June 25, 2018

It's Okay To Judge Bad Parenting

It's Okay To Judge Bad Parenting
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Disclosure: This is an opinion post.

"You should never judge anyone's parenting decisions." - I have been hearing and seeing this a lot now that I am a parent, and it seems almost everyone agrees with this statement, but as someone who was raised with what most would consider a bad parenting style, I have to disagree. 

  • Some parents beat their children and think that is an acceptable parenting method. 
  • Some parents cuss, yell, scream at their children and think that is an acceptable parenting method.
  • Some parents do everything for their child and never give them a chance to learn on their own and think this is an okay parenting method.
  • Some parents let their children do whatever they want and think this is an okay parenting method. 

See where I'm going with this? Most of the things I listed are what the majority would call bad parenting styles. If saying someone's method is "bad" is judging them, then yes, I judge because there are bad methods. Not all methods are good. Not all parenting is good.

I think a lot of people struggle with this because when someone disagrees with your parenting decision, you feel attacked and take it personally, rather than as a chance to learn and grow. Plus the parents are most likely sharing what punishment they used in order to validate that what they did to their child was okay, so when they get backlash, it just makes them feel worse. I also think those who do point out the bad parenting method, don't always do so in the nicest way, and you can't really give advice to someone who isn't looking for it. 

It also doesn't help that we often don't have the full story, but I question whether that is necessary in some cases. If you see a mom hitting her kid, do you really need to know why she is doing it to consider it bad parenting? Isn't hitting bad in general? Or you see a dad shouting cuss words at his child. Do you really need the whole story before considering that bad parenting?

I do believe all children are different and need different approaches, but shouldn't that be more of a reason to be more open to receiving advice from others, especially when we know the method we are using is on the extreme side, "a last resort" option? 

I commonly hear "I tried everything else and it didn't work." When the truth is you tried everything you knew before turning to the extreme. You didn't seek outside opinions first or look for other methods elsewhere. We often turn to the methods that were used on us, which aren't always the best. As a society with so many depressed adults, we should have already realized by now that past parenting styles weren't the greatest.

So when I see a mom screaming at her kid in the grocery store, I am going to judge. I am going to judge her actions. I get children are difficult and I understand the mom is just having a bad day. She is probably a good mom, but she made a bad parenting decision. I know nothing I say will help and I so long to give the child a hug and tell them it's okay as I was that child once. Adults have the worst tantrums if you ask me.

I get we aren't perfect. I sometimes slip up and yell at my daughter. I regret it afterward and apologize right away. That doesn't make me a bad mom, but I am not afraid to admit I made a bad decision, that I used a bad parenting method, that I could have chosen a better option. 

I think saying there is no such thing as bad parenting is harmful. It justifies a person's poor parenting decision. It makes them think, "hey this method is okay because there is no such thing as bad parenting," and unfortunately, this can potentially lead to harming your child either physically or emotionally. 

Now I'm not saying to go out there and attack others for their bad parenting decisions. You can't give someone advice unless they ask for it. However, if someone does come to you and decides to open up or "brag" about their decision, then I feel you can at least say you didn't agree and why.

With the internet, so many narcissists post about how proud they are that they punished their kid and post it to the world to see, and I will always comment on those to let them know that what they did could have potentially harmed their child. They may not be asking for advice (they are more likely seeking validation), but if it's a public post I feel it is free to post your opinion. A lot of people will be reading the comments, so I like to think I may have caught the attention of a reader and spared some children from harm.

That being said, you should never brag about punishing your child on social media. This is publicly shaming them, which is a form of bullying. It is basically talking about someone behind their back. 

I believe the majority of us are good parents, we just sometimes make bad decisions, and we need to be able to own up to our own bad parenting so we can look for gentler and better methods. If we want a world with less depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc, then we need to aim to be better than our parents. We should aim for better than "fine" for our children.


What are your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments!


Fatherly also did a post for the 7 times they believed it was okay to judge parents. While I agree with their points, I don't think you should ever judge the person. Let's focus more so on the decision. There are no bad people, just people who made bad decisions.

25 comments:

  1. I am honestly piqued at parents who do not do anything about their children's bad behavior. They even excuse it as "child's" play" and that they will outgrow it. What is our purpose as parents but to guide our children to the right direction, aside from of course, loving, nurturing, and providing for them?

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  2. I agree. I believe there are a lot of parenting decisions we should stop judging each other on (breast vs. bottle, etc.) seriously, moms can be so cruel to each other. Buuuuuuuut, there's a line... There's seriously some monumentally bad decisions that affect the rest of us too that can't go unjudged.

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  3. I definitely don’t condone screaming or man handling a child, but I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t parent or judge another parents method. Unless of course that child is being emotionally or physically abused. Some kids look like they are getting away with everything, but the parents may just be practicing a different style than yours. I don’t think it’s fair to judge other parents, and call them out. I completely understand your point of view, I just don’t agree with it per say. I have 2 autistic children and have been told many times how to parent with more discipline or less, it you never really know what is going on.

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    1. I said in my post that my point isn't to call them out. It's to recognize that bad parenting exists and it's okay to judge from afar. However if the decide to post online, making what they did public, then I believe it is okay to share your opinion as they shouldn't be publicly shaming their kid in the first place.

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  4. Every child is different yes and so are every parent. We may not know what causes a child or parent is going through so judging without knowing the full story is not our place.

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    1. I'm not sure if you read my post before commenting, as you'll see I mention that sometimes the full story isn't necessary. If you see a mom hitting her kid or swearing at her kid, then it's okay to judge because those actions are never okay no matter what the child did. Basically, the adult is having a tantrum.

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  5. Every child is different aabd requires different parenting methods. Parenting is hard there no right way to do. It’s whatever way works for you and your child.

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    1. I don't think you read my post. Yes parenting styles are different, but there are some things that aren't okay period, such as screaming at a child or hitting a child.

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    2. I did read your article. I’m sorry my comment made you think I didn’t. And no hitting or yelling at your child isn’t okay. What I meant behind my comment was that regardless of other people point of view on your parenting skills shouldn’t effect you. That’s where doing what’s best for your family and your child comes into play. But any form of child abuse is out of the question.

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  6. I agree with this completely. I think the problem lies in the fact that so many moms want to shame other moms for making different choices, that truly bad parenting is excused in an attempt to not be judgmental.

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  7. I completely agree. While I agree you shouldn't judge parenting, there are boundaries like the ones you mentioned. Every child is different, but yelling and hitting should never be an option. That also includes any decision that might hurt your child.

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  8. This was a very interesting read! I agree that those extreme parenting styles should be pointed out and hopefully corrected. I feel bad for the children who's parents abuse them.

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  9. This was a very interesting read! I agree that those extreme parenting styles should be pointed out and hopefully corrected. I feel bad for the children who's parents abuse them.

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  10. This was an interesting read and a controversial topic. I strongly believe parents(ALL) sometimes do make bad decisions, no doubt. I would have loved to see your suggestions on how you think parents should react to the situations you mentioned above. I don't believe in hitting or cursing my kid to cause him harm, but I won't hesitate to caution him in the best way I can when I see him doing wrong. If my parenting style is going to get judged because someone feels indifferent then by all means. Don't we all wish there is a one size fit all manual for parenting? I know I do.

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    1. I highly recommend reading No Drama Discipline if you are looking for gentler parenting methods where the aim isn't too punish, but to teach so the child learns. I agree there are different parenting styles, that's totally okay, not one size fits all, but there are definitely methods that are just plain bad and have been proven to be over and over again, such as spanking. I'm no trying to give people a free pass to judge little things, but things that have been proven to be abusive.

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  11. I needed to thank you for this phenomenal read!! I unquestionably adored each and every piece of it. I have you bookmarked your site to look at the new stuff you post. baby headphones

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  12. I agree! I do not see the point of correcting the child and then posting about it on social media afterwards. Especially if the approach is wrong and the primary intention is to just brag.

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  13. There is so much out there that could be considered "bad parenting". There are the obvious ones such as child abuse or neglect, but so many other things are just a difference of opinion.

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    1. Different styles is totally okay. I do believe there are many different ways to raise a kid. There are many good methods, but there are also bad methods, so I think it's important we recognize that yes, there are many great ways to raise a kid, but there are also some bad ones and those are the ones we shouldn't feel bad about judging.

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  14. It was interesting to read your point of view on this I can see where you are coming from with this and you make some really good points indeed!

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  15. i love that you addressed this topic, i always find it intriguing to look at different views and perspective, it makes you understand and learn more about the human mind.

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  16. Oh this is such a tough one! And we are so hard on ourselves, too. It's hard to know what to do in every situation as a parent.

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  17. This was an interesting read. Judging should never occur, no matter what. In the instances you mentioned above, judging would accomplish nothing. Abuse of a child is never okay, whether that be physical or emotional. Judging from afar is pointless, instead go talk to that mama. Maybe she is having a bad day and isn't realizing she needs to take a break. You be that break. It starts to become difficult to distinguish abuse from "bad parenting". A person who practices gentle parenting might think that spanking is bad parenting while a parent who is authoritative might think that gentle parenting is bad. I totally get your point. No one wants to be accused of being judgmental so out of fear, we say and do nothing. It's a difficult topic and I'm glad you brought this to light.

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    1. I find your comment confusing as you start out saying we shouldn't judge, but then you end with because we don't want to be accused of judging, we don't do anything out of fear? The moment someone hits their child or scream at their child and you think it's wrong, that is judgement, and that's okay. It's okay to judge bad parenting and that was the point I was trying to get across.

      Spanking has been proven to be a bad method by many studies and 52 countries have already banned the abusive practice. I was spanked as a kid and suffer anxiety now as an adult. So when I see a parent spank their kid, of course I am going to judge their actions, but I can't do anything because America still thinks this archaic practice is okay.

      Intervening would likely only make the situation worse, so I really don't recommend that. The parent will blame their kid for making a scene, or worse the anger would be directed at you. Also in America, it's not very clear what child abuse is, so many adults have mental health issues to this day because of their childhood. It's not always physical abuse, but emotional abuse, something I also suffered from growing up.

      The main goal of this post was just say it's okay to judge. I don't agree that judging from afar does nothing, it does something, and that is that you recognize when something is bad. It's so important for us to recognize bad parenting so we can be better parents, so we can talk to others about what we witnessed and teach them that this is bad. It may not help that parent and child, but you may be helping others.

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  18. Definitely needed this today!!! Thank you for posting and allowing us to know more about parenting.

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