How to Stop Judging Other Parents

by on February 13th, 2011
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I remember being at the grocery store when I saw a mother allow her baby to put her keys in his mouth. I remember thinking how disgusting this was and wondered why a parent would let their baby put dirty keys in his or her mouth. Yet, then I stopped myself. Perhaps, the mother was having a particularly hard day. Yes, I am guilty of judging other’s parenting choices. While I still don’t agree with what many parents do, I have tried to put my judgment aside with these simple rules.

Think about my Worst Parenting Day

Sometimes, parents snap at their children. Sometimes, parents ignore their children. Sometimes, parents just don’t seem to care. Yet, I’ve had days when I forgot to bring my daughter a snack to the park. I’ve gotten angry before. However, I know these parenting lapses are rare occurrences for me. Thus, I have to assume that the caregiver is just having one of “those days.”

Step into their Shoes

I might see a parent at the grocery store with three little boys all out of control. It’s easy to wonder why that parent doesn’t control their children better. Yet, then I realize I have no idea what it is like to have three young boys. I have one girl and until I have more children, I will probably not understand this parent’s circumstances.

Don’t Gossip

Gossiping only allows the judgment to spread. If you are anything like me, you can sense when someone is gossiping about you. Plus, these little, mean-spirited conversations don’t benefit anyone. Thus, walk away from gossip and definitely don’t start it.

Put your Parenting Beliefs Aside

Parenting choices can be very polarizing. While I feel strongly about nutrition and safety issues, I realize not everyone has the same beliefs. While I don’t understand why people bring sick children to the park, I don’t have to share their parenting methods. You don’t have to agree but try to coexist peacefully.

It Might be a One-Time Occurrence

Once or twice, my daughter has had a tantrum in public. Yes, I realize that people are judging me when this happens. Thus, when you see a child throwing a tantrum, don’t assume the child isn’t normally well-mannered. Don’t whisper to your friend about how “that child needs some discipline.” Simply try to relate to the parent’s experience and refrain from staring.

Know When to Step in

There is judgment and then there is doing the right thing. Thus, when a child is endangered, don’t feel bad to step in. This includes when young children or babies are left in a car. In addition, it could be a case of child abuse or neglect.

Parents often spend so much time judging each other that it prevents us from building a community of caregivers. Thus, next time you feel a wave of judgment coming on, push it aside. It will make you a better parent.

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