As parents, we all have one thing in common: we want the best for our children. We dream of their bright futures, while busying ourselves to help them pave their paths towards that goal. However, there is this one thing parents keep doing to one another.
And that is, casting judgement.
Have you ever brought your children out, and received judgemental looks or comments over the way your child behaves, or your parenting methods? Or have you ever received a comment over social media, or felt that a rough comment in Facebook was directed at you?
There’s a very fine line between receiving good advice, and an unsolicited judgemental comment. As discerning parents, we can often tell the difference. Perhaps these commenters have the best intentions from their own point of view (and that’s usually ok). But it’s crossing a line when they insist that we follow their parenting methods, especially when their claims have vague or no scientific backup.
Baby J had persistent milk and heat rash (doctor’s diagnosis was contact dermatitis) that wouldn’t go away for almost one month. We tried many things: wash with baby soap (as per doctor’s advice), wipe with a wet cloth after feeding, let him sleep in an air-conditioned room, applied a hypoallergenic cream given by the doctor etc etc… It just wouldn’t go away. Strangers would look at us like we were bad parents and insist that we are not doing our due diligence to wipe our baby properly. That, of course, felt pretty unpleasant.
I also used to have pretty strong opinions about young kids having too much screen time, but after being a parent myself, I understand why some parents have to “resort” to that. Many may call it lazy parenting, trading in quality play time with kids for screen time. But parenthood can get very tiring at times, as it is very common for both parents to be working. This is often a tricky subject, so I now refuse to judge parents who give mobile devices to their children to keep them entertained. Personally, I’m not an advocate of this practice, but we should all hold our judgement and have some consideration for the parents.
Similarly, I’ve also seen mothers lambasting other fellow mums who either choose not to breastfeed or are unable to breastfeed. Yes, breastfeeding is good for our babies; we all know the many benefits breast milk can provide our little ones. But why is a mother’s choice or ability to breastfeed being criticised so harshly by others? I know of mums who choose not to breastfeed because it distresses them, so isn’t their health just as important? At almost 7 months, Baby J is still fed breast milk supplemented by formula milk, and I know he is going to be fine. So why should anyone cast judgement and make a fellow mummy feel bad about giving her little one formula milk?
These are just some specific examples, and there are of course, tons more of how parents may put one another down. I have made that mistake before, and now that I’m aware of this, I hope not to do it again and make others feel bad about their method of parenting without knowing their full story. Every parent wants the best for their children, so let’s be more aware of how our words and judgement may hurt others around us. 🙂