Not too long ago I was shamed, yes me, at a family function no less. You see my son, Jamiel, my quiet storm, my introvert, my 16 year old, SONshine, has two tattoos. (WIDE EYES!). For me the gasp, the questions are no big deal, I’m confident in my parenting choices and so my response “Thank God he’s my child and not yours!” Not everyone will agree with what I have allowed him to do and we can always engage in healthy dialogue about it, but at the end of the day I am his mom and unless I am causing him harm the decisions I make are final. I see shaming of parents a lot and it saddens me that we can’t have conversations about different parenting style, we can’t agree to disagree. The village has become a place of judgement, instead of a place of teaching, nurturing, and community.
Social media has given us a space to increase our village numbers. Cyber aunties, uncles, cousins can give you home remedies, support your kids, give advice, and so forth and so on. What happens when those cyber family members or let’s face it your actual family and friends don’t agree with your parenting style. Let’s be very clear, I’m not talking about abusive parenting, I’m talking about a difference of opinion regarding the way you raise your child(ren). I have seen parents attacked for showing grief at the loss of a child (it’s just for Instagram attention), I have seen moms shamed for breastfeeding (how old are they? That’s gross!), I have seen parents shamed for giving birthday parties that appear to be “too much” to others (wasting money). What happened to being happy and celebrating, offering condolences for grief, or asking questions that are knowledge seeking and not just being nosy. Even when parents ask for opinions there is a way to give yours that does not shame them.
We must support each other. We must secure real villages around our families that will elevate us all. What does shaming others gain you? I would challenge you the next time you are about to shame someone for the way they are parenting do this “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!”
Parenting is hard, fun, joyful, sad, exciting, exhausting and a bunch of other words I can’t think of because I’m homeschooling my child and my brain is freezing. Are you going to shame me for that?!
How do you feel when you are shamed? How can you contribute to nurturing a family today?