Last week Carpenter had a driving lesson prior to his driving test. Afterwards the instructor discussed the areas needing fine tuning and suggested a few more lessons. Thinking about how we had managed to get him thus far (120 hrs of supervision) and feeling totally confident in concentrating on those areas myself, and considering that each lesson is $50 a lesson I brushed him off with a mumble about the cost. The instructor answered “I understand, but what price for your child’s safety?” I saw red!!!!
Why is it considered within today’s society, totally permissible for strangers to pass judgements on parents? Obviously this is not the first time I have encountered these types of remarks. From pre-conception through to young adulthood parents of our generation feel the pressure of an endless list of decisions; diet, birth-plans, vaccination, circumcision, breastfeeding/bottle-feeding, co-sleeping/controlled crying, to be a ‘stay at home’ parent(totally not supported by society) or juggle parenting and outside employment, discipline approaches, educational choices, extra-curricula activities, enrichment programs, the list is endless. Everyone has an opinion and are often not shy in voicing it.
Then there are the experts in various specialities who feel passionate about their chosen field, their way is best, and guilt and pressure are applied if you dare to differ in view. The expertise of experts can be a strong support system and should be employed in many situations, yet it concerns me that in many areas our parental competence is unsupported and undermined by society. There is a strong trend for parents to employ extra curricula for their young babies and tots, water confidence classes, music appreciation and preschool for even younger ages is on the rise. These classes are often not engaged for social purposes, but because parents are made to feel incompetent with their little ones.
The majority of parents are attached, focused and in tune with their child, they are equipped to nurture and foster the best in their child, for complete strangers to feel a right to pass judgements indicates something is wrong with our society. We are no longer raising our children ‘in a village’ with community support, we are not built up but undermined and our confidence torn down. God entrusted our children to us, we do not need to hand them over to others. We need to empower parents!