A friend shared this post today: Dear Mom of Tantruming Toddler in Target. It resonated with me for a different reason than it’s resonating with moms all over the internet today. They are amen-ing because they have been judged. I am amen-ing because I’ve been the judged and the judge.
I didn’t have my first kid till I was 27. I’m also a bit of a know-it-all. So, I was often judgmental about parents whose kids throw fits in public. My brothers and I just did not do that as kids. I don’t know why; I guess my parents got lucky when we were little. (They paid for it when we were teenagers, though. Oy.)
And then? I had my own kids.
I know how my kids are parented. I know that their mama (me) doesn’t give into their tantrums and whining and screaming at home or anywhere else; and yet – they both had multiple screaming fits in public. Both of them. Loud. People staring and, probably, judging.
I stopped judging other parents while the first one was happening. My screaming child was splitting everyone’s ears, and I absolutely knew it wasn’t because he had been taught that he gets what he wants that way. I know; I’m his mom. Yet surely people were thinking I had enforced this behavior; I know I would’ve, before.
While even little kids can be taught wrong from right, what is rewarded vs. what gets you in trouble, even at that age they choose how they will behave. Plus, even good kids can have bad days like adults do, and that might send them over the edge. Kids may also be sick, or have special needs, or have been recently adopted so they’re testing their poor parents like crazy. The point is you don’t know.
Next time you’re in the grocery store and your ears are bleeding because some kid is freaking out, and his mom or dad feels horrible (whether they look it or not), err on the side of compassion. Save the judgemental attitude for watching House Hunters. (Or is it just me that harsh judges those people? You don’t think your family of four could possibly fit comfortably in this 3,000 sq. ft. house? Really?!)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.