Welcome to the “Am I A Good Parent” show!

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Welcome to the “Am I A Good Parent” show!

One day, while enjoying an evening at the park with my two-year-old and five-year-old, I was astonished when one of the other moms actually walked over to my older child and began to tie her shoes for her. It was the end of the day, and we were all in need of a nap. My daughter had been tying her shoes for almost a year by that point, but on occasion shd pretended not to know how. This is kind of a normal thing, testing whether or not she could get Mom to do it for her. It’s a stage just like the “let me do it” stage where they won’t let you do anything for them. I never gave in to her pretending and eventually she would just give up and tie her own shoes.

Then this woman comes up and, wow! I don’t even want to think about what message this intruding person gave my child. At any rate, I thanked her for her concern and informed her that my daughter was capable of tying her shoes better than any five year old we knew, and I was particularly proud of this fact and proud of my daughter. The woman smiled, but that was followed by something all parents dread: the look of disapproval from a complete stranger.

These frowning, judgemental people are everywhere. Sometimes it feels like you are on a reality show: “Am I A Good Parent” show, featuring you and your family. We all know these people and their sneers shouldn’t bother us, but sometimes we are susceptible emotionally to things we know are not true. Even though it’s possible to ignore them most of the time, all it takes is one day when you are more tired than usual or circumstances are stressful for one reason or another for them to get under your skin.

Generally, I think the parents throwing hostile looks at others are simply unsure of their own parenting and need of validation at another’s expense. These parents want to let the world know that they are GOOD parents, and everyone else should do what THEY do because it’s the RIGHT WAY. All they really accomplish is making themselves look like know-it-alls, and they occasionally make a new parent feel awful, or worse, make them doubt themselves, when there is absolutely no reason to do so.

There is one thing I can tell you: if any parent in a public place is watching you and judging you, THEY ARE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. It’s NOT you.

The person invading your space is not important. What is important is the message your child receives. Stay in a positive space, and always stay encouraging, despite whoever may be glowering from over their sunglasses. Never change the way you parent your child because of an interfering adult. Avoid negative sounding things like, “You can tie your own shoes. Stop pretending you can’t.” Pointing out something positive about your child will motivate them to demonstrate that you are right about them and make them feel good about completing the task. Be strong and hold your ground. Eventually your judgemental viewers will lose interest in you and move on to other potential players.

-Deb

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