Breaking Free from the Urge to Judge: One Parent’s Story

mother inspiring story real life empathy teenageHave you ever caught yourself passing judgment on someone else’s parenting, only to realize later that you had no idea what they were going through? I certainly have.

I caught myself passing judgment on a teenager and her mom the other day. A friend was explaining how her daughter had been struggling with a short temper, bad grades at school, and was not coming home on time.

“She’s been so difficult to deal with lately. She’s always getting into arguments with us and other people, and her grades are slipping. She doesn’t seem to care about school at all,” my friend explained, exasperated.

As a mother of a eight-year-old, I don’t have any experience with teenage behavior.

But it was tempting to suggest that my friend should take a stricter approach. Then I stopped myself. I remembered a time when my daughter was little and had frequent tantrums. People would judge me as a bad parent, and it hurt. I didn’t want to do the same.

Instead, I listened as my friend vented her frustrations.

I could see how much she loved her daughter and how much she wanted her to succeed. I offered her a supportive ear and didn’t offer any unsolicited advice.

It was a good reminder that we never know what someone else is going through. We don’t know the whole story or the full extent of their struggles. It’s easy to pass judgment, but it’s much harder to offer support and kindness.

As we talked, my friend began to relax and open up

about some of the deeper issues her daughter was dealing with. We brainstormed some ways she could get her daughter the help she needed, including talking to a counselor and getting extra tutoring.

I left the conversation feeling grateful that my friend had trusted me enough to share her struggles. I realized that sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is to simply listen and offer a kind word. We don’t always have to have the answers or the perfect solution.

As for my daughter, she’s now eight and hasn’t had a tantrum in years. It was a reminder that kids go through phases, and with patience and love, they can come out the other side.

As I reflected on my experience with my own daughter and my friend’s daughter, I realized how important it is to practice empathy and withhold judgment.

None of us are perfect, and we all have our struggles. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and offer unsolicited advice, but it’s much harder to listen and truly understand someone else’s perspective.

The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try to remember that everyone has their own unique journey, and it’s not our place to judge or shame them. Instead, we can offer a listening ear, a kind word, and a shoulder to lean on. By doing so, we can build stronger and more compassionate relationships, both with our loved ones and with ourselves.

Author: Maria Silvestre, 33 years old mom from Madrid, Spain

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