Stop Shaming Parental Mistakes

Stop Shaming Parental Mistakes

Does social media bring us together or does it divide us based on our mistakes?
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If you are a young parent in today’s society, you are probably into the local parenting scene like I am. You might be plugged into different parenting circles such as popular parenting sites, Facebook groups and you might even pick up your local magazine such as the Nashville Parent. If you fit into any of those circles, you have probably witness a lot of tragic and senseless accidents since becoming a parent. Sometimes these aren’t even senseless accidents, just different ways of parenting that you don’t personally agree with. I am one of those parents, I make mistakes, but I also judge others for theirs. For that I am sorry.

One of the most recent accidents I can think of is the alligator at a Disneyland resort. Now, I don’t personally know the whole story, only the side that is being told. I will never pretend to know it all, but I did judge. To me, I thought it was common sense not to swim in water in Florida. I have been to Florida at least seven times that I can remember. I’m from Tennessee, only a few states away so the Florida life is pretty familiar to me. The little boy’s family is from Nebraska. While I might think it’s common sense to not get into water in Florida, this family probably knows a lot that I don’t know about Nebraska. For instance, I bet they can drive in snow better than me because I never deal with it. Shame on me and every person for judging them for letting their child play in the water at the place where all his dreams were supposed to come true. They’ve lost a son, isn’t that enough?

The next incident that I recall, is the little boy falling into the gorilla pit. This is yet again, another accident where I judged the parents. I am not making excuses for his parents. I still believe that there was major negligence involved in, not only the parents, but the people around them. If I recall correctly, there was a family who saw the child crawling on the other side of the fence. If that had been me in that zoo, regardless of who was with me, I would have gotten that child back on the other side of the fence. Again, I don’t know the whole story, just what sides are being told. Luckily this little boy survived and I bet a lot of families have learned from this. Our family did and we are now the proud owners of two backpack leashes that came in handy at big events like the CMA Fest.

Another incident that comes to mind is the father who left his son in his car seat for eight while he went to work. Again I judged. There are all kinds of information coming out of the woodwork about the father, most of which doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that he left his child in a car seat in the middle of summer. I don’t understand how you forget a child in a car seat. My kids are almost never quiet, so it would be next to impossible for me to forget that either of them are in the car. But the fact still remains that I only know what is being told, never the whole story.

The truth is that none of this parenting stuff is new. It’s been happening for centuries. Parents have been making mistakes since the dawn of time. I have been making mistakes since our first child was born. In fact, our oldest child rolled off the couch onto hardwood floor when she was only two weeks old. Thankfully nothing bad happened, never even a bruise, but she still rolled off the couch. Just because you don’t come forward with your parenting mistakes doesn’t mean you’re any better or worse of a parent that the ones who are the spotlight for their mistakes. The only difference is that social media picked up their mistakes and went viral.

They weren’t the first parents to let their child play in alligator infested waters. They weren’t the first parents who let their child fall into a gorilla pit. And he wasn’t the first parent to leave his child in a car seat for eight hours. We have become a society of shamers who with a blink of an eye will type up a judgment onto social media for all to read. The biggest problem is that because we see it within minutes of happening, we are disconnected from parents that it is happening to and suddenly think we're experts. We don’t sympathize with them because we immediately think it won’t happen to us or our children.

What happened to our village? When I said that none of this parenting stuff is new, I meant it, but our village hasn’t always been the same. Twenty years ago, we would have cried with the family from Nebraska who lost their son to an alligator. We would have prayed to God that the little boy made it out of the gorilla pit and thanked the workers who got him out. We would have sympathized with the father who lost his child because he forgot about him. We aren’t a village. While we are more socially connected through social media and technology, we have never been more divided as parents than we are now. Quit shaming others for their mistakes. You never know when you’ll go viral because of yours.

Cover Image Credit: OWTK

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes Over Time, Here's Why

Four ways in which your relationship with your parents change from age eighteen to twenty-two.

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Over spring break I had time to think about all the different ways in which my relationship with my parents has changed throughout college. We've definitely had our ups and downs, but as graduation grows closer, I take time to note how far we have come. From freshman to senior year of college I have undergone a drastic change in how I appreciate my parents.

At eighteen, I wanted to get as far away from my parents as possible. I was going to college in order to be independent, study, and hopefully make a career for myself. Nothing could stop me and no one could give me advice. I was stubborn and hungry to explore the new life that awaited me. I didn't realize how hard it would be being on my own for the first time ever. I had never even been to camp let alone moved to a different state not knowing a single soul. I was happy for the new opportunities but quickly realized how much I had been sheltered. Initially, I resented my parents for my little life experience going into college but as the years have passed I realized I can't be so immature to put my lack of knowledge on them. As an adult I now make things work and advocate for myself. Your struggles as an individual humble you so you can come back together better and stronger than before.

Here are some ways in which the relationship between you and your parents change:

1. You don't live together 24/7, so you appreciate time spent with them.

When you're not sharing a space with your parents and they are not there to nag at you about chores, you finally get to know them as people. As an adult yourself you begin to relate to them in ways that weren't possible in childhood.

2. You realize what is worth fighting over and what is not.

You have learned how to live on your own and set boundaries. As an adult, you come back home knowing what can be improved upon within the relationship and what are things you can let go.

3. You have experience with adulthood now and can understand how really great they are.

Adult struggles are real and now as someone older and wiser, you have experienced a great many. You then begin to realize how your parents took on all these responsibilities plus the responsibility of raising/providing for you. You don't know how they did it, but suddenly you're mad at sixteen-year-old you who fought them on everything.

4. They are your biggest support system in wanting you to achieve your dreams.

There is no one quite as invested in your dreams like your parents. When you have no one to turn to and nothing to give you that extra boost of motivation, parents are there. They may not be perfect but they love you more than anyone so call your parents.

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