Stop Judging Parents for their Parenting Techniques.
But the problem is not that. The problem was the judgers who kept looking at my son with sympathetic eyes and moms gossiping with each other on what a bad parent I am because I cannot “manage my own child”.
I will start this with a story. A True Story.
A few days back my son got up from his afternoon nap, as usual and suddenly started crying out loud. I attended him, soothed him, and thought might be the child had some bad dreams. Singed him, tried to wash his face and fed him. My poor little child was completely unpleased by anything of the above mentioned activities and he kept on crying. Even after 30 mins of non-stop crying, screaming, soothing and all the other activities as above mentioned he kept on clinging to me and crying incessantly.
Call it luck or his mood or god knows what after an hour of the full-on drama he brought me to the living room holding my hand and after to switch on the TV, just to make him feel alright I switched it for some time and fed him some food, gave him water, washed his face and after 20 mins I told him his screen time was over and he could have it later or perhaps tomorrow. And again he started crying and screaming on the top of his voice. I tried everything and fed up I thought of taking him out to change his mind (mine too). We had just walked out of the lift and he again starts throwing tantrums. He literally laid down on the floor and just kept crying on and on and on…I communicated very clearly that he had his time for TV today and we can go to the park and perhaps later on if he feels like it, he can watch it. He won’t budge but.
But the problem is not that. I mean, of course, that’s a problem but not here in this case. The problem was the judgers who kept looking at my son with sympathetic eyes and moms gossiping with each other on what a bad parent I am because I cannot “manage my own child”. It followed with some advisers who approached me without having any knowledge of the situation nor knowing my child’s temperament with a lot of advice up their sleeves.
As a result after some time of struggle I had to give in and took my son upstairs for some more screen time and made sure he doesn’t get it the next day as a consequence of all the embarrassment and scene he had created in the reception area.
This is a very common scenario in parks or malls. There is a huge difference between a meltdown and a tantrum even though they book look like the same. In a meltdown, the child is incapable of controlling his emotions while tantrums are when they perfectly know what they are doing and they know for a fact that if they repeatedly keep on doing an action (crying, screaming, stomping foot, throwing themselves on the floor) the parent has to ultimately give in.
But this article is not about meltdowns or tantrums or disciplining or how to calm them down when they just won’t calm down, this article is for that parent who has judged every other parent and looked with sympathetic eyes towards the child and imagined what a devil of a parent the kid has got or that elder person who wonders that today’s moms don’t know what they are doing. Or any relatives who never miss an opportunity to boast of how good parents they were and how their children have never even shed a tear in their life (yeah, right, as if that’s true).
Every parent has a different style of raising their child and if you are a parent and you see a child screaming and throwing a tantrum, perhaps the best option would be to not be a bystander and pass judgments of what could have been done or what should be done.
You do not know the child, you don’t know where they are coming from and no knowledge about the child’s temperament – perhaps the best strategy would be to ignore the scenario until or unless the parent asks you for some help.
I once spoke with a friend who had rightly put it as “if you are strict with your kids other parents think you are abusive or have anger or other issues and if you are lenient people will judge you for not caring enough”.
The problem is parenting is tough, it takes a toll on your mind and body because your child is dependent on you for everything and you need to make the right or perfect decisions for them but how can you do that when you yourself are trying to figure things out. The problem is that judging or criticizing will only bring more stress to the parent , in fact as per a report around 43% of parents reported that they discipline their kids differently when they are in public.
So what can be done?
Parents, be supportive of other parents. Every parent has a different parenting technique and I have written an article about different kinds of parenting techniques here, please do check it out.
Until or unless asked assume your role in their struggle or dispute as nothing, not even as bystander or onlooker. You never know the child might learn this as a tactic to manipulate the parents in getting things done when out. If you want to show love and support to the kids, you got to show love and support to the parent first.
And before ending a small message to a parent who has been in such kind of situation – Don’t fear the judgers. Don’t be a little peach, don’t get bruised easily. People will always have something to say or assume but only you know your child, only you know what’s good or bad for them. Only you know how to handle them or “manage them”. Don’t give others the power; it is not your job to please the judgers. Never let your child take you for granted. Be their friend and be there for them.
Bystanders will always have a half-knowledge opinion which should never concern you or your parenting techniques. And if some smart ass comes up with some knowledge like “äww poor baby is probably hungry” or “you should change his diaper” , kill them with kindness- tell them how good it is that they show concern but the child needs to learn that he can’t get everything he demands for and learning worldly things for a little guy can be tough.
Hope you liked my article, please comment and do let me know.
Merrin is a SAHM, a mother of a highly energetic boy and we live in the city of World’s Tallest Skyscraper. Every child is different but as parents, our struggles are very much similar. So let’s share our stories with each other and enjoy the joyful ride.
I hope through this we can share laughter, empowerment and more experiences with each other.