Playing the Blame Game

Too many parents are being interrogated and blamed for their parenting when they’re trying to do the right thing. This needs to stop.

3 Things I’ve Read Recently

1. Many parents say they feel hurt when others criticize their parenting.1
2. When a parent blames and shames another parent, the parent on the receiving end feels inadequate.2
3. “It’s always easier to solve someone else’s problems than one’s own,” says psychologist Mona Spiegel.3

Here’s My Take on It:

The other day I received a scathing e-mail from another parent, criticizing me for how I was raising one of my teenagers. The e-mail stung. It felt like a snakebite, with a piercing blow followed by a lingering venom that zapped my energy. I had two initial reactions: strike back or run away. Instead, I reminded myself that I was being the best parent that I could be and that this other parent was probably deeply wounded and saw me as an easy target. Still, the words of the e-mail hurt, and it caused me to stop and doubt myself.

I called a close friend to talk about it. She reminded me that we live in a contentious society. We argue about politics. We fight about religion. It’s not surprising that parents attack other parents. That’s a tragic, sad truth about our society today. In fact, there’s a whole website about how to handle critical parents called Isn’t parenting hard enough without other people harshly judging us? Shouldn’t we be focusing our energy on parenting our own kids—instead of other kids?

Yes, all kids are our kids, but expressing a concern about a child is different than reprimanding a parent. Yes, we may have different philosophies about parenting, but if we’re doing our best to love and raise our kids the best we can, we should be supporting each other, not cutting each other down.

Talk Further

Ask your partner or other adult: “What can we do when other parents harshly judge our parenting?”

Explore Further

Are some parents blaming other parents too much? What do you think? Share your comments below.

1. Liz Szabo, “Why Do Mothers Judge One Another and Their Parenting?USA Today, May 25, 2010.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.

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