How to Cope When People Judge Your Parenting Choices
Being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have. It’s also the type of “career” that causes you to learn more as you go.
Many of the choices you make will be based on instinct. There are times, however, that your decisions will have more to do with your personal beliefs. You might even research some things to make more informed decisions for your kids.
No matter your methods or choices, there is sometimes a sad reality to manage – other people judging your parenting choices.
When you’re doing the best you can as a parent, any kind of judgment from others can feel next to impossible to handle. But, it does happen, and it can hurt.
So, how can you cope when people judge your parenting choices?
Start a Conversation
Often, people who have the nerve to judge how you parent are looking for some kind of reaction from you. They might not intentionally want to start a dramatic situation, but their subconscious expects it.
One of the best things you can do is to not give in to that expectation.
You might want to yell or argue or criticize what they’re saying. Instead, take a deep breath and avoid giving in to those natural instincts.
What should you do instead?
Start a conversation. The last thing that an individual probably expects is for you to want to sit down and have a lengthy conversation about their judgment. Ask them why they feel the way they do, and why their suggestion might be better. Defend your own actions and choices calmly, but firmly.
With one adult conversation, you will likely stop that particular person from ever saying anything again about your parenting choices.
Think of What’s Best for Your Child
When multiple people seem to be judging your choices, it’s easy for them to start getting “in your head”.
You might start to question yourself and believe the things others are saying.
A good rule of thumb, especially if you start to doubt yourself, is to think of your child. You know what’s best for them, and every decision you make is based on that knowledge. Other people might do things differently or make different choices. But, they don’t know your child as you do.
So, when people’s criticisms and judgments start to get to you, stop and think about your child and why you make the decisions you do for them. It will boost your confidence in those decisions… and in yourself.
Unfortunately, the action of people judging parenting choices has become so common that it’s often called “mom shaming” or “parent shaming”.
What it really is, however, is a form of bullying.
If someone else’s judgment against your parenting choices has really gotten to you, it’s okay to ignore it – and them. If you don’t feel you can have a conversation with them, that’s okay. Ignore their words. That can be hard to do if it’s someone you know or even someone you’re close to.
However, not dignifying those judgments with a response will undoubtedly make that person stop sooner, so you all can move on. Most importantly –don’t move forward with resentment or criticisms of your own. The idea is to break the cycle, not fuel it.
It’s hard to hear someone judging your parenting choices, especially when you’re doing everything you can to make the right ones.
Keep these ideas in mind for how to cope. If people’s words are still getting to you, though, it’s okay to reach out for help. Please read more about our parenting groups and feel free to contact me to set up a consultation. Your mental health, parenting, and family life needn’t suffer due to other people’s unkindness or opinion.