Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Judgmental Parenting

Confession: I watch my neighbors, and I judge them. And I frankly don't get the parenting style being used.

A new family moved into the duplex next to us last month. They don't have curtains. It was over a week before they had any furniture. Except for televisions. Those were in right away. And an air mattress. Their lights shine into our house, so it was obvious to see that the kids (it seems like three are preschool age) were up after midnight watching television.

Last night I saw them watching a Jurassic Park movie at 10pm. I don't get it. They don't seem to have a lot, but they have a television in quite possibly every room of the house (for sure the three bedrooms). I for one try to get my kids in bed as soon as possible. I need the time with just my wife; they need to sleep to just be healthy.

Now, I know I'm being judgmental. And I'm fine with it. Since the kids have been spending some time on our porch and in our yard, I feel I have some investment in the kids. I just wish they had a chance at growing up well...

And so I judge them. Just like I judge the mom who breaks down and buys a toy for her child who is throwing a tantrum. Or the child who has access to pop and candy all day long.

And I also know others judge my parenting skills and style. I'm far from perfect. I get upset too quickly sometimes. I sometimes neglect to correct unhealthy actions quickly enough. I don't provide well enough for them. I could go on and on.

I'm not too concerned about being judged...or about judging my neighbors. I'm more concerned about becoming a better parent and helping other parents to become better as well. I don't think I'll have that opportunity with my neighbors until I get to know them a bit. And maybe I never will have that opportunity. But I hope we can all be open to talking more about parenting with others. That's how we'll get better; that's how we can share our failings and know we're not alone. Let's keep the dialogue going...

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