There’s been a lot of buzz these days about some of the choices parents make, and those who judge them. Whether we like it or not, the decisions we make for our children — from the seemingly mundane to the more serious — can face considerable scrutiny, and I know I think twice about many choices I make based on the potential audience. Here are 5 examples of ways I would parent differently if no one was watching:
My seven year-old has approximately two favourite outfits that she would wear in week-long rotations if I let her. In the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t care less what she wears as long as it’s weather appropriate, but in the interest of her not looking terribly neglected and/or destitute, it’s one outfit for one day only.
Parents have really upped their lunch game these days! Naturally, it is important to me to provide healthy food for my kids, and I have no problem doing that. But there have been a few occasions, when I had a newborn or was particularly under the weather that I would have sent my oldest to school with a less than standard lunch had I not been worried about suffering the “lunch shame.”
For my active kid, sitting most of the day at school is painful for her. The last thing I want to do is bring her home and make her sit for another 30+ minutes to do her reading and spelling every night, plus the random projects she has to occasionally do. If we didn’t have to log the homework every time we do it, I’d likely let it slip more often than not.
My kids liked to be naked right from Day One. No matter what the environment, whether just hanging out at home, playing in the backyard or at a friends house, if clothing is optional, it is off. I’m not so strict when no one is around, but societal norms dictate that unless you’re in a nudist colony, some level of clothing is appropriate in all situations, especially when guests are present!
I tend to lean more to the free range style of parenting, and have received more than my fair share of judgemental gazes right from the get-go. I’m perfectly happy to let my 3 year-old go and play in the (fenced in) wooded area of the playground with her big sister and their friends, out of my sight. If I wasn’t worried about the concern of other parents, I’d probably let my older daughter go to the park a block away with some of her older friends, without me being present.
Perhaps I care too much what other people think, but it seems to me that we’re hearing more and more stories of parents turning other parents in for the littlest things. It takes a village to raise a child, but let’s make it a village that comes together and supports one another, not judges each other and tears them down.