Post # 1
I would think that going through motherhood would create a common understanding of how difficult the twists and turns of parenting can be. This in theory would foster a common respect.
However, my observations show quite the opposite. We can be almost alarmingly quick to jump to judgements about the parenting choices of others. A child screaming in the super market indicates “bad parenting” and “having no control over you child. However, stepping in and parenting can be perceived as “too harsh.” Sending your child to school with a small dessert packed in their lunchbox is “unhealthy.” But not allowing sweets is overboard. (The post on spanking going around I feel has a lot of judgement going on.)
For myself personally it took a little getting used to to feel comfortable parenting in public, not because i don’t know what to do to resolve the behavior of my screaming child, but simply because I know how judgemental others can be if it is “too harsh” or “too soft” in their opinion.
I can remember one occassion with my step daughter where we (her dad, myself, and I) were all taking a walk together downtown. This is usually something fun that she looks forward too, but this particular day it was a spontaneous “I am tired now” tantrum. We tend to have a zero tolerance policy with this type of thing as it is what we have found works the best for the little one, so I immeidately took her hand and calmly walked her back to the car (with her screaming her head off, of course) to buckle her in her car seat while we waited for Daddy to grab something in the store that he needed. She was upset that we missed out on the fun walk, but it was over.
Well, in this one single walk to the car I first got 1)completely condescending looks from a group of three women I passed. They were looking at me like I was an awful monster for pulling her towards the car while she was screaming “Nooooooo!!” . And then afterwards 2) Two women muttering under their breath “geeze what a brat, get her out of here.”
Ultimately it really put it all into perspective for me. Let’s just be kind and understanding! Parenting is hard work, there is no perfect answer, and everyone is doing our best with all of our completely different children.
Have you ever experienced this parent-to-parent judgement? Do you ever judge other parents? (and be honest) Why do you think this judgement happens so prevalently?
Post # 2
This is odd to me too. I am not a parent yet, but my best friend is. When her son was first born, we’d be out with him and I’d push the stroller and pass other moms and flash them a smile but it seemed like they all had cold shoulders! I thought there would be a kinship amongst mothers when you see another one, but I guess it’s not always like that.
Post # 3
freshflowers: Kids will be kids.
But sometimes, I think kids behavior is a direct result of parenting. I’m not saying judging others is OK. But I have been more than turned off by other kids- and/or thier parents. This ususally happens when- in a public area and the kids are just not behaving or are screaming, yet Mom tends to whatever she feels like doing rather then her kids. I get babies are going to cry– but it sort of drives me nuts when Mom just stroll along and continue shopping with a baby screaming at the top of thier lungs. It’s time to try to sooth, or maybe even leave– for the simple courtesy of others.
Some kids are also super excellent at being dramatic- so even though when you were just walking her to the car– perhaps her behavior came off as “bratty”– do you even know if the woman who made the comment was a mom? In that case, it’s a non-mom making a comment, and she doesn’t know what it’s like having to deal with it.
Here’s one thing I will say: my son has less-than-desireable-behavior at times. He is 6. But he tends to leave the real dramatics for home. He will voice his disgruntlement to us- but he doesn’t scream, or lay on the floor and freak out– and he has never done this. Ever. He just knows it’s not what you do I guess.
I don’t think this holds true in all instances, but if you pay attention, you can sort of tell if the nehavior of a kid having a tantrum is a kid just throwing a tantrum, or the parenting. All you have to do is see how th ekid and parent are behaving at the time- I think it usually ends of being a tell tale.
I try not to judge because I understand it can be hard. But I tend to laugh when I see a mom, literally dragging her crying kid somewhere– annoyed as could be. Becuase I don’t think that’s proactive parenting.
Post # 4
I think it’s because a lot of people think what works for their child should work for every child, which obviously isn’t the case.
I have definitely experienced judgement from other people. I have had multiple people tell me that I’ve “spoiled” my baby because we bed share. Bed sharing was not my first choice, but Dear Daughter would never sleep on her own from the day she was born. We just do what we have to to survive!
I have to admit that I have judged other parents on occasion. I worked customer service in a retail store, so I’ve seen it all. I once had a boy about 8 years old throw a hanger at my face, and the mom just laughed. I judged the hell out of her. I also had a customer who slapped her what looked like a 2 year old across the face and tell her to shut up. Also, lots of judgement and concern from me. Those are really the only types of situations that I can’t help but judge.
Post # 5
Because women have been conditioned to be competitive against each other their entire lives (“oh I’m not like THOSE girls”, “I’m not like other girls”, etc) and being judgemental of other mothers is another layer to that.
Post # 6
If you are comfortable in your abilities as a parent, and if your child is growing well and happy, there is absolutely NO REASON to give a rodent’s recumbant rectum what any other parent thinks. Period.
Post # 7
stephncollins: so true and so sad.
Post # 8
Cory_loves_this_girl: I like what you said about people assuming what works for their child should work for everyone’s child. I think that there is a lot to this concept. Children are little people. They have different things that set them off, and different tactics work very well, while others do not.
A child’s parents know their child best because they are around them most, including their mood patterns, behavior, and every little eye twitch and what it foreshaddows.
Post # 9
I think a lot of people believe that what they’re doing for their child is best and will work for every child…and I think it’s a lot easier for people to judge others than to try to see things from a new/different perspective.
Post # 10
Being a parent is hard and I think if you are not very confident in your skills/decisions, it is easy to interpret someone else making a different decision as meaning that your decision is “wrong”. Also, there is a bit of a mommy-martyr complex that some people adopt (I know I have been guilty of this). Sometimes I think, well, wouldn’t it be easier if I just let my kid eat Cheetos while watching TV all day long, like so-and-so does, rather than cook him organic chicken and vegetables while trying to keep him entertained with his alphabet blocks. There is a little bit of something that I can’t quite put my finger on- not really jealousy, but something close, when I think about moms that make an “easier” parenting decision, so sometimes I deal with that by becoming a bit judgey (Secretly. I never verbalize any of this because, as long as your kid is not harming mine, or your actions are not harming your own child, I actually just don’t care what you do.)
It’s kind of like that one person that we all know at work who does just the bare minimum to get by and do a passable job. They don’t do anything wrong, but they sure aren’t putting in any overtime, either. Even if their performance does not impact you in any way, you are still slightly annoyed that you do everything “right” and they cut corners, even though it is your choice to do that.
Post # 11
I’m not a parent but my SO’s family has children coming out the wazoo so we are always together and I’m with you, OP about how everyone judges everyone elses’ parenting style and they are all FAMILY! It blows my mind but at the same time, that’s our society. Everyone judges everyone else because that’s how we’ve all been raised. Society and the media dictate that opinions about how people look and dress and even how they raise their kids is normal so we can’t fault anyone for judging anyone else because everyone is guilty of it and even though it shouldn’t be at all, it is relatively normal because that’s how we are raised.
Post # 12
I have a now ex friend who just knew that her way was the only way. First she told me that I missed out on the correct birth because I had my daughter in a hospital and not at home (my daughter was born at 27 weeks gestation and she knew it) she told me that my daughter will end up mentally disabled because I didn’t breastfeed (I tried, I lasted a couple of months but sometimes expressing without being able to hold your baby doesn’t provide enough stimulation and I dried up) then she told me I neglected her because I didn’t practise attachment parenting or baby wearing. The final straw was when she told me that she hoped my daughter got Autism because I am pro immunisation.
The only thing I judge about her is that she is a bitch.
Post # 13
freshflowers: I have two children (15 and 11 now). I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this (at least not from strangers, just from my exMIL). Normally, I would get sympathetic looks from other moms – or maybe I just didn’t give a rat’s a$$ what other people thought so I didn’t notice it. I don’t judge other moms either, I tend to give them a sympathetic smile because its tough and I’ve been there.
Post # 14
I am a parent and I’ve been judged. I also do judge parents because some parents are unattentive- to the point of letting their children get hurt. Or when the child is being a total brat and the parents do nothing to correct it- like throwing sand in another kids eyes.
Post # 15
freshflowers: hey look, you even have judgement oozing from this thread and it just started. Quite honestly I used to judge, but that was before I had children.
My future kids would never scream at the supermarket. They wouldn’t crawl under the table, run around the plane, talk back, slam their door, etc. Throwing poo? Bad parenting. Screaming? Bad parenting. Running down the aisles at the grocery store, laying down and having a tantrum when leaving the park, riding crawling babies, biting other kids, stealing toys, and so it goes. Bad parenting right?
People are all different and so are children. I’ve been blessed with a difficult first born (and hey, even family members blamed it on parenting). Until I had my second. You know what; all you judges out there don’t know squat. A screaming child at the store or on a plane isn’t bad parenting, and isn’t a bad child. People who have a problem with it are just intolerant smart asses, and there are plenty to go around.
We as parents do our best, some people get it and some people don’t. How do you know if that screaming child wasn’t just adopted? Lost a parent? Has an emotional disorder? All I can say is that now, when I see another child misbehaving, I smile at the mom and try to give her a booster. There’s nothing more humiliating than a child acting up in a public place, and having a thousand eyes watching you, judging your every move.
I had a mom approach me at the zoo one day, following a couple intense hours. She came up to me with her baby on her back, husband had the stroller with their second daughter. She smiled and said to me, “you are AMAZING! I just want to give you a hug!”. I will never forget that, it just made my day. So I try to pass it on.