Learn to distinguish useful criticism from useless and find like-minded people. We face judgment in different areas of life. Because people always have an opinion and they are not afraid to voice it. Over time, we learn to ignore it, or at least try our best. But if we are judged as parents and the comments come from a family member, a stranger in line, or someone who has no children at all, it hurts more. After all, it is very important for us to be good parents.
The first problem is that moms and dads are already very good at doubting themselves. Any criticism, real or perceived, only causes uncontrollable thoughts that they are terrible parents and always will be. Parenting doesn’t have standard metrics like annual performance reviews or salary increases that make it clear how well we’re doing in this challenging role.
The second problem is that we often try to be different from our parents. This is quite natural. We want to be more involved in our children’s lives and more attentive to their feelings. At the same time, we may not have a model to guide us by, so all we do is encourage children’s desire to express themselves. And then this is exactly what happens, with requests and tears, and everything looks like the child is out of control.
Since much of the process takes place in the presence of other people, they are not shy about sharing their opinions. The hidden meaning of their words is that we raise children differently from them, which means we must be doing it wrong. A few steps will help you to hold yourself up in moments when your parenting style is judged.
Prepare for bad days
Raising children doesn’t feel like a smooth line. Some days everything goes great, and some days you may feel like you don’t know or understand anything. It is extremely important to remember this. As well as the fact that there is no easier way to be a parent that has passed you by. And no matter what approach you take, there will always be those who disagree with you. Prepare for this and situations like this won’t hurt you as much.
Sometimes there is nothing wrong with reacting to a judgmental comment. But before you start responding harshly, think about why the person decided to share his opinion.
Perhaps he is worried about some of your actions, he is sincerely convinced that he is right or thinks that he is helping, and would like someone to point out his mistake in a similar situation. Or your parenting methods cause him anxiety because they seem alien to him and differ from the way he raises a child or how his parents raised him. All this may look like condemnation , but your perception does not make it a fact.
Moreover, criticism is not always unfounded and useless. Analyze it – perhaps you will find a grain of truth in it that will help you become a better person.
Discuss with your partner what is most important to you as parents. Remember how you were raised and think about whether some methods are suitable for you just because “that’s the way it’s accepted.” If you don’t pay attention to what you do and don’t consolidate your knowledge, you will end up mindlessly copying your parents .
But if you understand what really matters to you, it becomes your guide to action. It doesn’t protect you from judgment, but it does allow you to be less reactive to external stimuli and make decisions with confidence.
For example: “I know that you care about my children, and I trust you. But I also know that I will make mistakes often, and I need the opportunity to do so. Your opinion isn’t helping at all right now.” This is how you set boundaries . This may make the other person feel defensive, which is likely a good sign. It indicates that you have hit the nail on the head.
You may instinctively avoid such conversations due to awkwardness. But when you are silent, you are not defending your interests. And the more you endure, the more you will be hurt by other people’s comments.
If the person ignores your answer and starts judging you again or giving unsolicited advice, remind him of the conversation. Eventually he will learn that he shouldn’t give his opinion on how you raise your children.
Additionally, you can also add, “You know what would help me right now?…” and share what kind of support you need. This will show that you are willing to accept help, but will put aside annoying comments. Having someone else involved will benefit the children. The person will be able to spend time with your child and understand how he is different from the rest, and you will get the opportunity to relax .
Find like-minded people
People are unlikely to ever stop judging your approach to parenting. They will never be able to fully understand your situation, so the comments will not stop, and you will continue to be upset because of them.
Find parents with similar experiences. They will be pleased to know that they are not the only ones who use certain parenting methods, nor are they alone in their approach. And you will feel the same.
Raising children is a huge industry with books, workshops and promises to never raise your voice again . But it’s all an illusion and just another form of judgment and ridiculous standards that make us think we can’t cope. It is impossible to be a parent for so many hours a day and for so many years in a row and not make a single mistake. The main thing is to think and learn from them. This is how we become better.