Judgement is a big deal. There are innumerable posts about it in the blogosphere. It is found in every aspect of living, but parents seem to feel it very keenly.
I have judged. I have judged harshly. Then as I had more experiences and witnessed more of other people's realities, I found the basis of my judgements became ever more shaky. Finally, it occurred to me that I can't really make any kind of firm judgement on the how's or why's of other people's parenting choices (or other life choices) with any kind of certainty - it is a true waste of my time and energy. What's more, judging never, ever helps the other person - or their child. So, if judging doesn't even help the child, what's the point of judging? There is no point.
In the end the only circumstance I can have any opinion on is my own. Even then I find my opinions shift as I understand more about myself and my children. So, even judging myself is a waste of my time and energy.
If I say to you any of the following;
- I breastfed three of my children to four and half years of age.
- I breastfed one of my children to two and half years of age.
- I co-slept with three of my children.
- I home schooled my first two children to the ages of 7.5 and 5.5.
- I have never used childcare.
- I used cloth nappies part time for two of my children and full time for one of them.
- I don't vaccinate my children.
- I parent my children to sleep - whatever form that takes; breastfeeding, cuddling, rocking, laying with them, until they reach a stage where they can put themselves to sleep without distress.
- I carried all of my children in various baby carriers, slings, wraps and backpacks, two of them until they were over three.
- I only just got my twelve year old his first games console this year.
- I don't pay regular pocket money for contributing to household cleanliness because I expect that to be contributed freely.
- I send my children to public school, by choice.
- I've let my older two take themselves to the park and shops, and ride on public transport alone since they were ten and eight.
Or a myriad of other choices, many of which are not mainstream, know this: it doesn't bother me if you make different choices for you children.
If you feel compelled to tell me why you parent differently, feel free to do so, but don't do it out of a fear of being judged by me. I assure you I don't consider your parenting choices to be any of my business. If you are hoping to influence my choices, then let me also assure you, you won't - because the only people who influence my parenting choices are my children.
The judgement has to stop. It's like a cancer in our society, eating away at all that can be good and supportive. When people expect judgement they are more inclined to shut themselves off from others. That is how parents become isolated. When parents are isolated, so are their children to some degree. For the sake of the children, the judgement and the fear of judgement has to stop. Please don't feel you have to justify or explain your parenting choices to me, you really don't.