I often like to take on the role of ‘devils advocate’ not because I like to antagonise but because sometimes people need to see things from the other side.
This week on Twitter I saw a conversation between several people ripping into a father who had been seen shouting and cussing at his child, aged 6 – 9 months.
‘I don’t know what the f**k you want’
Not the ideal thing to say to baby, but I remember all to clearly those early months with the twins when I was the end of my tether because I just did not know what to do!
Now, I’m in no way defending his actions, I abhor abusive, destructive parenting. We know shouting and swearing at a child will get you nowhere and really isn’t the way to engage with a child let alone a baby.
But not one person took a moment to ponder what had driven the father to shouting and cussing.
They instead took turns in calling him a ‘piece of shit’, a ‘terrible parent’ or saying they would have smacked him. It even went so far as the witness noted down his car registration number.
At no point in the conversations decimating this mans character and parenting skills did anyone say
‘I agree he was in the wrong and shouldn’t have done it, but I hope he’s okay and nothing serious has happened to cause his outburst’
Nope, instead it was an automatic judgement and he was found lacking.
No thought was given to what prompted him to react like that, anything could have prompted his reaction
for all they knew his partner had left him
his wife could have died in childbirth
he may have just lost his job
could have been informed his house was being repossessed
his parents could have been in an accident
an anniversary of his child's passing
he could be a single parent who’d been up all night with a cranky baby, tried everything the books recommend to comfort a crying child, only to find nothing works. Maybe after 24 hours of no sleep, after trying everything he lost his patience.
And reacted in frustration.
It was the wrong reaction.
But who hasn’t after a really terrible night, or when going through a really stressful period said something they later regret?
You can bet he feels like the worst parent going for reacting the way he did. He’s probably promised the child the world, given hugs and kisses aplenty, promised never to shout or tell them off ever again.
The fact is, we can never be privy to what is going on in the back ground, what prompts a parent to react in any particular way.
Whilst there are something's I would be the first person to jump up and intervene, I’d then want to know what had caused it before passing judgement.
Because maybe that parent actually needs some help and support rather than judgement.
As a parent I know I’d do anything before harming a hair on my boys heads, I’m sure the majority of you are same, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve never reacted in a way I’ve later regretted. A raised voice, taking away a favourite toy and yes I have sworn.
Does that elevate me to Top 10 Worst Parents List, no it doesn’t.
It just makes me human, one who reacted in the wrong way, and doesn’t deserve self-righteous condemnation from strangers who know nothing about what prompted my outburst.
Perhaps, before passing judgement on others we should take a look at ourselves and our own behaviours.
Linking up for more ranting with Mummy Barrow