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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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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