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Parenting...The Most Difficult Job Ever

     Parenting, the job that is all consuming, the job that requires patience, trust, responsibility, unlimited support, and unconditional love. So why is it that people are so quick to judge other’s parenting styles and children? Why do people, often individuals who don’t even have kids of their own, feel the need to judge so harshly and offer unwanted advice? So parents, this one’s for you, a no holds bar look at parenting in today’s society, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

     As a parent, do you ever feel like nothing you do is ever correct, damned if you do, damned if you don’t? If you discipline your kids with any type of physical act (the dreaded S word..Spanking) you are deemed abusive. If you don’t discipline your kids, you’re looked at as contributing to the trend of disrespectful, entitled children. Where is the middle ground? Is taking away privileges the way to go, or positive reinforcement? What we do know is this, EVERY child is different, every child responds to punishments differently. There is no one size fits all approach to discipline, so can’t people just relax and let people do what they think is best for their children. Now obviously there are limits, were not condoning any type of abusive behaviour towards children. What we are saying is you may choose one way to discipline your child that is very different to someone else, what makes your way better, how can one justify judging when there is no clear cut answer?

     Have you ever seen a struggling mom out in public, kids screaming, throwing tantrums, mom feeling humiliated and defeated. We have seen this many times, but what we do not do, is sit and gossip about how she must not be raising those kids right, and if we were them, we would have control of those kids. Have you ever heard people talk like this, have YOU ever talked like this? This is what’s wrong in today’s society, people are so quick to pass judgement and make assumptions about other people’s lives. How about we step up and help those mom’s or offer them words of encouragement? Often these small acts of kindness are what help’s people through the difficult times. Wouldn’t things be different if we acted out of compassion and kindness? We certainly think they would.  

     Parent shaming is all too real, but let’s be really honest, our guess is the one’s doing the judging are the ones who have the most going on themselves. It’s easy to point out other’s parenting flaws and children’ negative behaviour when you’re trying to make your own life seem not so bad.  This goes back to the old saying; those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. We are not saying this to be rude, we are saying this because all too often, the people struggling are the ones making the comments, a way of building themselves up while tearing someone else down.

     So that said, what can be done? Parents, do not be afraid to ask for help and guidance; do not be afraid to admit defeat. We all hit this point at times and we need to be able to lean on each other for the support we need. Admitting that one needs help with their children should not be looked at in a negative way or stigmatized. It should be encouraged! It truly does take a village to raise a child and we should embrace this more in today’s society. You are not a bad parent if your child acts out, you are not a bad parent because you child gives attitude and talks back; you are not a bad parent if your child makes a bad decision. Parenting is tough, there is no manual to fall back on, we often learn as we go and simply do the best we can with what we have, and that’s ok! So please stop being so hard on yourselves, please stop judging and making assumptions about other people’s lives. Take on a new approach and watch your life change for the better and the people around you!

     And always remember, parenting truly is the hardest job ever! Give yourself credit and hang in there, it’s so worth it!

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Red Deer, Alberta T4N 4L9

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