We spent time in the pool with other families staying at the resort and I noticed how each family handled the good, bad and ugly behaviors of their children. And I compared what they did to what we do.
Both boys are rambunctious and excited when we are vacationing (who am I kidding, they always are). I noticed that our kids weren’t the only ones. But I also noticed that there were some kids who were calm and seemed easy to parent. I took note of the parents who were in my perception were hard on their kids behind closed doors as I noticed them step a toe out of line and receive a look that made them cross back quickly.
On this trip we felt that the boys were old enough to do some walking in the downtown area of the town we were in. There were many shops, attractions, restaurants, candy stores and bars. They did really well. And listened when we asked them not to touch things (mostly).
During one of these excursions I took note of another family with a son that was around 7 years old. They had him in a huge stroller and would let him get out only if the building they were going in didn’t have room for the stroller. I found myself watching and curious about them. Did he have a disability? Were they overly cautious? Did they find it was easier than having him walk with them? As I thought of them I had to remind myself that parenting is not always easy and passing judgment can be. I was judging their decision from the little bit of data that I had.
Tonight a good friend had her son at the Doctor and posted a photo of his pitiful little face on her social media account. She felt like she had to justify her post and ask people not to judge her for it. WHY? Why do we do this? Why do we make others feel bad for their parenting decisions? She wasn’t putting him in danger! She was entertaining him by taking photos and also sharing with friends how bad he felt.
In the last few months my parenting has been judged by people who had very little data about one of my sons. He has special needs that are not physically apparent. To those not privy to his issues he sometimes seems out of control and I seem like I can’t handle him. I know that judgment has been passed about him because after removing him from a sports team I was told by a friend who overheard the other Moms of players on the team talking. They said things that they had no right to say or think of him. They easily gossiped with one another using words to describe him that they would not have dared to say in my presence. How easy it was for them to judge my sweet, wonderful little boy when no one was there to defend him or me.
Back to the boy in the stroller. After a late dinner and enjoying a bluegrass band playing in the strip my husband and I had two very tired little boys that we had to walk back to our car with. We had parked pretty far away. I found myself thinking of that smart family with the stroller and wishing I had one too.
Rather than judging other parents find their strengths and learn from them!
Contact Robyn at Robyn@theneighborhoodmoms.com