I’ve long been an advocate for parenting the way you choose, to never criticize someone else, to have empathy for your momma co-parts and to really walk a day in their shoes before being so quick to judge. There are so many different parenting styles that it’s really unfair to be that mom: the know-it-all, that comments on everything you do thinking she’s better than you. With all that said though, there is one parenting style that you absolutely need to stop practicing immediately. I was guilty of it myself. In fact, I’m betting most parents are guilty of it without even thinking about it. Do NOT practice hypocritical parenting.
There is no true definition of a hypocritical parent. And I suppose that term can be taken a couple different ways but for the purposes of this piece, a hypocritical parent is one that preaches to their children about what to do but forgets to lead by example.
“Do as I say, not as I do.” Who thought of that quote anyway? That’s the worst quote I’ve ever heard. If you are a parent, you are shaping a human being, teaching her everything she needs to know about life and how to grow up into a healthy, smart and independent adult. What makes you think that they are going to learn by your words alone? Absolutely not. They are watching your every mood. You think adults notice all the reasons life’s not fair? Think again. Go talk to your 3-year-old. They catch EVERYTHING.
There are three big examples of this hypocritical parenting that I see most:
1. Healthy eating. How many times have you told your child they need to drink juice instead of soda but not hesitated to drink a soda yourself? How many times have you ordered the applesauce as their side dish for dinner but gotten deep fried onion rings for yourself? How about this? What did you do when you were pregnant? Took vitamins. Ate lots of fruits and vegetables. Drank a ton of water. Extra stretches. Went for walks. No caffeine or alcohol or smoking or heavy medications… And as soon as the baby was born what did you do? I bet most of you are answering that you went right back to where you started. You made healthy decisions for your child but not yourself? Sounds like a hypocrite to me.
2. Language. How often do we tell our kids, “Don’t say that,” or “That’s not nice?” You tell them not to curse, not to use yep or yeah or crap or hate or stupid… And guess what we say the second the kids aren’t around? These words don’t really add to intelligent conversation so why are we even using them? Words come with emotion. If you are teaching your child to say “Shoot” instead of the alternative are you actually helping them with that frustration? Think about it.
3. Actions. On one too many occasions, my daughter has caught me doing the exact opposite of what I tell her. “Eat all your food.” (“Mommy, you left food on your plate.”) “Look both ways before you cross the street.” (“I didn’t see you turn your head though.”) “Don’t run in the house, you’ll trip” (“How did you fall mom?”) Are you seeing my point?
So the quote about doing what you say definitely sucks. “Actions speak louder than words.” Now THAT is a quote I can get behind. Let’s live out our lives like we were taught by our parents to do and not conform to the norms of rude and unhealthy adults around us. Do not be that kind of hypocrite.
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