Lets talk about parenting. Isn’t it mind baffling? I mean what other job can tax you to the brink of insanity and yet at the end of it all, you still wouldn’t trade it for anything. OK, we may have days when we are quite tempted to trade it in. But overall, when you recover from the latest fiasco your children have put you through, you can look at them asleep in their beds and just cherish them once again.
With parenting comes the dreaded discouragement, and self loathing for how poorly we are at parenting. Seriously, all it takes is the time your toddler decides to finger paint with human excrement from a soiled diaper you missed, or the siblings constant bickering even after the 20th time of breaking up a fight. Only to leave the room and have it instantly begin again.
Then comes the screams of the heartbroken teenager (or pre-teen) saying, “I hate you!” And if all that wasn’t enough, now we have random strangers telling us, “Hey Parent! You are doing it wrong!” It doesn’t matter what your parenting style is. There is a group of people out there that is dedicated to informing you that you are doing it wrong. Even if your child is turning out amazing. Don’t worry. You are doing it wrong.
Introducing the Parenting scenario
Don’t believe me? Try this. Your child decides to have a melt down in the Grocery store. I mean the kicking, screaming and full blown out tantrum. What do you do?
A. Spank them?
B. Walk away and ignore the tantrum?
C. Pick up the child and walk out of the store leaving the grocery cart there?
D. Sit down with the child and try to explain over the chaotic screams that they are making a poor choice and you would really appreciate them to calm down and control themselves again. Then wait how ever long it takes for this to happen.
E. Fall to the floor in your own Mimicking Tantrum to show them just how ridiculous their behavior is?
Now I’m quite curious. How many of us all chose the same option? Very unlikely. And now most people are rather understanding that other people have different methods of parenting.
But just you wait until you get into that grocery store with a toddler or tween in a full blown tantrum. You pick your option and take action. But then are stopped and berated by a random stranger because you are “doing it wrong and will damage your child’s self esteem”. (Why yes…this has happened. Multiple times in multiple situations in multiple states and even countries).
These random “parent, you are doing it wrong” crusaders exist. And it’s all fun and games until you run into one and they get your blood boiling that you just want to smack them; yet in the same breath you are now questioning everything you do as a parent.
Come on people! We know we aren’t perfect parents. Our children didn’t come with a manual! And just when we think we have it all figured out, God throws us a curve ball in the next child that changes the entire game. If you understand the phrase “what works for one child won’t work for all” then you completely know what I’m talking about.
And it doesn’t help when we are bombarded by those who seem to always have it together. Who’s kids are always put together and appear to have it all figured out. Or to have others berate and belittle a poor mom with two boys under 3 all on her own with a deployed husband for 15 months, who has only gotten 3 hrs of sleep the last four nights due to parenting duties; all because she didn’t have the energy to deal and manage a child’s meltdown in the store. The “can’t you control your child?” or the dirty looks and the overly loud whispers “How irritating. She should just leave and actually teach her kids how to behave in a store”.
These are the non controversial “Parent you are doing it wrong” crusaders.
And it seems that the age of social media really brings it to light. As if we didn’t berate ourselves enough with our short comings. Now we have
Fakebook Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites all showing us 24/7 how amazing all our friends, family and random Tom, Dick and Harry that we don’t know from Adam and Eve are doing such an amazing job at parenting.
And we are like, “Heck! I just got my kids onto the school bus wearing matching clothes, only one thing forgotten that I have to take to school later and they actually got breakfast and their hair combed today! Yeah! Go me!”
When you are parenting wrong
But the truth of the matter is, we are doing it wrong. You know..the parenting thing. But not in the way you think.
We’re doing it wrong when we let other people’s hurtful comments make us feel like the worst Mom of the year. Like wise, they really should just shut it and cut fellow parents some slack.
We are doing it wrong when we make the best parenting choice of action based on the knowledge we have been given, and then self doubt ourselves.
We are doing it wrong when we let others dictate how we should raise our child instead of studying out differing parenting styles and decide which will work best for you and your family.
We are doing it wrong when after we’ve chosen a parenting style; not standing up to the “parent you are doing it wrong” crusaders in the world and saying, “Back off. You don’t know the whole picture to the scene! I know my child and I know what works best for them.”
We’re doing it wrong when we look at Susie B. Homemaker and think, “Gosh, Why Can’t I have a third of what she has?” Triple wrong here. We’re not appreciating what we do have, we are labeling someone as perfect who isn’t and we are showing our kids that we don’t have confidence in ourselves as their parent.
We’re doing it wrong when we don’t realized that what we see on social media is only a fraction of the story. Most people only put the most exciting or best parts of themselves out there. So obviously they look perfect. But it’s not the whole story. What a shock to discover Ms. Jones next door feels the same parenting frustration with her kids as I do with mine. But…I thought she had it all figured out! It says so on
We’re doing it wrong when we see a parent stand up to a sassy back mouthing child, not letting them walk all over the parent; and then not tell that Parent “Good Job!” Because lets face it, there isn’t a single parent alive that would say, “no thanks..I get enough compliments and praise for what I do”.
We’re doing it wrong when we see another mom struggling with her brood of kids and not offer to help, even in the smallest manner such as opening a door or picking up a dropped binky. We teach best by example, so why not be the best parent we can by showing our kids how to treat others?
We’re doing it wrong when we ourselves have that moment of judgement towards another parent who is merely doing the best they can with what they have been given.
And finally, we are doing it wrong when we don’t sit down and start listing all the “Parent, you are doing it right!” moments in our lives.
We are all human. None of us are perfect parents. We need to understand that and give each other a break. Not be so judgmental to other’s parenting styles. But also supporting others by complimenting when they are doing their best to be a good parent. And remember. Each child is also different. And surprise! Even after my 3rd child, I STILL haven’t gotten a manual! And this one is the toughest one yet!
How do you handle others telling you how to parent your child?