I HATE when parents judge other parents on their parenting skills! Do you agree?

Okay here this post goes and if you are one of the parent judgers, I advise you to quickly step away and to not to continue to read. You have been warned!

Before I had kids, I was known on a time or two to judge what other kids were doing in front of their parents. For example, if we went to a restaurant and I saw a little boy having a temper tantrum, I instantly thought “why doesn’t that parent control that kid!” I was young, naive, and most of all SANS kids at the time! When I look back at this time of my life, I was completely wrong. While I think it is wrong that I judged, I do give myself a free pass that day because I really did not know what it was like to actually raise kids.

Than Zane and Hayley were born and my world was turned upside down! I realized very quickly that my adorable three-year-old would be the one at the restaurant having a full out temper tantrum and I would be getting those dirty looks that I gave on that one occasion. While I typically don’t really care if those looks are from people without kids, I get SUPER annoyed when I see parents of young ones giving me those dirty looks while their kids eat a peaceful peanut butter and jelly sandwich in peace and quiet.

As we are parents, we should know better than to judge other parents’ parenting skills. Just because my kid is having a tantrum and I am finishing up my half of sandwich before rushing him out the door, does not make me a bad parent. Kids have tantrums and it is a fact of life. We try our best to eliminate them but truth be told, tantrums happen all the time. I don’t need the lady at the next table rolling her eyes at me, trying to make me feel like I am a bad parent. This is all sorts of wrong!

One situation occurred last week that particularly got me riled up! I was at a music class for Zane when he started whining heavily. While the whining is not unusual for him, what happened next is. The lady next to me had the audacity to turn to me and ask, “Does he ever stop whining?” I turned to her with a very serious face and said not really. While I was partially kidding, I wanted to see the look on her face when I said this. You should have seen my color- beat red! Smoke was coming out of my ears…

She then proceeded to ask me, how I make him stop. I saw that she had an adorable three-month-old cradled up with her and while a three month old is a lot of work, they do not whine. Since she was asking for my honest opinion, I told her that I ignore his behavior. I told her that if he is whining, I let him go along whining unless something is wrong. Most of the time he just wants to be held 24/7 and with a three-year-old, this is not always feasible. She turns to me and says, “Well, I think you need to attend to his whining more!” I felt like leaving the class but I stood the duration and proudly continue to go to the class week after week. I secretly hope Zane whines so it pisses her off! How wrong is she to judge me for not making my kids stop whining. Come back to me in a few months and tell me how you handle the whining, if you are so blessed with a whiner.

Parents need to learn that we all have different ways to handle parenting. The minute I became a parent all my judgements went out the window. I realize we all have difference ways to handle parenting, and I fully understand and appreciate that. Parents should not judge, but alas it will continue to happen unfortunately.  So I ask you, have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you ever been judged? How did you handle it?


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  1. says

    wow, I agree. Kids have bad days just like we do, people need to keep their comments to themselves. I get comments too more so about the amount of kids we have then anything. Guess they do not stick with moms say – if you can’t say somethng nice do not say it at all!

  2. says

    Girl, OMG!!! With 6, 4 and 3 year olds, the whining and temper tantrums are non-stop. I’m surprised you stayed so calm. Good for you, for venting about it in your blog though. I have been in a similar situation with all 3. You’re right the best way is to ignore it unless something is seriously wrong. The children only want attention. I have been given the stared, and the dirty looks, and the snide comments. Now I’ve also been on the other side, you know sans kids, and I’m guilty of it too. Yet now, I don’t understand how parents themselves can give us and our kids dirty looks. I was happy to experience this event: We were in Kroger and the youngest decided that he was going to throw a fit because I bought honey nut cheerios instead of coco pebbles. This lady who had a son about the same age in her buggy, gave me the meanest look ever, as I strolled down the isle telling Levi to be quiet and settle down, all of a sudden I hear the loudest scream ever, her son decided to do the same thing. I turned my buggy around, strolled up to her and said, “Glad to know it doesn’t only happen to me.” You had to see the look on her face!

  3. says

    I agree. I think other people should not judge. They will look back later and regret there comment. Sadly everyone has a opinion and thats the truth. But we can walk away and not say anything and be the better person. I know its hard sometimes but we are able to keep the peace in our hearts:)

  4. says

    Yes, I hate it too. Everyone has their own issues to deal with when it comes to their kids. There is no rule book on parenting.

  5. says

    OMG I would have went off on that lady, but I definitely commend you for taking the high road! And I completely agree with you about ignoring the behavior. We used to do that with Quinn and it really worked. Some parents are just crazy. And you never know someone else’s story. For all you know that perfect little mother has 6 nannies who raise her babies.

  6. says

    She will be having her own tantrums in a couple of years. Don’t let her bother you.

    I told a man off at the bank a few months ago. (Who was telling how to raise my children while I was conducting private business in an office, much less)

  7. says

    Whenever I see a child upset and nothing the parent does seems to help at the time I wish I had some sort of activity in my purse I could just bring out to give to the child to distract them from whatever is making them upset.

  8. says

    It’s amazing how new mothers all the sudden feel like they know it all. Being a parent is a learning process that isn’t given at the hospital when you give birth to your first child. We have our hard days and easy days with 3 kids, but expecting all situations to be perfect is unrealistic.

  9. says

    I cannot stand that. I mean, every kid at some point will have a melt down, a fit, a temper tantrum…whatever you want to call it. For me, when I see a kid doing it and the parents look lost, I talk to the kid. Quite often a total stranger saying “what’s your name?” Will freak the kid out and they stop throwing a fit. Parents are all part of a club and need to work together NOT judge. Great post!!

  10. says

    My tongue would have been bleeding from biting it to not say something rude to the lady. When I first started reading this, I thought she was going to ask for advice for her smaller baby!

  11. says

    I definitely agree with you, but it is so hard. I think what upsets me the most is the lack of education that I see, especially with new/young moms. Stupid formula companies and their infiltrating tactics…. grrr!!!

  12. says

    Wow. I have RAGE for you. Kids whine. Period. All 3 of mine whine and D is not even a toddler. He is 10 but whines on occasion. I do the same thing. IGNORE it. Because if they get what they want when they whine, then they will always whine to get things.
    You hold back better than me. I would have told her what you said and then said “when your child is old enough to whine and you are in the middle of doing 7.2 million things, you will learn to ignore bad behavior as well. And if you don’t, then your kids will be the ones having outbursts at an age that is no longer tolerable in public. Also, it is not polite to judge another person’s parenting. I think you should learn to mind your own business!”

    Oh man. My face is red just thinking about that lady!! Sorry you had to experience that.

  13. Angie M says

    I’m not really one to tell people off, as much as their comments bother me I guess that’s just the way I am but I do occasionally wish I could put them in their place. I have a 21 month old, and it’s been such a challenge to go to the store, to have a meal in a restaurant, to try to catch a kids show even. Comments and looks can be so hurtful, I am always so grateful to see a sympathetic smile from a stranger but unfortunately those are rare compared to dirty looks. I’m dreading my daughter getting worst before she learns not to throw tantrums in public… I feel so clueless so much of the time, the last thing in the world I want or need is to be judged in those moments so I agree with you.

  14. says

    Sadly and frustratingly people judge each others parenting skills way too much!! Every child is different, therefore every parent is different….otherwise there would be a holy grail child manual that would give us step by step instructions. Instead, every mom and dad does the best they can. We should all try to support each other instead of judging. That woman needs to shut her trap!!

  15. says

    I get those nasty looks all the time. Wolf Prince picks the worst times to act up. He always seems to start screaming if we are out to dinner. (When this happens, my husband says, “You need to get your child to behave or we’ll have to leave.” MY child. He won’t help me.) One day, Wolf Prince was trying to steal my iced tea, so I let him have some thinking he would find it bitter, but he didn’t, and now I have to share anytime I have it so he won’t scream. Most people do not approve of 1.5 year-olds having iced tea, but at least he’s not being a problem. Last week, we walked out of music class for a bit because there were balls out, and he was screaming because he didn’t want to share. Taking a small break helped there. The other parents actually feel bad for me at class. He’s always running around and getting into everything. I feel horrible since I’m the only parent whose child won’t behave.

  16. says

    I have seen this happen so many times, and I can admit that I have probably judged other parents while out in public if I’m out to eat and there is an especially riled up child. I think the initial judging is pretty inevitable, everyone does it, and while I have two stepdaughters, I am not a full-time parent so I get a pass, right? However, you keep those judgments to yourself knowing that the parent isn’t having a blast with it, either, and we must all exercise compassion and understanding in those situations. I would never even think to say something like “does your child ever stop whining” to a parent. That is just plain rude and really unnecessary.

  17. says

    I am not a perfect parent, nor do I pretend to be. I am guilty of observing other parents parenting styles, but not because of behaviors or the such.. my obsession is with some of the things parents actually allow their children to do.

    Kudos to you for remaining so calm. I am not sure I could actually do that.

  18. says

    I know that hurt your feelings and I’m sorry this event occurred. I have a tendency to be sarcastic so my reply probably would have been handing her my email address and telling her to email me with the solution after her baby goes through the terrible two stage.
    Every body always thinks their way is better and all kids are different so you have to find your own technique. My sister had 5 children 5,two 4 year olds(twins), 3 and two. We were at a causal eatery (I’m talking hotdogs here) and I think someone accidentally spilled something that is just norm when you travel with this type of crew. A woman said very loudly how glad she was that she didn’t have children. The statement was uncalled for as they were behaving admirably except for the “accident” Sometimes, as hard as it is, you just have to take a deep breathe and thank God that He loved you enough to bring you out of the state of judgement. One day she will understand that kids go through phases and parents survive them.

  19. says

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of rude and judgmental people out there and all we can do is try to ignore them.

  20. Melissa says

    my only comment I can even think right now is Just you wait!!! I find many pre children people and new mom’s and Dads just don’t understand and think they would do things so differently! that is until they get there and realize that maybe choosing your battles does not include paying attention to the incessant whinning that happens ALLLLL day long about EVERYTHING….can you tell I soo hear and feel for you lol

  21. says

    That’s when I’d throw in a “just you wait”. I was the perfect parent also before I had kids. Now I’ve learned things aren’t always as ideal as I think they’d be.

  22. says

    We all have different styles and yes I believe that we all should respect one another. Being a parent is hard enough with out having to ‘compete’ with other moms out there.

  23. Alicia says

    I am a mom of 4 wonderful kids. I have 12, 7, 5 and 1 year olds. When I was younger I used to judge other parents too. Once you have children your whole world changes. You do things you said you would never do and decisions about your kids are made that day because you never know what can happen. I honestly had it pretty easy until my third child came into this world. He is such an amazing little boy but I struggled daily with him. He has difficulty with speech and language so he wasn’t able to really talk until he was about 3.5 yrs old. His way of communicating with me was screaming and crying. (and there were many times I wanted to scream and cry too!) I felt so bad for him but I also felt helpless. This is my story that still brings tears to my eyes…
    I am a stay at home mom and dealing with my 3 yr old non-talker daily is getting to me. I have also just delivered our 4th child. I’m feeling very down, maybe depressed. I schedule an appointment with a new doctor to see if anti-depressants are the answer. I take my son and our new baby to the doctors office. I let them know I’m here and sign in. We wait in the tiny waiting room for 25 minutes past my scheduled appointment time and my son starts to scream. When I say scream, I mean it. Everyone is looking at me, I feel their judgement. I’m thinking to myself, “They’re not busy. Why can’t they just put me in a room!?” After about 10 minutes of his screaming, I decide to ask the lady behind the counter if I can use their bathroom for a timeout. She gives me a strange look and let’s me in the back. In past circumstances taking him to a bathroom and putting him in the corner has worked. At this point, I don’t know what else to do! I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It doesn’t help that people are giving me dirty looks and not offering to help. So I pick up the infant carrier, my diaper bag and my screaming/kicking 3 yr old and take him to the bathroom. When we get to the bathroom, he looses it. He starts kicking the walls, banging his head on the walls and continues to scream. I decide that this is too much. Obviously this timeout is not working. I pick everything up again, go over to the lady again and ask if I can come back another time. She says that is fine and I can call later for a new appointment. I also forgot to mention that my cute little screamer is also a runner. As soon as I open the door to the outside, he takes off. Now the whole parking lot is staring at us. I now have tears running down my face. Do I leave the baby on the sidewalk and chase him or do I just get in my car?? I now have the feeling that I’m dealing with a wild animal. I decide to put the baby in the car, not chase the wild animal cause he will probably turn and run from me(maybe get hit by a car) and bribe him. YES, I said bribe him!! It works and he finally gets in the car, safe and sound!! This is where the story gets sad for me. I get my kids home. Thank god that noone was seriously hurt today and decide to call the doctors office to reschedule. As soon as the lady answers I tell her who I am. This is what she says to me, “I’m sorry ma’am. We have decided to dismiss you from our practice. We heard you physically abusing your child in the bathroom.” I’m totally silenced! I can’t even believe what I’m hearing! I immediately start crying and hang up. After about 4 hours of hard crying and telling my husband what had happened, I felt better. But I hated these people for judging me. I don’t use the “hate” word but I truly hated these people!! I have never in my life felt that low or been judged to that extreme. For someone to assume I’m beating my child, for people to stand their and not even offer their assistance to someone that obviously needs it!! To this day, I make it very clear to parents that I run into that we are ALL going through the same thing. My kids might be perfect angels right now but that doesn’t mean they were perfect angels an hour ago. If this touches just one person, my hope is that when you see a mom/dad stressed out and in need of help, please offer your assistance and let her/him know they are not alone!! We all need to be in this “parenting circus” together!

  24. says

    As much as unsolicited advice pisses me off, sometimes I think they think they are actually being helpful. She might have thought she was being helpful, but unless you are ASKING for advice or suggestions… just be quiet.

    I’ve been approached and judged for having my child out in public while wearing her… and she’s not wearing any socks. Or that she needs a hat or she needs juice or she needs this or that when I know full well what she needs… their 30 second interaction does not impress me.

    The only time I’ll give a “look” to another parent is when they aren’t doing anything about their kids who are acting inappropriately – not a tantrum but general misbehavior. At least attempt .. don’t expect everyone else in the restaurant/store/whereever to baby-sit for you when you are just drinking and chatting it up. Save that for your backyard.

  25. says

    Wow, uhm, I think I would have given her an ear full! If my kids throw a tantrum, I ignore it as long as they aren’t hurt. If I recognize the tantrum it only gets worse. If I ignore it, it goes away a LOT faster, so yes, I will be one of those parents who will look at her kid throwing a fit and say, “when you are done, THEN we will talk” and go right back to eating my sandwich.

    The are times however when I get annoyed with other people’s parenting skills….that is when the child is completely out of control and the parent does nothing about it..I’m not talking normal tantrums, I’m talking about letting the kid run rampant in the store, restaurant, etc. Yelling, hitting other people, purposefully being demons, and the parent just watching, not even caring. Yes, I’ve been on the bad end of the kids hitting, trying to trip, trying to hurt my own kids out in public…complete strangers doing this to my kids..yeah, that is when I think they need some parenting lessons. For me, it doesn’t matter how tired you are as a parent, cause yes, we all get to a point where we pick and choose our battles based on our energy level,but when your child is in public HURTING others and you don’t intervene as a parent…I’m sorry, but that is when I judge a parenting method.

    But something as simple as a tantrum? That is when I look at that mom with a heart full of sympathy and think “I’m so sorry. Hang in there.”

  26. says

    Many people seem to butt in. I admit I judge some parents but I keep it to myself because I don’t know all the facts and I don’t want anyone saying something to me. For example I’m sorry but your 1 year old does not need junk food for every snack just because she won’t eat what the playgroup is serving. But I keep quiet, it’s not my kid.

    We all must remember that even if we do have kids, we are not in the same exact situation and we don’t know what’s going on fully. Plus what works for one family doesn’t work for another(or one kid and another for that matter.)

    Even if she was trying to be helpful, it’s her choice of words and tone that are the problem. She could have said, “Oh he seems to be having a bad day eh?” Then when you said that he whines a lot, she could have said, “I’m sorry to hear that. Does anything help? or What do you do about it? I wonder since my child hasn’t got to that stage yet.” This is if she had to say anything at all of course.

  27. Lori Doherty says

    I get “judged” all the time ~ every weekend at church we sit in the “crying room” that is an enclosed glass room for crying children and their families. People without children always sit in there b/c it is less crowded than the congregation and they give US dirty looks when our 3 year old is eating a snack, playing with a matchbox car or asking us questions and talking. I never look forward to it! But, the same scenario plays out each week.
    I always give a sympathetic look to parents struggling with an unruly child..If I have a snack in my purse I will give a glimpse of it to the parent and mouth “can she/he have one?” ~ sometimes it actually works and they stop. I have been there many times & my 3 year old is WILD, so I know how it is! We need to help other parents struggling!!!!
    One flight we took when my youngest was almost 2 was horrible. He had an ear infection and screamed for 2.5 of the 3 hours from Orlando. He was kicking the seat in front of us and whaling. I was comforting him, hugging him, playing peek a boo and whatever else I could do to try to make him stop. The woman in front of me kept turning around with every kick to her seat & gave me sighs and dirty looks. When we landed, the baby sat up and VOMITED all over himself and me!!! The woman stood up from her seat as we exited the plane and yelled back to her friend several rows behind us… “Hey, is your phone on? I just sent you a text!” ~ Really??? I wonder what the text said!?!? That the poor woman who sat behind you had to comfort a sick 2 year old baby with a fever and an ear infection for 2.5 hours & she had to keep saying she was sorry for him kicking your seat as she endured dirty looks and sighs????
    I was so mad.. it shows alot about someone’s character when they react that way to a child and to a family in that type of situation.
    I don’t give dirty looks… I give snacks!! :)

  28. says

    I hope he whines too, to piss her off. LOL! :) I get those judgements and looks all the time. I even have a friend that doesn’t have kids, tell me what my daughter needs. I think we should encourage one another. Not bring each other down. Motherhood is hard enough without the judging.

  29. says

    WOW! Can’t believe she had the audacity to say something like that! It’s one thing to think it but to actually say something! Every kid and every parent is different. Sometimes I get frustrated with parents who don’t parent…and I don’t mean letting their kid whine (because that is really the only thing that works for most kids when they are whining)…I mean the parents who have no clue where their kid is, or what they are doing, or don’t teach them manners or to respect people…you know? And even then I would never say anything! You never know what people are going through, or how tough their kid(s) really are or anything! It is so not our place to say things like that! Just wait til that lady’s kid gets to the whiny age…sheesh!

  30. Maegan Morin says

    I agree with Darcy. The only time I will judge other parents is when their kids are completely out of control. The thing that pisses me off the most is when parents let their kids run out of control around a grocery store or walmart. Why would you do that!?!?!? There are child predators everywhere, or what if your child brakes something you cant pay for not to mention that its a nuisance. That truly is the only thing that I judge. As for the woman to offer you up that adice, track her down in 3 years and tell her to make her kid stop whining…

  31. says

    True. All of it all so true. I know exactly how you feel Melissa! I am sorry that that lady was such a meanie and said that stuff to you, however, you got a great story out of it and it’s something EVERY parent can relate to. Thanks for sharing! I agree with the previous comments. Hope you have a great weekend!

  32. says

    I hate it when old childless women whine about a baby at church that is having a tough time. One year, the priest was going to baptize a baby, and he made the mass super long. That baby couldn’t handle it, and we could see that the mother was so upset. She took the baby out in the back of the church to try to sooth him. We were ticked with the priest for making the service so long, but what was really upsetting was an old woman in the back of the church got up and went out into the vestibule to tell this poor mother off. Because we always sat in the back with all of our six kids, we heard her. My husband got up, went out into the vestibule, and told the old woman off.

  33. says

    I haven’t been in this situation yet, but I think you handled it as best as you could. I would have been tempted to ask her if she ever stopped talking, haha.

  34. says

    I have to be 100% honest – Sometimes when I go out to like a nice quiet restaurant, and someone brings in a screaming baby, I do get a little aggravated, and sometimes wish the parents would take their child outside until he/she calms down, but I try not to judge parents. I’m not in there shoes yet, and until I am I guess I can’t fully understand.

  35. says

    Sounds like she thinks she has it all together, I mean afterall her baby sleeps for 90% of the day and does not talk yet. It will only be a matter of time before SHE is ignoring the whines of her own child(ren). Then she will realize that rookie moms should keep their mouth shut! The world would be a happier place without judgy moms, that is for sure!

  36. Cindy B says

    *sigh* On our first set of flights with DS we had one guy walk up to us on the plane to tell us basically, in no uncertain terms, that we were bad parents because our lil guy wasn’t being completely silent and had even (gasp) cried and whined a bit during the flight (which was about 2.5 hours or so). Obviously someone sans kids. After the flight several strangers approached us and asked the guy had said what they thought he said and then they said they thought he was a dolt and that DS had done very well for being only 2 (or especially for being 2, LOL)… It was both vindicating and encouraging to hear from these other parents and grandparents… I think it took everything in my husband not to deck the guy.

    So, yes, I agree judgment needs to be withheld and people should definitely keep those opinions to themselves if they do have them… actually had to tell DH he wouldn’t provide someone like that guy an education by getting up and speaking with him further.

  37. Jordan Lardner says

    Well, I was not in this kind of situation, but I was in one recently at the movies that had me quite irritated! My son is 17 months old and we went to see Madagascar 3 with me 4 year old niece for her birthday. When we say down I out my things in the chair next to me to get settled. The man, who was with his granddaughter quickly told me someone was sitting there. I explained to him that I was going to move my things after we got settled. (#1. He was rude about it, #2. He didn’t have anything saving the seat for anyone!) I disregarded it and then when his son, the girls father sat down, the grandfather said, we probably will have to move rows, we are next to a baby! He kept saying it an the son just kept ignoring him. I was so mad, I probably looked like you when that woman asked you if he ever stops whining. I simply gave him the stank eye to show how displeased I was with his words. Might I mention my son feel asleep and stayed that way for about an hour of the movie. I almost looked at him after the movie was over an said, those darn babies just make so much noise, especially when they sleep through the movie. I was highly peterved and still get that way when I think about it. I will also add that all of the other kids were talking and laughing during the whole movie. Clearly he does not know what to expect out of a kids movie!
    I agree that should all stick together and I know because I have been on the same situation with a child having a temper tantrum in public several times. It is embarrassing enough to have to deal with it, but for someone to stick their nose into it like that. You were a whole lot nicer than I would have been. My child started his terrible twos at 1, and my pediatrician told me that if he is safe to ignore him, acknowledgement of behavior, even if it is bad is what the child wants.

  38. says

    It’s so easy for a non parent to judge a parent and say that they wouldn’t do things the way you do it. But when you become a parent, you have to do what works for you. Even if you try to heed others advice to try and make things easier for you, not every thing works for every family. Judging other parents unless warranted (abuse, neglect, etc) is just not beneficial for anyone involved.

  39. says

    Awesome post. I cannot believe that woman had the nerve to say that to you! Some people are ridiculous. Seriously. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think you are absolutely doing the right thing, by ignoring his whining, unless there is really something wrong. That woman with the 3 month old has no idea what she’s in for when her baby gets older! I used to judge parents too, but now I realize that it doesn’t matter if you do everything right as a parent- kids will still act out! My daughter is only 10 months old and she has already started having tantrums. I am a very firm and consistent parent, and when I say No, I mean No. Regardless, she has little tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants. Some people who were observing her behaviour might assume that I give in to her tantrums and spoil her and that’s why she’s acting like that, but in fact, it’s just because she has a very strong-willed personality, and that’s just the way she is. Anyway, yes, bottom line is, don’t judge. And to all the judgers out there- karma’s a bitch. Just saying. ;)