The Parent Shaming Trend

These days social media has had a big influence on how people interact and think about others. Most people who are parents today grew up in an era where computers weren’t nearly as prevalent in every home and the photos parents shared were primarily those that were carried in their wallets – professional studio photos in our best dressed. However, with billions of people joining social networks and sharing every aspect of their lives it leaves the door wide open to the growing trend that is parent shaming.

Why are Parents Shaming Other Parents?

Social media has its fair share of pros and cons. On the one hand, it allows people to connect with family and friends that they otherwise would not keep in touch with due to geographical location among other various reasons.  However, with a very public platform that is commonly used to share photos and details of daily activities with others also comes the opportunity for unwelcome comments of disapproval. Most people who do this try to convince themselves they are doing it for the good of the child or to pass on knowledge to new parents.

The truth behind parent shaming, is that many of us do it, subconsciously, to feel better about ourselves as parents when we notice ‘mistakes’ we find other parents make. Many parents don’t even realize that they’re doing this. It’s no surprise that new parents get a lot of solicited advice from well-meaning strangers. Social media has taken this to the next level, however, and anything is fair game. From the way a mom chooses to feed her baby to the outfit she puts them in, we are being judged.

The trend of parent shaming is clearly affecting parents in the wrong way. It makes parents feel unsure of their actions many times. Many parents already put enough guilt on themselves daily from what we feel we’ve failed on whether it’s not spending enough family time or allowing too much screen time, that the disapproval from outsiders further adds to the stress.

While it is always good to call out a parent for wrongful behavior that could actually pose harm to a child, more times than not it’s done simply out of being judgmental or having a matter of opinion that you are right and they are wrong. Take this site you’re visiting right now! The primary goal of the articles featured on this site is to help inform parents on common topics in parenting; that’s not to say that those who feel differently are wrong.

Knowing when to step in and take action and knowing when to just be kind and keep your opinions to yourself can be shaky ground. There have even been severe instances where CPS has been called out on parents based on an image that was shared via social media that warranted concern. This has been found effective in some cases where there was actual need for authorities to step in and investigate, but some people take it too far.

Spotting a child alone in a hot vehicle in a parking lot, for instance, would obviously be a reasonable cause to call the proper authorities. However, a cute photo of a young child in the driver’s seat on the parent’s lap could warrant an investigation from someone assuming the child was riding improperly restrained, when in actuality it was just an innocent photo opp. If you spot something that doesn’t seem right, carefully consider the situation and if it would put the child in imminent danger.

When did it become socially acceptable to shun a parent based on a few moments from what we see on the outside? There is often much more to the picture than what meets the eye and parents (as well as non-parents) should take careful consideration before jumping to conclusions. If you do feel the need to call the parent on something you feel they may not be aware of, there are better ways to go about it than publicly.

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