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I was in the waiting room with my son for almost two hours. The doctor was very busy that day and it seemed that we still needed to wait for a while. I wasn’t expecting this so I had no snacks with me and the only toy we had was a little car. My son was tired and hungry and it was clear to me that his patience was about to end.
And I was right! He started to move on the chair making a horrible noise. I asked him to stop but soon he did it again. And again.
A woman from across the room was insistently looking at us. When Bogdan moved the fourth time on the chair making that same unpleasant noise, I told him that I cannot let him do this again. So I took him in my arms, on my chair. Unfortunately, this didn’t work.
He started to protest and soon went into a meltdown. We went outside to calm down.
After a while, we returned to the waiting room. He was holding my hand, quiet and sleepy. I was so relieved! I took him in my arms and told him that I understand how difficult it is for him to wait so long. I told him that as soon as we finish there, we will go home to eat, cuddle, and have a nap.
It all seemed okay again until the woman from across the room started lecturing me. With no obvious reason! She told me that I shouldn’t “reward” him and be gentle with him after he misbehaved. That I should punish him or at least give him a time-out. I was speechless. When she finished with all the advice, I told her that I want to raise my child in a respectful way and this is how I handle things. This only seemed to make her angrier.
She told me that I was totally wrong, that my son will never listen to me, that he will become a bad kid.
After two hours of waiting, with a fussy child in my arms, this was the last thing that I wanted to hear. We were lucky enough to be called into the doctor’s office soon so the discussion ended quickly.
But on my way home I couldn’t help thinking about what happened. Why do people feel the need to judge and criticize a mom? I wasn’t doing anything wrong to my son, I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was just trying to make my tired and overwhelmed young child feel better.
Over the last three years, I’ve heard a lot of people telling me how I should raise my child. People doubting my way of raising him. People “warning” me that gentle parenting isn’t working.
To those who judge the way I raise my child I would only say one thing: Please stop! Unless I am asking for your opinion, I really don’t want to hear it!
I know that I sometimes make mistakes. Every parent does! I am far from being a perfect mother. I struggle with a lot of things and I try to learn each day to be a better mom.photo credit: Julia Luzgareva / shutterstock.com
But I truly believe in the power of gentle and respectful parenting. And no one will change my mind about this! So please, please stop telling me how I should raise my child!
You said that I shouldn’t hug my baby anytime he cries because he will get spoiled and will always ask to be held. I held him anyway and now he is a very independent young boy.
You said that I shouldn’t breastfeed my toddler because he will never stop if I don’t put a firm end to it. I did it anyway and we had a gentle self-weaning.
You said that I should punish him everytime he makes a mistake because otherwise, he will never respect me. Still, he is now 3 and a half years old, he was never punished and he is a gentle boy who listens to us (most of the time 🙂 )
You said that if we don’t put him in a time-out after every misbehavior he will become defiant and we will totally lose “control” as parents. We used time-in and gentle explanations instead and nothing bad happened! We have a perfectly normal child. Yes, he misbehaves sometimes, as every child does. But he is not defiant and he does his best to manage his emotions when he feels overwhelmed.
Instead, you could ask if you could help them. Because motherhood is very hard sometimes! No mom wants to see her child having a meltdown in the supermarket. Or misbehaving in the park. Or screaming in the middle of the street. But it happens!
And instead of giving advice and making the situation more difficult, you could just move on. If you have nothing kind to say, please just don’t say anything!
If we need some advice, be sure that we will ask for it. Otherwise, we just don’t need it!
In time, I have become “immune” to these unsolicited opinions. They don’t hurt me anymore. But when I was a new mom and I had a lot of uncertainties, they really hurt me. And they made me question if I am a good mom. I don’t want this to happen to any other mom!
Sometimes, I also see parenting approaches that are not similar to the ones I believe in. But I would never judge or shame a mom just because we have different opinions! In the end, no one knows the perfect way to raise a child. And as long as we do our best in trying to be good parents, no one has the right to judge us!
photo credit preview photo: Alena Ozerova / shutterstock.com