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Mature Responses When Somebody Judges Your Parenting Skills

When it comes to parenting, society provides an important function. There’s a general expectation that moms and dads will prioritize their kids and raise them in the best way possible. Thus, people in your wider circle of relationships – and even the public – often see it as their role to comment on your child-rearing practices. They make it their business, presumably because your child will one day become an adult, and they want them to be a functional member of the community. 

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Receiving advice from other people about your parenting skills, however, can be a challenge. Your knee-jerk reaction is that it is none of their business. Furthermore, it can be hard to listen to parenting criticism because it goes to the heart of who you are. You’re not a bad person. You’re just trying to do your best with the time and resources you have.

The truth is that judgment from other people can be both a good and bad thing. Sometimes your parenting skills aren’t up to scratch, and the wisdom and advice of others can help. Other times, you’re doing fine, and the person commenting doesn’t correctly understand the situation. 

So how should you react when someone judges you as a parent? 

Think About What A Pediatrician Might Say

In general, pediatricians know a lot more about raising children than the average member of the public. There are currently a lot of myths out there. Yet people will often feel entirely confident spouting them as if they were the truth. 

Here are some examples of myths people assume are true: 

  • You can’t allow children to face forward in car seats from an early age
  • Drinking alcohol and then breastfeeding damages your child
  • You’ll spoil a baby if you pick it up every time it cries
  • Sugar makes children hyperactive

You get the picture. These are the sort of things that people will often say but don’t have any basis in fact.

Next time somebody makes a claim like this, double-check it quickly on your phone. Ask Google and see what answers come up. If they’re right and you are doing something wrong, change your behavior. If you’re not, don’t. Sometimes it can help to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, but don’t feel obliged to do so. As long as you are treating your child correctly according to the latest science, you’re doing about as well as you can. 

Read Between The Lines

Sometimes you need to read between the lines when somebody says something about your parenting skills that sounds judgemental. Ask yourself, is the person trying to help your child, or are they just looking for ways to hurt you? 

Many times there will be other motives besides welfare. Unfortunately, as a parent, it is often your job to figure out what these are. Again, it’s worth going back to basics and just asking reliable sources what you should do in a particular situation. Ultimately, the motivation for the judgment doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you are raising your kids healthily and responsibly. 

Ask Whether You Feel Guilty

Sometimes you can feel very guilty as a parent, even if you’re not doing anything wrong. For instance, if your child has a speech impediment, you can assume that it has something to do with you personally, even if it doesn’t. The same goes for visible conditions, like eczema. You worry, you’ll be judged. 

Feeling guilty can make you perceive judgment when there is none. Somebody might say that children with eczema need moisturizers or kids with lisps need speech therapy, and it can feel like an attack. But in reality, they might have just been offering some helpful advice. In general, most people are reasonable. Flaws in your kids are inevitable, and something the rest of the world needs to accept.

Be Clear What You Want Help With

People judging you makes you feel like you’re under extreme scrutiny. You can almost sense their eyes boring into you, trying to figure out how you have failed. 

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If you feel like this, one of the best things you can do is talk about the kind of advice that you need. If being a pediatrician is your day job, then you probably don’t need medical advice for your kids. You may, however, have questions about finding the right school for them.

Where possible, look for people who actually know what they’re talking about. Don’t rely on random strangers to dictate your parenting strategy for you. And don’t dedicate too much time to thinking about them.

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