When Did Parenting Become a Spectator Sport?
Parenting IRL is definitely different than we all thought when we were bright eyed and big-bellied. Once our little ones arrived we learned real quick that we were gonna have to change the game plan a little bit. Regardless of all the parenting advice, tips, and wisdom we received from everyone you've ever met (ugh), you're still doing your best to figure out what works best at home. And despite all the trial and error every parent goes through (don't hang your head, we've all been there) we're still being bombarded with the comments, the critiques, and the judgements. These days it's not even our kids doing the emotional damage to drive us crazy, but other parents who are sure they've got it all figured out. I hope you can hear my eyes rolling right now. To be honest it's enough to get any parent discouraged.
When you look at your fb feed you're sure to find any number of posts debating whether or not the parents could have done this, or should have done that, or failed their child this way, or needed to remember to do this..... Yeah I know this is getting old just typing it out. Parenting has become a gross spectator sport for others to watch our every move and wait to see the error. They throw their yellow cards when we let our child watch too many movies. They call foul when our child eats a Happy Meal. And there are any number of penalties to shell out for how we choose to co-sleep, breastfeed, or even dress our own kids.
When did this become okay? To pretend like we are the authority for someone else's child? When did it become the norm for other parents to expect others to implement their parenting styles in someone else's home? The hard and fast answer is: It never did. It is never okay to demean or demand that another parent do what you do. Even if you swear it will change their life, or are certain that if they did it this way things would be better. Not your call.
What ever happened to just being positive influence in other parents' lives? What ever happened to the community that we could turn to for advice, support, and encouragement? It seems like those circles are slowly but surely disappearing, because we're all done with the mouthful of constructive criticism we get when we open up. Judgements started to replace understanding. Scoffs replaced kindness. Ridicule instead of help.
At a time in our history when every story about a "bad parent" has unlimited space for nasty comments, lets try our best to do a little bit better. Positive parenting means that we put ourselves in another parent's shoes, take a walk around, and realize that everyone's doing their best. When we all try a little harder to give others the benefit of the doubt, our hope is that others will do us the same solid.