Imagine being in the grocery aisle with your child, and your child desperately wants a piece of candy. You have told your child that they can’t have this piece of candy, and continue to move about the store grabbing what is on your list. Your child is not accepting, “No” for an answer and begins to yell and suddenly the yells turn to falling out and whaling of the arms. You as a parent start to receive stares, and in your mind you are trying to determine the best course of action to avoid being judged. Questions run through your mind, “do I let my child continue with this tantrum hoping he will stop on his own, do I pick my child up by the arms and say some harsh words to him to get him to calm down, do I validate his feelings, tell him I understand he is upset in an effort to get him to calm down, and explain the reason for not having the candy,continue to, do I give him the candy, so that I can finish my shopping, or do I just leave the store entirely?”
For many this is a difficult situation to handle, and with so many judgemental individuals in the world, you can’t help to wonder how to get your child to calm down when having a tantrum. Ahhh, the art of shaming.
Parent shaming is the act of criticizing parents even calling the authorities for actions that meant and caused no harm.
Teen mothers face parent shaming in all different forms. Teen moms are faced with the stigma of not being able to graduate high school, not staying with the father of the child, and not getting a job that pays well enough to afford the child. We get it becoming a teen mom has it’s drawbacks, but the reality is teens do become pregnant. Instead of shaming, we can offer support.
What does support look like for a teen mom?
Parenting is hard. For the most part people do the best they can with the tools they are given. Empathy is one of the best ways to stop parent shaming. No one is considered to be perfect at parenting. Everyone makes mistakes, it is what is learned from these mistakes that teaches us a valuable lesson. You don’t know all the details behind another person’s life, what their struggles have been, and the exact reasons behind the pregnancy. So you don’t have the right to judge their actions. Instead of judging teen moms, take a step back and try to imagine life in different aspects than your own. Practice understanding. Teen moms are looking for guidance and someone who will offer patience and encouragement, not someone who is going to put them down.
Parent shaming can be easy to get caught up in, but it does come with consequences. There’s a reason they say parenting is the hardest job in the world. Because it is. It is even that much more difficult for a teen who is having a child. Try your best to understand what this teen may be going through, refrain from judgement and offer support in their time of need.