Parenting Random Ramblings

Has Social Media Turned Us Into Judgy Parents?

OK, so if you read the title, and thought ‘I was always judgy’ then yeah, social media hasn’t affected you. I just have a feeling that with the huge surge in blogging and social media, otherwise non-judgemental folk might be morphing into judgy monster parents.

Parenting is a huge deal, of course it is. There’s nothing more precious than our children and we all want to do our very best by them. So we look around and we try various methods, accept advice, bring up our children.

That should be the end of the story, right? Nope. Because it seems not everyone has an each to their own attitude, and I think sharing so much these days exacerbates that.

Back in the days when I was little, well, even just a few years ago I guess, much of what we did with our children was behind closed doors and in places that no-one could see. People would still have had their views on how best to bring their kids up, of course, but they weren’t being constantly told or shown what other people were doing.

Instagram shows us so much with the glimpses into every day life (or not ‘real’ every day life, as the case may be). A blog post or a Facebook update gives us an insight into people’s parenting, or a full-on in your face rant about it. So now we know what she’s doing, is it what I’m doing? Do I like that she does that? Oh no, I can’t believe she does that.

Everything is out there for all to see. And I think that when that happens, there are always going to be people who have to comment and judge.

You’re not actually bottle feeding are you? Please tell me your daughter doesn’t have a dummy? You co-sleep? You let them cry it out? You don’t? You put your child in a pushchair? You wear your baby? You send them to nursery at how many months? You keep them at home with you, but what about their socialisation? You feed them that? They’re still in nappies at what age? Look at the mess in your home! I’m sure you get the idea.

Why do we do this? Because it’s right there in our faces. We’re constantly confronted with what people are doing with their own children, and it can make us pause to reflect on whether we would do that, too. So yes, we may make judgements. Cursory, most likely, and in most cases, quietly and without really giving it any further thought. But we still judged, albeit fleetingly. Once it’s all out there, it’s unlike when you share things with your friends as strangers or mere acquaintances are seeing what you’re up to. The chances are that they have less of a filter than those we love, or some may simply be gunning for an argument. The problem is, of course, that they’ve only seen a glimpse, and it’s just a glimpse that you’ve chosen to share for whatever reason at that moment.

There are always those who go that bit further, offer their opinions, write persuasive articles on why their way is the ‘right way’, or just plain insult another parent. I am not a fan of blog posts telling me what I should do with my own children.

I don’t like the judgemental element. Parenting is a tough enough gig without having to feel defensive about what we do. I absolutely think we should be talking about what works for us, sharing personal stories, successes and failures. It’s great to hear about, often useful, and contributes to a little solidarity. If we share something asking for an opinion, or something deliberately controversial that we’ve done with our kids, then yes, expect some fallout and expect to hear things you may not like. But generally, if you’re just there doing your best, it’d be nice to feel more supported than judged, wouldn’t it?

What do you think? Has social media brought our parenting more sharply into focus?

The Reading Residence


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