We are all very good at seeing what others are doing wrong, or at least what we perceive as wrong from our own point of view. Some of us even go ahead and tell others what we think they are doing wrong. The intent behind it may be negative and hurtful or it may be with the best, and nicest feelings of love and concern. Either way it is most often received the same way: with defense and hurt feelings.
Because of this reaction from others and my own feelings when someone may say something to me, I often am leery of even talking about what I do/have done differently for fear of starting something, hurting feelings, etc. We are all doing the best we can with the resources we have and sometimes even well-meaning comments can feel like an attack on an already frazzled parent.
Now let’s talk about the flip side of this. Have you ever had a stranger compliment you in a store or restaurant? Has someone ever told you that you as a mother or father are doing a good job?
My husband and I don’t take our 4 daughters out to eat all that often. This is usually due to the cost factor as well as our third daughter having allergies. But almost every single time we do, someone approaches us and tells us what well-behaved children we have and what a great job we are doing with them.
This is THE most wonderful feeling ever. Don’t you agree? To have random strangers (often much older who have seen MANY children in public over the years) take the time to come over and let you know that you are doing something well. WELL! When everyone seems to be saying that how you parent is wrong.
Well behaved children stand out to me when I am out and about. I often smile happily and think to myself what a great job those parents are doing. I recently saw a woman in the store with 9 children. Every single one of them was remarkably well-behaved while still being fun-loving children. I was so impressed!
Later, at home, something clicked. Why did I not approach that woman and TELL her how wonderful her children were and what a great job she was doing? That is a bit out of my comfort zone. I tend to be on the shy side (though I have overcome a huge amount of this as I have gotten older). But I need to buck up and step out of that comfort zone and so do all of you. We need to support each other as parents. I am not saying to tell someone their kids is being good when you don’t feel they are or overlooking safety concerns and telling that parent “Good Job!” I mean, when you see something that impresses you, that stands out in your mind that those kids are being good, those parents are doing something right, TELL that mom or dad. These few words can give that parent the strength, peace, and confidence to better handle a tantrum or rough situation later in the day. Imagine the impact this can have if we all keep letting others know they are doing well as parents, giving them more confidence, encouraging them to keep doing well!
So this starts now, readers. Step up and do this. Challenge yourself to encourage someone in the toughest job out there.