Have you been following along in my 3 part series about judging other parents. My first post was titled, “Moms, Stop Judging Other Moms.” My second post was, “10 Ways We Need to Stop Judging other Parents.” We are on to my third post, “How to Stop Judging Other Parents.” It is a good thing to equip people with what they should do rather than keep the focus on what not to do.
Enough About What Not to Do. What do we do?
GIVE ADVICE WHEN ASKED. If not asked, humbly ask, “Do you want to know what is working for us right now?” Acknowledge that each kid is different and what works for you may not work for them, but it is worth a try. You might have great ideas, experiences and knowledge, but people respond better when they actually ask for your opinion. “What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!” – Proverbs 18:13
When in doubt, ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t ask in an accusatory way or with an ulterior motive. Ask them about what they are experiencing in daily life while parenting their particular children. Listen. Ask what they have read or the research they have done. Ask them about what is working or not working for them. Ask them what you can do to help. Listen. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speakand slow to become angry…” – James 1:19
Some instructions God gives us directly in the Bible. If you are in a loving, trusted relationship with someone it is absolutely appropriate to SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE. Those things should be grounded in scripture. Many of the things we are talking about in parenting aren’t black and white in scripture. What sleep method do you do? How do you get your kids to eat a well balanced meal? How should I handle my child when they have stuffed the toilet full of a whole roll of toilet paper? There are general principals, yes, but I believe those will be played out in a variety of homes in a variety of ways. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16
Do you have a method that is working for you? MODEL IT. People are watching. All that some people need is a good example on how to do things that work. You will earn the right to speak into their lives as they observe what you do. Often, people learn more from watching then being told. Let others see your methods in action. Some parents have very limited role models and were never given the appropriate tools to do this job. The village concept has been lost in current culture. As we become parents, we model much of our choices after the ways we were raised. Unfortunately, those may not have been positive. When I ask my parents how they responded in certain situations, they even forget what exactly they did. I remember a handful of things, but what I really remember the most was the overall atmosphere in my home. It can be incredibly encouraging and powerful to journey through parenting in a community. Find your own village, and observe and listen well. Then, intentionally be around other people who might need you to be a role model for parenting. “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity…” – Titus 2:7
The final tip is to INVEST IN PEOPLE. Do you observe that some people need parenting help? Invest in a relationship with them them. I have no idea what I would do without our parents as well as our mentors, the Pritchards, on parenting 911 speed dial. These people have invested in me and my kids. If you want to have a voice, love people well and let them turn to you for advice and guidance. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
DON’T LET YOUR INSECURITIES MAKE YOU READ INTO WHAT OTHERS ARE NOT SAYING – Sometimes people aren’t judging you at all. You might read into a look, a word or a tone that might not even be there. You are the one who can allow people to make you feel bad about your decisions. People might be judging you. That’s their problem. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
When you feel “judged”, it’s worth doing a gut check. Are you taking offense because someone is legitimately looking down on you because of a choice that doesn’t have a black and white answer? Or is there a deeper issue? Maybe someone’s well meaning concern or questions don’t sit well with you because you are insecure or wrestling with a decision. Maybe you don’t like the light it’s shining on your insecurity and you’re not really to deal with it yet. Taking it a spiritual step further, maybe what you’re really feeling is conviction from The Lord, and it’s easier to shrug it off as someone “judging” than really working out the issue with The Lord.
Whatever the case, take a moment to take a step back any time you are feeling judged for some honest reflection. And if you’re in a relationship with the person you are feeling judged by, please ask!