So, a recent Facebook post concerning the harmful effects of the “cry it out” sleep training method has got me thinking about the rise of parent shaming in our culture.
Parent shaming is the act of passing judgment on how someone else raises their children, something which has probably taken place for centuries. However, not surprisingly, with the rise of the dominance of social media platforms in all our lives, other peoples views and opinions are more accessible and more vocal than ever. And with now around 1.85 billion children in the world, that’s a whole lot of mums with a whole heap of opinions!
I get that we should all have an opinion and a voice to stand up for a child who is being neglected, hurt, ignored or abused. I get that young children can’t speak for themselves when they’re being mistreated – I would like to think if I ever saw that happening to any child I would shout about it somehow! But do I really have the right to judge another mother just trying to get by or do her best? Hell no!
For example, there was a recent media shit storm surrounding the Beckham’s 4 year old daughter being pictured with a dummy – commenters went as far as to say they were neglectful, bad parents! Get a grip people! If little Harper Beckham wasn’t feeling great and wanted her dummy for a bit then what’s the issue, get over it, she’s not going to have it when she’s 25 is she???
Judging other people is what we as human beings do, but perhaps we need to stop for a second and remember how hard being a parent can be. Hell, I’m not perfect, I’ve seen kids at soft play and play group and thought
“why doesn’t that toddler have a coat on, it’s freezing?”
“why is that mother leaving a 3 month old to hold it’s own bottle, doesn’t she know it could choke?”
“I would never allow my child to sit in a restaurant glued to a portable game console!”
The truth is we all judge, everyone has these thoughts, it’s human nature. But it’s also human nature to want the best for our children and to make them happy and well developed the best way we know how. So if people see me out and about or look at my social media and judge the things I do with my child, let them! Dummies have worked for us, cry it out has worked for us, bottles not breast have worked for us, solid food at 5 months worked for us. And by us I mean my whole family, me, my partner and most importantly my son. We’re a happy, together unit with a happy healthy baby and I feel no shame in our methods.
But I will be reminding myself of the hard days, when I see something which makes me judge a parent in the future.
They’re just trying to do their best, just like me.