If you are a parent, you know what we are going to talk about. As a parent, we all feel constantly judged. Judged the way turn pregnant, crossed the pregnancy phase to holding a newborn. Actually, it never stops. Judging your parenting decisions, the way you look, your work-life etc would follow you everywhere. Even more than the pug in Vodafone commercials. Not funny? Okay! Moving on.
According to a poll, 6 in 10 mothers of children ages 0-5 say they have been criticized about parenting, on everything from discipline to breastfeeding, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. The report is based on responses from a national sample of 475 mothers with at least one child between ages 0-5.
Assuming if the judging happens only to mothers? Think again. Fathers are also criticized over their decisions. Former face it more rampant fashion compared to later. Breastfeeding vs bottle, co-sleeping vs crib, sleep training, potty (eye-roll), tantrums (eye-roll touches ceiling) everything single thing is under the radar.
Haven’t we all heard about this? Celebrity mom Soha Ali Khan posted a cute picture with her baby on vacation and Netizens took the liberty to judge her appearance.
What is parent-judging? Mom(dad)-judging
Parent judging is when other people (family, relatives, friends and strangers) come up with talks, varying from correcting to shaming on the ways of parenting done, creating a stir of thoughts. Thoughts can be on improvement or self-doubt.
This happens across the socio-economic background, diverse culture, and countries.
When people come across a judgement, we are quick to label it as shaming. True most of the case the receiver end does question themselves if they are doing it right.
We are learning to parent. It has evolved over the years. Learning from others experience saves time and energy. Directing us to “It takes a village to raise a child”. So, well-intended advice delivered with positive words does help parents. Like one underwent trouble with a toddler and states what works for them, leading the other parent see an option which “might” work well. This is when we discover corrective ones done with love and caring attitude in relationships.
In the other end, when we face criticism on decisions, and self-doubt our capabilities. We find ourselves facing the shaming impact hard, which do have a chain reaction with children too. Children watch our actions and behaviour and learn. They choose to ignore our words. When we take every judged word to heart and soul, in future they would take every word thrown at them. Read body image, career choices, almost every action of theirs. While we take so much effort of raising them independent confident, our action of self-doubt does impact negatively. Not immediately, but it grows slowly.
Why parents are judged?
Parents are judged by people in the middle of road, vacation and corners of the bedroom. Every spot you know off. Few are corrective ones and major can be called shaming. The former one is done to help.
Parent-shaming is done in abundant because it is EASY. It takes no effort to throw casual remarks. You don’t have to attempt ways of offering comfort or peace.
“…research tells us that we judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency.”― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
We often forget that parenting is not a competition. When we compare, we shrink our thoughts. We judge others choices as it avoids the inner work.
Humans are wired to look at the window. The window gets stained, dust collects over time and needs cleaning. Cleaning helps us look outside the window.
A parent can face shaming for wearing a toddler. They were worn to calm down the overwhelmed child. But the person jumping on shaming might not have received an opportunity to wear the baby ever and had other solutions that help. They jump into action caring for baby, skipping the parent’s mental well being and do pass remarks unconsciously.
A lot of judgement is done unconsciously. Can you raise your hand saying you-never-ever judged a parent? NO.
Is it possible to have the Parents-Mutual-Admiration club? Yes. Somewhere in a future time when every human has achieved Nirvana.
Until then, consider other words but thicken your skin as well. Acknowledge judgements with that brilliant smile of yours and move on. To act or react is your choice.
And, oh yes, have you ever been ridiculed by a non-parent, who babysit their cousins or niece/ nephew or are educationally qualified but don’t have one in their lap? Yes, poor ones. They don’t know what it takes to be a parent. Be it biological or adoptive. Let them face the storm when the cross that bridge. They would remember every remark they passed after having a baby.
This post is a part of the conversation about “Dilemma faced by modern parents in the early years of childhood”.
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