I want to address something too many of us have […]
I want to address something too many of us have fallen victim to or been a part of as parents. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving side, shaming in any way shouldn’t have a voice within our society. The other day I experienced my first bout of internet shaming due to an image I used in a blog post. Although my experience pales in comparison to what some of you have endured, it still propelled my thoughts toward why we feel we can shame and the repercussions of shaming others.
In my home, we live by the principal of speaking life or death over others and ourselves. We filter everything we say or think of saying through the scope of, “Will this bring life to the subject being referenced or not?” The goal is to learn to speak in a way that does not cause destruction. I see plenty of moms encouraging one another, offering insight and personal experiences in a respectful manner, but I also see hateful, judgmental speech from total strangers. Knowing the mother or father personally should not affect your decision to speak kindly. While we need one another for accountability and help, we don’t have to tear someone down in the process. There is a time and place for constructive criticism, but shaming is never welcome in my book.
Here is why this is a problem. When we make negative comments regarding a mother’s choice in any capacity, we are speaking into her identity as a parent. If your motivation and goal is to protect the child, your action should include empowering the mother. Your shaming may contribute to a changed behavior, but not because she is confident in making decisions for her family—and we need confident mothers to raise this next generation. With that being said, please remove your hands from the keyboard if you intend to waft an opinion that could be considered hateful. We just don’t need it.
I don’t think the point of social media was to share how rude or condescending we can be. The fact is our sensitivity toward others can diminish when we communicate through a screen. As a parent, I don’t want to set an example that devalues human worth because “I don’t know them personally” or I feel justified in thinking I know what’s best for all children. The fact is no one can make a universal call on anything regarding children. You can’t tell someone how to birth their child, how to feed them, clothe them, help them to sleep, help them cope, how to share, what manners to implement, etc. All we can really do is love them, parent them and try to show them an example of what being a nice human looks like. That’s my main point here: Be a nice person, and think about what you are saying.
I decided a long time ago I was going to a play for the “parent advocate” team. I have no desire to make a mother or father feel their decision in any way was inferior to mine, or that they don’t know what they are doing. IN LOVE, we can speak to one another and get our point across. You can take up for a child needing attention without bullying the family. I sometimes wish my daughter wasn’t going to grow up with technology in this way because I fear the types of cyber bullying or maltreatment she may receive if the parents of said children are just as awful. You owe it to your child to not set a poor example because you don’t know how this monster called internet shaming will continue to evolve over time.
Thanks to everyone who came by my side and poured tons of love, affection and kindness over me when I dealt with this very thing. It takes a lot of truth to undo rude comments left by others, and I am very grateful for the village of encouragers I have surrounding me! My advice is to be one of those encouragers, and encourage others to do the same.