You are having dinner in a nice restaurant when your child starts screaming. You immediately are overwhelmed with dread. You feel the eyes of other parents in the restaurant turn to you in judgment.
You can hear them now: “That parent obviously has no idea what they’re doing. They have no idea how to discipline their child. Why would they try to soothe their kid like that?” You look down and try to do what you can to stay calm in the situation. You are annoyed and frustrated, and vow you never want to go out again.
Any parent can easily recall a similar moment where they felt judged by others. It makes you feel embarrassed and can ruin your confidence about parenting. You know your child as being a sweet, loving kid and believe you are doing everything right raising them. But when those terrible moments happen, the judgment from others sticks with you. You carry it around on your shoulders and feel like you failed as a parent.
Yet, we continue to place judgment on other parents. Despite all the horrible feelings we get when we are judged, we still put unrealistic expectations on others. We judge other parents for their choices, and take negatively about them to others.
This absolutely needs to stop. We need to find ways to instead support each other on our parenting journey, instead of putting each other down.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t know their full story. You don’t the daily struggles that mom goes through with her special needs child. You may not know that the single dad just lost his wife. You might not understand that the child has a sporadic temperament, and the mother has been working hard to keep him calm all day.
Is there time for intervention? Of course there is. If a child is being hurt, abused, or clearly being mistreated than it’s incredibly important to step in and become an advocate for the child. However asserting your opinions on how they should parent their child is a whole other ballgame.
Your kids are going to be very different from anyone else’s kids. Maybe you were blessed with the “easy child” that listens to everything you say. Unfortunately that is simply not the reality of other parents. There are such a variety of personalities out there. Some children are emotionally high strung while others are painfully shy. Some children are stubborn as a mule while others are curious and get into everything.
Just because things are not done the way you would choose to do it, doesn’t mean that it’s a wrong way. There are many right choices that can leave to positive outcomes when it comes to parenting. We simply have to get over our ego. Our egos tell us that we are better than other parents and that simply isn’t true, because it’s not an apples to apples comparison.
Luke 6:37 says “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven.” When we judge others for their parenting options, we are acting against God’s wishes. We are becoming less like Christ each time we think badly of another mother instead of choosing to offer help.
There are many different things we need to stop judging parents on. This includes sleep decisions, eating choices, discipline methods, breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, and the list goes on. Because each child and parent is different, we have to support the choices they make since they are the ones that are living in the situation. They know their child way better than you ever will.
Parenting is challenging enough as it is. We need to become a community that supports one another rather than tries to tear each other down because we think we are right. Parents, stop judging other parents.