To judge or not to judge…..


Being a parent is really difficult at times. There are so many people who have their opinions and you can be swayed so much by what others think. Being the parent you believe you should be and especially what your children need is SO important but very elusive, kind of like the scarlet pimpernel – you seek it here, you seek it there, you seek it everywhere – but can you find it? – that special ingredient that will enable you to just be yourself?

What is it that makes the way you parent unique and the right way to parent your children? You may be able to write a list right now – compassionate, boundaried, fun, calm, engaging – lots of things that make you and your child the perfect match. And you are! You may feel sometimes that you’re not, that you don’t know how to deal with your children, that everyone else has the answers and not you BUT you are their parent.

Of course I’m not talking here about being blinkered and narrow minded – believing that you have all the answers and that your way is the only way. Of course there are times to ask for help, times to learn from others and change the way you do things if it’s not working.  What I am talking about though is that nagging feeling of guilt when others say how much fruit their kids eat. When you see other families playing joyfully in the park and you struggle to get yours to play together for 5 minutes. That feeling of not matching up, not being good enough for your kids can be debilitating to say the least!

I often wonder also what makes people feel they can pass judgement on how others parent their children?! We all do it to one degree or another and I guess it makes us feel better about our own inadequacies if we can pick on other peoples. We all have different values and beliefs on how children should be brought up – maybe from your own upbringing or in deed opposite to what you experienced, Of course times have changed as well – even in my short 40 years of life things have changed unrecognisably. When I was young you would go out all day with your friends playing in others houses, the street or the nearby woods, only coming back when hungry. Now my kids have to be taken everywhere, closely supervised and entertained.

These ramblings this week come from some struggles in my own life with navigating through the parenting journey I am on. I love my kids and want to do the best for them and I am realising that above all I want to help them to grow up guilt free, able to make their own decisions and be in control of their own lives – without feeling pressured by others. My parents were (and still are) wonderful and wise. They knew the things to let me find out for myself and the things to shield me from. I am forever grateful for the freedom and independence they gave me that now means it’s easier for me to take responsibility for my decisons, my failures and my successes.

‘I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying’. Tom Hopkins

So whatever others feel of my parenting choices and decisions I know I will fail many times and succeed many times – BUT above all I will keep trying to do the things I feel are right for my children. They have experienced so much in their short lives – they deserve to have the best I can give them, and hopefully something of what I experienced from my parents will rub off on them!

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