Patty Levreault, a Connecticut mom of two, heard the deliveryman ring her doorbell early one morning, but she was in her pajamas and did not want to answer the door. She hoped he would leave the package instead.
About five minutes later three patrol cars showed up in her driveway, and she feared her children might get removed from her home. Why? Because the deliveryman saw the kids through the window watching TV and assumed they were home alone, he’d called Child Protective Services.
When the officers saw the children were safe, they left, but the incident left Levreault shaken.
In many ways, similar things happen all over the US, and the trend of jumping to conclusions about other people’s parenting has garnered the name, “parent shaming.”
With the advent of social media parent shaming is on the rise and so are non-substantiated calls to CPS. 3.5 million calls are made a year, and only 679,000 cases are merited.
In a report from ABC, Good Morning America recently reported that parents are getting judged on everything from “eating fast food to using technology too much.”
The ability to make quick decisions allows us to safely avoid accidents and make choices which can save our lives. When this judgment gets directed at others, it becomes an issue; especially when we project our standards and morals onto others from behind the safety and comfort of a computer screen.
Here are things to look at before making that next comment on someone’s Facebook post or trolling someone on Twitter or Instagram.
1. Is the action causing real harm to the child?
Does the child display fear or are they showing prolonged signs of abuse or distress? If not, let it be. Don’t know what those are? Ask your pediatrician or check out what experts have to say here.
2. Do you have all the facts?
Unless you know the full story, it is wiser to withhold judgment. Judging before the whole story leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. A wise man is often a quiet man.
Proverbs 11:12 says “He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding keeps silent.”
3. Is it fruitful?
As Christians, we live by a standard laid out by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5 and outlined by Jesus in John 15. We should bear fruit. Fruit that is kind, loving, gentle, patient, joy-filled, faithful and good. If what we have to say or type from behind a computer screen is none of these things, then it should not be shared.
We hold a great responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves, even if we disagree with how they raise their children. Cold, faceless judgment, does nothing to spread the love of Jesus, so we should think twice before parent shaming anyone.