When were you the parent in the grocery store with a crying toddler? Did you feel the eyes of others watching you, judging you or deciding that they could handle your child better than you? Have you been on the receiving end of that parental judgment with a teenager who lost his way and made some powerfully scary choices no matter how hard you tried to help? Judging another parent keeps the focus "out there." It leaves you free to decide that your situation isn't really that bad and that "you're better than them." Turning Your Dreams Into Action
Here's a mirror. Take a close look in it. Every single parent makes mistakes sometimes. Every parent loses their cool sometimes, tries something that may or may not be popular and feels frustrated at the lack of support and understanding from others. Rather than focusing on something "out there" that you can feel superior to, take a moment to look in the mirror.
Try to clearly see the things you might need to implement in order to become a more effective parent to your own children. Then, the next time a celebrity or a stranger in the grocery store makes a big splash with their parenting difference, you'll be able to grin a little. Why? Because you will know the secret. Is Mental Illness The New Normal?
The secret is that you get the amazing privilege of working to be the very best parent to your own children that you possibly can be. Part of that is modeling a non-judgmental attitude toward other parents so your kids can see what that's all about. Here it is in a nutshell:
1. Parenting differences can be interesting. There is no need to judge.
2. Energy spent judging other parents can be better used to take a look at your own parenting.
3. Looking in the mirror is sometimes tough. Do it anyway. If you see something you don't like, get some help to get better.
4. Feeling judged by other parents? Let it go and offer your understanding to them instead.
When was the last time you felt the sting of another parent's judgment of you? Next time you're tempted to say, "I would never do that," take a look at your own parenting skills, then see how you can grow and offer support instead.
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