I’m pretty sure my head turned completely around 360 degrees à la The Exorcist when the other mother said what she said.
“Maybe your son likes to play with weapon toys because he doesn’t feel protected,” she said.
My son was three, this other mother and I were standing on a playground with our kids and I’m pretty sure I looked like a possessed Linda Blair as I tried to point out how many experts agree it’s just fine if your boy like guns and swords and all things pow-pow.
What she said hurt me deeply and I felt so terribly, unfairly judged. I will set aside the issue of whether or not toy gun play is okay for now, but check out our panel on this topic. This blog is about something I think far more parents can relate to - parent judgement.
I suspect the reason this mom decided to say this to me is because she was truly fearful that what I was doing was harmful to my child. So she felt compelled to say something.
I think a lot of parents feel this way often. The question is, when do you say something and when do you keep your thoughts to yourself.
I think if the child is actually on track to be hurt, something should be said. I’m not so sure that was the case in this scenario.
And all too often I think parents say something because they are unsure of the choices they are making with their children and if what you are doing is different, then if they reinforce what they do and denigrate what you do, that makes them feel better.
A common approach is the passive-aggressive “well what we do is this” and then state something that is clearly counter to what the parent in question is doing. I see and hear a ton of that among my mommy friends, on the playgrounds and in the parks.
So what do you think? Is parent judgement a problem in your world? When do you say something and when do you decide to keep your thoughts to yourself?