No matter how often we say, “I do not judge,” we cannot truly avoid it. Why? Because everyone does it. Everyone judges, everyone observes the world around them and passes judgment on events, beliefs, practices, and chooses to agree with them or not to. It is right for us as parents to understand how we want to raise our children and often that means taking into account practices that others do and deciding if those practices are right for us. In doing so, we judge.
But when does judgment become harmful? When does judgment become a problem? When are we causing harm rather then making a decision about our own lives?
When we feel a need to say something. When we decide to give unsolicited advice we are passing judgment and making an assumption that our opinions matter to that person. Often times causing more harm to the person we are meaning to help (or at least I hope there is well meaning intentions behind your advice).
As a mom I have definitely dealt with my fair share of judgment and I admit it I have passed my fair share of judgment as well but I do not give unsolicited advice. I may see others that have done things, parenting choices, lack of parenting choices, that I do not agree with but my opinion does not matter in others lives. I wish others realized that before they gave me their unsolicited advice.
How do I feel after given unsolicited advice or judgment?
I feel hurt. When it’s implied that my daughter is not smart due to her speech delay and I must be doing something wrong, I am hurt. When I am thought to have a stick up my ass because I refuse to let my children around others smoking, I am hurt. When it is thought that I purposefully keep my children from people, yet I do not see them trying to be apart of our lives, I am hurt.
So how do I remain positive?
It is hard in everyday life to remain positive. I do believe I have found it easier since starting my own family. Why is it easier now? Because I have enough with my own life to worry about others. I have really started to take this in to account. I remind myself I do not have time for negative. I do not have time for judgment or others unsolicited advice. I only have time for myself, my husband, and my children. Doing what we need, living how we need to live, and doing what is right for us. I cannot say the negative doesn’t still get in, it definitely does, but it has been so much easier for me to ignore the negativity in others by focusing on what truly matters. My family.
So how should we deal with judgment?
Consider at first if it is valid.
No matter how much unsolicited advice is annoying, painful, and at times downright obnoxious, sometimes it can be helpful and valid. Do not be automatically closed off to the advice if it may mean you actually do need to make a change.
Be polite. It’s never right to be downright rude to other people, especially if they are well-meaning, most of the time the well-meaning people are the hardest to ignore. I often politely listen, or I admit, sometimes I’m just acting like I’m listening. Then I just do not take their advice. What I find hardest to ignore is the looks of judgment. The side-eye in the store, or sly comments that have underlining meaning, I may make a comment back. Yet still not rude but definitely getting a point across that their comment is unappreciated and unnecessary.
What do you find is the hardest type of judgment to ignore? Who has passed judgment on your parenting that has hurt you the most? How do you ignore and move on? I’d love to hear from you.