Even though I’ve been a mom for more than 15 years now, I’m certainly no expert on raising children. In fact, I’ve only learned two truths about parenting:
1. Someone (usually me) will find fault with the job I’m doing, and
2. Comparing my parenting style to other mothers is as ridiculous as comparing our children.
Unfortunately, a lot of mothers do just that and are quick to voice their opinions about what good parents do or don’t do.
My own list is a little different. Ever since another mother tried to belittle my skills as a parent by bragging that she never had a problem getting her children to take naps, I’ve been taking notes.
Over the years, my list of annoyances with other parents has grown quite long, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to seven of the most irritating behaviors:
1. Sharing every detail of your child’s latest illness or injury. Trust me, other parents completely understand how heartrending and scary having a sick or injured child can be, but we also know how disgusting it can be. There is no reason to vividly describe every oozing wound or gross bodily function. Making other parents nauseous won’t necessarily make us more sympathetic.
2. Reciting the long list of activities in which your children are involved, as though their worth is directly related to how busy they are. Here’s a reminder for everyone who thinks that a packed schedule is equivalent to being important – it’s NOT. Being busy simply does not equate to being more prepared to deal with life. In fact, it provides less time for kids to explore how to use their imagination or appreciate the beauty of quiet moments. Learning to be happy doing nothing is completely normal and healthy.
3. Being self-righteous when children misbehave or when teenagers rebel, especially when the children aren’t yours. I can understand being upset when our children do something wrong, and I certain believe kids should understand and pay appropriate consequences for their behavior. But I will never understand why some parents conveniently forget the poor decisions they once made while simultaneously making moral judgments about others. I’m tired of tongue clucking from parents I know were once themselves disrespectful and rude.
4. Letting everyone else know about the healthy food and meals you ensure your child eats. We all want our children to be healthy, and parents should be applauded for taking the time and energy to plan, buy and prepare balanced meals. But that doesn’t mean they are any more caring than parents who spend their time, energy and resources doing other things with their children. It also doesn’t give them a right to deliver the subtle and not so subtle looks and comments about what other parents feed their kids.
5. Acting as though your children’s accomplishments are your accomplishments. Our children are not extensions of us. They are individuals with their own minds and their own personalities. We do our best to guide them, but ultimately, they are responsible for their own behavior. And we do our best to provide them with opportunities, but ultimately they are responsible for their own achievements
6. Blaming someone else when your child fails or makes a mistakes. I’m astounded by number of parents who, when their child is struggling in school, have demanded a new teacher. That’s certainly not preparing the child for the real world, where you can’t demand a new boss if you don’t think you are being treated fairly on the job. Challenges are a part of life. Helping our children navigate those challenges, not removing them, is part of our job as parents.
7. Writing (or talking) about other parents’ annoying behaviors. Unfortunately, some of us just can’t help ourselves. I can only beg your forgiveness.