Why Fear of Shame Is No Way to Parent

At the end of a long day fighting over homework, dealing with back-talk, and asking your kid to pick up the towel off the floor for the hundredth time, sometimes you just need to vent, right? To unburden your weary spirit of the hellacious incidents of the day. To be sure, some days as a parent are magical, but some... not so much. Whether you phone a friend or update your Facebook status with tales of the migraine-inducing moment, all you want to hear in response is empathy, sympathy.

But, sometimes, even those we expect to support us respond in a way that makes us feel worse. Maybe they try to give advice that, while well meaning, just makes you feel like a complete failure as a parent. Or even worse, totally judged. Or even worser (it's a word, my daughter once assured me), your Facebook feed is so full of posts from other parents who are #winning you just wither inside and couldn't dream of sharing your less-than-perfect status. So you never vent it out, and keep that bad moment bottled up inside.

According to a recent online survey, shame and fear of being judged stop more than half of moms from admitting what they're going through. That is really sad. We've got to stop these mommy wars raging full force around us, making us scared to talk about what is really going on with our child's sleeping habits or how we feel about standardized testing or that we don't know to stop our daughter's sassy mouth. We've got to stop shaming and judging other people for their parenting styles and decisions. Because guess what? None of us really know what we're doing. And we won't know who did it right until our kids are grown up and they are either successful contributing members of society or still living in our basements.

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who doesn't even have a basement, so if she's a bad parent her kid is really screwed. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Image via Shutterstock.

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