Having not been a member for so long, I can't say it for sure, but I have the feeling that there was some shift in the expectations of what Parenting.SE would become. It seems to me that, in the early days, its scope was envisioned to be closer to that of stacks like Biology or Psychology & Neuroscience, i. e. more theoretical. But it became more and more practical, like Interpersonal Skills or The Workplace.

The reason I believe there was a shift in expectations is that I witness its result (and mentioned it earlier). Several highly relevant tags have a very specific usage guidance that clearly show their origin:

  • Why do children act the way they do?
  • The psychological process by which children gain and retain knowledge.
  • Psychological studies based on infant, toddler, and adolescent behavior or parenting techniques and disciplinary action.

They are used quite often, even after cleaning up some of them or getting rid of them (like 's evil twin - Why do children misbehave?). The many tags may also be affected. What further gave me this impression are tags like and (but they are not up for discussion here).

What triggered this post is that they are often misused. Not long ago, I edited a question about making a child behave in public - tagged although nowhere did the OP ask why the child behaved like this. They didn't want to know why, they wanted to make it stop. (When looking at old questions, they seem to always have been misused.)

That's what this is about. These tags are for the curious who wonders why their child does this or that or how they do it. But most questions are about modifying (mis)behavior, about the practice - how to make them stop doing / do something:

  • Your child misbehaves or shows otherwise problematic / unwanted behavior ->
  • You want your child to learn something ->
  • You fear something might affect your child's psyche ->

I don't blame people since the usage guidance is somewhat counterintuitive and very specific. And I understand that when your child is misbehaving, you want them to behave first and foremost and are not just curious why they are throwing tomatoes at you. And is often also used correctly, but also incorrectly too often. (I wonder why people "reject" so often - perhaps they believe it's like a foregone conclusion, or correlate it with punishment only.)

That's why I want to discuss this shift and how we deal with it. We could leave everything as it is, but alos change something. E. g. make about behavior ("For questions pertaining to a child's unusual or problematic behavior.") and create a tag for the why-questions (it's still an important part).

How do we deal with the remnants, i. e. the tags and their usage guidances, of this shift?

  • I don't see why tagging a question about behaviour with the "behaviour" tag would appear wrong to someone (except maybe a Stack Overflow user)
    – David
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


I don't particularly see a shift the way you see it; in fact, if anything I see a bit the other way around. Parenting has always been the example of the "bit more subjective" Stack Exchange site. If anything, I think it was more like The Workplace back then (at least, when I started). There's plenty of questions back then that are in that mold.

That aside, I think updating the tag guidance would be fine the way you propose. It's clearly how people are using the tags, and tag guidance should reflect how they're being used if you don't want to fight an unending retag war with every new poster on the site.

  • With the shift I do not mean so much a shift in question scope (the old questions were also mostly about practical solutions), but rather in intentions. That early members envisioned Parenting.SE to be(come) more "sciency". Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 17:08
  • I guess I can't speak to their intentions, but to the questions I tended to see both when I joined and older ones I'm linked to; they clearly were more forgiving of less sciency questions then than we are now, I'd say, though that's just my opinion of course!
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 18:52
  • I hope that I can cure this mistake of my past - I edited my question to change a bit what I wrote about the perceived shift, since it distracts from the goal of the post - to discuss what to do with the tags now. It's soloely about the tags, and the shift is rather how they envisioned it back then and influenced the creation of tags and excerpts. I agree that the questions back then weren't more sciency (or better), which makes the whole matter more puzzling. I think the site became stricter and the quality did improve (and the standards to which we hold answers certainly did). Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:51

I don't see why tagging a question about behaviour with the "behaviour" tag would appear wrong to someone (except maybe a Stack Overflow user) This site belongs to the users, not the moderators, the developers nor the founders.

So if people decide to use the tags in a certain way, it's the duty of the site to reflect that wish, rather than the other way around

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