When your kids are really young, you are always looking for advice from fellow parents. Playgroup gatherings are perfect opportunities to ask other moms about sleep issues, potty training, and temper tantrum strategies.
As our kids grow older, and we become more comfortable with our parenting abilities, our circle of personal trusted advisors shrinks a bit, and we tend to rely more on our gut instincts for nurturing and guiding our children.
But unlike our own parents just one generation ago, we have social media to utilize as an additional parenting tool. Got a burning question? Hop online, ask away, and within minutes you may have hundreds of commenters from around the world “helping” you with your problem.
For better or worse, our technology has created spaces for us all to dispense advice and judgement on others’ parenting decisions. It’s how we have arrived at this age of Label Parenting – Helicopter Parents, Tiger Moms, and Free-Range Parents, are just a few we’ve all become familiar with.
Social media platforms have made it so enticing and easy to throw out our opinions and observations, that this “generosity” seems to have encroached widely into our personal relationships in the form of unsolicited parenting assistance.
It’s one thing for a parent to go online and seek out other suggestions and options for a parenting issue they are struggling with. In that case, one must be open to receiving all sorts of feedback, positive, negative, and possibly hurtful.
It’s another thing to be in a conversation with a friend who reacts swiftly and negatively to a passing comment you have voiced concerning a choice you’ve made as a parent.
Because if there’s any one thing a mother knows with absolute certainty, it’s that each child is unique and needs to be parented in the manner that works best for them and their temperament.
Whether you are the parent of one child, or of five, you know that your kids’ needs can change by the day, and sometimes by the hour. In one particular area, you can feel that you need to push your child a little harder, but in another sphere, your heart tells you to ease off and take a milder approach.
It’s so easy to watch another parent make a choice for their child that is different from yours, and to decide they are doing it wrong. And it’s become very easy to apply a label to those choices, not knowing the unique situation someone else is in.
However, it is also simple to make the conscious decision to adopt a No Comment approach in our personal relationships with other parents. Unless we are asked outright for our opinion or guidance on what someone else may be grappling with, we can choose to keep our opinions to ourselves.
The internet has more than enough keyboard warriors to provide us all with aggressive labels and inflammatory comments, should we choose to seek them out.
In our personal relationships, let us strive for empathy and understanding. Sometimes no comment is the best choice. Parenting kids of any age is hard.
Choosing kindness is easy.