By Louise Ratcliffe BSc (Hons) – Information Officer for Parent to Parent Inc
Parents constantly feel under scrutiny thanks to media portrayals of ‘ideal family life’, and the way weare connected via social media all the time.
Parenting advice also changes rapidly depending on current trends, recent research, cultural norms and life stages. I have 3 children and when my first was born I was advised to let her cry in order to settle atnight (I hated every second, but I did it because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do). By the timenumber 3 came along, Attachment Parenting was starting to be popular, and I responded to my baby every time he made a noise. Both kids seem to have turned out fine as far as I can tell!
When you are the parent of a child with a disability that people can see, you often get stares and can feel that people are pitying you. If your child has an invisible disability, people often don’t believe yourstruggles or put any unusual behaviour from your child down to “bad parenting”.
It’s easy for me to say “Just don’t worry about what other people think.”, but it doesn’t come easily to alot of people, so I have come up with a few tips for parents on both sides of the judgmental looks on how to handle things:
For parents feeling judged:
For parents seeing other parents struggling:
There are places to reach out for support. Parent to Parent offer a Support Parent Network service where we can put you in touch with another parent who has been through similar issues and can offer an understanding ear and possibly some useful tips.
Facebook, social media and other websites offer the opportunity to connect with parents like you allover the world, which can be especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of support around you in everyday life.
At the end of the day, just love your child, feed your child and keep them safe and warm. Everything else is just sprinkles on the ice-cream sundae.