As parents, we can be sensitive people.
The decisions we make for our children mean a lot to us, and we truly believe we are doing our best — at least, you should believe that.
But often and unfortunately, we are interrupted with the judgment of others. No matter how confident we may be or how much control we may have in any given situation, it’s inevitable that someone will think otherwise, and it hurts.
We’ve all been there, but as parents, we know by now that criticism of any kind is not to be taken personally. And as adults, we also know that judgment is a natural part of life, something we all both give and take as a way to feel better about our own choices or to make sense of a situation.
It’s innate, and it will happen, but a positive parent can learn to rise above it. Here are tips:
Have conviction in your choices. You should never feel the need to justify each decision you make for your child or your family, but you do need to trust your own intuition. Because in the face of judgment — when a fellow parent shames you, blames you or belittles your choices — it helps to know your own reasoning. Not to explain to them, but to feel peace within you. With conviction, you feel stronger, safer and more willing to withstand criticism. You are less inclined to act out and more inclined to say, “I appreciate and value your opinion, but I trust my instincts, and this is the best choice for our family.” If a parent wants to engage further, discuss your choice with patience, educated reasoning and kindness. And remember, parenting is an objective process.
Practice positive self-talk. We’ve all been in this situation: Our child is acting out in public, either having a tantrum, yelling back at you or disobeying. And as you try so mightily to remedy the situation, all you can think is, “Everyone is watching! Everyone is shaking their heads at me!” And you panic, thereby focusing more on the adults around you as opposed to your own child’s needs. This is parenting, but you’ve got this.When we worry about what others think, we’re expecting something negative, but the truth is, unless we ask, we have no way of knowing what someone is thinking of us. If anything, they could be (albeit rudely) watching your situation and thinking, “That parent is handling the situation really well. Good job!” But it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you are thinking in that situation, and it’s so important to remain positive — both toward your child and yourself. As you talk to your child, speak calmly to keep yourself calm, and take your time. Cut out the strangers around you, and trust that you are a great parent.
Reflect. At the end of each day, away and calmed down from any judgment you may have faced, take a little time to consider the opinions that were given to you. Even if you don’t agree, it’s still important to respect differing opinions and give thanks that we live in a world where we can learn from one another’s choices. We grow by appreciating and recognizing others! But most importantly, this practice will keep you aware of not judging others yourself and trusting that they, too, are doing the best they can.
Because aren’t we all?
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer, storyteller and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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