We all do it. Judge people. Walking in the mall, watching television, eating out, many of us ‘people watch’ and make snap judgments about others based on the way they look or their mannerisms. We should. Sort of.
I’m not talking about casting stones though. I’m talking about evaluating your surroundings.
It’s a natural form of self-preservation. A safety feature built right into our brains. If you’re ever walking down a dark alley and a hooded man is quickly approaching you an alarm may go off telling you to get the heck out of there. At least it should. If you are playing with your kid in the park and a shifty character seems to be coaxing a child into a van, an alarm should go off. This is obvious.
That anxiety, that fight or flight, that jolt of adrenaline is there for a reason. Trust it.
But what about other instances where it’s not so in your face? Your Mother-in-law hires someone to help her around the house and this guy is way too sweet and soft-spoken. Your daughter befriends another child who’s father goes in for the snuggle rather quickly. Or even less obvious… The parents of your child’s friend seem really nice and the kids play well together. Do you really know how those parents act when you’re not around? You need to try to learn as much about them as possible for the safety of your own child. We need no judge.
If you cuss on a regular basis (especially if you can’t seem to sensor yourself around your own children) I’m not letting my child spend the night at your house. If you’re quick to grab your child in an aggressive manner to discipline without there being an emergency, I’m not leaving my child with you.
Why don’t you ever let your kid spend the night with us? Because I’m judging you. It’s not just about whether my child will make it through the night without an ER visit. What kinds of things will you be imprinting on my innocent child’s mind? I’ve been told that I’m a “helicopter parent”, that I can’t protect her from the world, that I’m just preventing her from experiencing things for herself. I say, “I’m her parent, her guardian, it’s my job!” Granted it is a balancing act trying to make sure I don’t keep her from learning things she needs to experience herself, but when I CAN protect her tiny brain from all the crazy things this world will throw at her, I sure will. I’d be irresponsible not to. I’d be lazy at her expense not to.
I’m not telling you how to live your life. I’m not even suggesting you’re doing it wrong. I am taking into account all the things you do and how they will affect me. I am judging you and you should judge me.