How to Deal with Judgment From Other Parents
From the time my daughter was an infant, I felt so judged by a family “friend” that had a grandson born a few days after my daughter.
When my daughter would cry, this person would make endless comments about her being a cranky baby.
When my daughter was a toddler and was shy or unsure around new adults, she would make comments about her not having manners and how rude she was, and that her grandkids would never act like that.
When we went to their house once for a BBQ, and my daughter had just woken up from a car nap and wasn’t quite ready to socialize, she sat down on the couch in the living room. Apparently the living room was off limits. Before I could even say anything, my daughter was reprimanded because said adult’s grand kids knew that room was off limits and followed directions, but why couldn’t G? Because she had never been there, she hadn’t been told the rules, that’s why.
Whenever I was around this person with my kids, I felt like they weren’t allowed to be sad, shy, tired, grumpy. They weren’t allowed to act like kids. For some reason, I didn’t follow my gut and work through their emotions with them or teach them things the way I normally do. Instead, I felt like they weren’t allowed to cry or be shy. They had to act “right” by her standards or she would judge and make her stupid, negative comments. So I would save them and rescue them. I would distract them, talk them out of their feelings, give in. I would temporarily let go of my limits and what I knew was best for my kids.
I’m not sure when I realized it, but at one point when we were around her, I finally stopped caring what she thought. I remembered that it wasn’t my job to make my kid’s fit into her standards, that it was not my job to save them from ever being upset. They are allowed to be upset. To be angry. Sad. Frustrated. The whole gamut of “negative” emotions. Feelings and emotions are part of being human and these feelings, positive or negative, are ALWAYS okay. It’s how we act on our feelings that can be okay or not.
I also reminded myself that it is absolutely OKAY for people to cry and it doesn’t make me a bad parent. It means I’m letting my kid feel their feelings, learn how to cope with them, and move forward.
Dealing with judgment as a parent:
Empathy. This may sound crazy at first but hear me out for a minute. Have you heard of the phrase “Hurt people, hurt people?” People who are hurting, will often lash out to hurt other people. This doesn’t mean that it’s okay, but when I looked through this lens that this person wasn’t happy with things about her own life, her own family, and that she was picking on mine to bring herself up, I thought and felt differently about the situation. Take a minute to understand why they might be acting that way.
Let go of what doesn’t serve you and your family. Just because we have mutual connections, I decided she’s not my friend. She brought so much negativity and stress and annoyance to my life, we’ve pretty much cut ties. I see her at big gatherings maybe twice a year and it’s better that way. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, especially when it comes to my kids.
Knowledge. I have chosen the way I parent my kids based on what I know works and is best for their emotional well being and development. No one’s negative opinion and expectations can take that away. Do what is best for YOUR family, and stick to what you believe. Remember that other people’s opinions of you or your kids do not define you, and your kid’s behavior does not define them.