Sensory Scout Blog

Handling Criticism of Your Parenting Style

Posted by Vanessa Caalim on

Handling Criticism of Your Parenting Style

Every parent faces criticism of their parenting style at some point in their lives. And parenting a child with sensory issues can be especially tricky. Well-meaning friends and family might give their two cents with good intentions, but they don’t always have the insight and understanding to produce helpful advice.

Sometimes, it’s a comment from a neighbor at the park. Other times, it’s constant judgment and critique from someone closer. Both can wound your self-esteem and make you feel defeated. Parenting a sensory kid is challenging enough without taking judgment to heart, so look to these tips when you feel down.

How to Take Judgment From Others

Engage in Active Listening

When people criticize your parenting, it’s natural to defend yourself, or your child, right away. Taking a few deep breaths to engage in active listening can help. The person dispensing their opinion might not understand that your child has unique sensory needs. Gently enlightening them after they’ve said their piece raises awareness.

Try to remember that each encounter with judgment is an opportunity to help someone better understand the needs of sensory kids. The information you provide might save another parent from unwarranted criticism down the line.

Know What to Accept and What to Disregard

People have firm opinions about parenting. Because everyone faces criticism, some parents build up a vigorous defense of their particular style. Before taking offense, it’s important to remember that the person judging your parenting might be acting out their insecurities and uncertainties.

Parenting transforms from generation to generation, and many moms and dads want to break away from the parenting patterns of their youth. Consider whether the person offering their opinion is from another era or might not be aware of sensory needs. If you can, try to assume a posture of humility that lets you accept good advice while discarding what’s irrelevant.

Be Confident in Your Parenting Style

No one knows your child as well as you do, and parenting is not a competition. If someone hurts your feelings with harsh words, take time to relish moments of progress. Focus on how you and your child have grown, the obstacles you’ve faced, and the challenges you’ve overcome.

It’s easy for someone to judge a single moment. But as their parent, no one is more qualified to anticipate and meet your child’s needs. If you feel misunderstood as the parent of a sensory kid, take a moment to consider how that might help you relate to your child when they feel misunderstood.

Finding Support is Essential

Criticism might be inevitable, but a solid support system is essential. If you face constant judgment, you’ll need to counter that negativity with genuine support and understanding. After all, humans evolve and transform by love, not shame.

At Sensory Scout, we have a community of parents all across the globe who identify with sensory challenges. We have a Facebook Group  where you can connect with parents, watch free teletherapy videos, swap stories, and find excellent sensory solutions for every need

Conclusion: Handling Criticism of Your Parenting Style

It’s challenging, but it can be helpful to view criticism as an opportunity. Every time someone challenges your parenting, consider whether it might be a chance to:

  • Share valuable insight into sensory challenges and raise awareness
  • Accept a suggestion as helpful and grow as a parent

In both of the above scenarios, you can walk away feeling good about yourself. Also, try to note the difference between well-intentioned advice and mean-spirited ridicule. The first is worth your humble consideration. The second is not.

If you’re feeling wounded by someone’s words, take some time to yourself. Consider whether there’s anything useful in their opinion, then confidently continue on your way. We all make mistakes and have bad days, but the best support and advice come from a place of love, compassion, and empathy. So if no one has told you lately, “Keep it up. You’re doing a great job!’


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