes use of positive features such as respect and support to a child. Parents take on many different roles adopting this style such as a mentor, friend and guide as they help their children grow and learn.

Permissive Parenting

This style of parenting involves giving children a lot of freedom to do what they want. Parents don’t usually set boundaries on instil discipline for their children, which means there are very few rules to follow or expectations to meet.

kids at kindergarten

Starting Kindergarten Late

Commonly known as “redshirting,” this is when parents hold their children back from kindergarten for an extra year. While some parents may have legit reasons to do this, others simply think that if their children are older and larger that they will have more success in school, in academics, and even in sports.

To Vaccinate Or Not Vaccinate?

Vaccinations came under heavy fire in recent years, and this is a very passionate topic for parents on both sides of the issue. Some parents worry about the health problems that vaccines may cause their children, while others want to make sure that they take advantage of every option that they have to help protect their child against the possibility of future illness. There are doctors on both sides of the debate, which makes it even more confusing.

Choosing Healthy Foods

There’s a lot of news recently about what is really hiding in food and whether or not certain things are okay for adults and children to eat. This can make it really confusing for some people who are trying their best to feed their children, but who may have limited access to fresh foods or are on a tighter budget. The food debate can get really heated, as some parents only opt for GMO-free and organic foods, and others reach for snack packs to get their children through the day.

baby crying

Crying It Out

This debate centers around parents letting their children cry themselves to sleep when it is time for them to go to bed. Some parents believe that letting children cry themselves to sleep is heartless, but others who use this method may be at the end of their rope and unable to get their child to sleep any other way.

Natural Births

For a long time the only accepted place to have a baby was in a hospital, thanks to how sterile and safe the environment is. In recent years, however, moms are looking for more natural ways to birth and heading to birthing centers and even giving birth at home. Part of the appeal of home births or giving birth at a birthing center is that some moms are interested in natural births and don’t want to feel like they are having drugs forced on them.

There’s also the debate about whether pregnant women should have a voluntary C-section or a natural birth. I have to admit as a guy, a lot of this goes way over my head so whatever a woman decides, it’s fine by me 🙂 I’ve seen my wife give birth naturally twice with no epidural, using only gas and air. She’s one tough cookie!

Extracurricular Activities

Packing a child’s afternoon full of extracurricular activities seems to be the new norm as parents fill up time after school for children who are as young as kindergarten. They state that these activities will not only help to make their child a more well-rounded person, but also improve their chances of getting into a good college when they are a lot older. Opponents think that children need more time when they can enjoy unstructured play by themselves or with friends and that providing too many structured activities can backfire.

Early Childhood Education

going to school

Some parents and educators are saying that “Pre-K is the new Kindergarten,” and more and more parents are putting their children into early education preschools to help them get a head start on learning. While it may be impressive for a 4 or 5 year old to read, there are some parents who argue that this is not the best use of a childhood and that kids need more time to play and enjoy themselves.

Related Post: Preschool vs Nursery

Related Post: Alternatives To Preschool

Parenting Gets Easier As Children Get Older

Does it? I’m not so sure. Of course the early years are the most tiring physically. But this is slowly replaced by emotional worry and stress as children go to school, and make friends (good and bad!). Check out this blog post for more detail on this topic.


Most people will admit that there are some problems with public and private schools, and this dissatisfaction leads many families to homeschool their children. Proponents say that this is a great way to customize a child’s education and to remove them from an unhealthy environment. Opponents worry about child development and social skills when they are removed from school.

Using reins for toddlers

This is an interesting one. I have to admit there have been times I’ve wanted to grab one of my kids when they’ve tried to run off in public. However, not once have I thought about using reins on either of them. When both my kids were toddlers, I tended to keep them in their stroller when we crossed the road or went in a crowded place. However, when we were in the park, I let them run wild! However, I know all kids are different and if reins worked for you, I totally understand.

When to start weaning

When my daughter was around a year old, I remember asking my mum when she started solid foods when I was a baby. To my surprise, she said “Oh, around 3-4 months.” These days that is certainly considered early. Some parents will start weaning earlier than others and it’s certainly a contentious issue.

What do you think about any of these parenting topics? Do you agree or disagree with any of them? Or maybe you have a strong opinion on doing things a certain way Please leave any comments below.