How do you tell someone they are a bad parent? If you are like most people, you do it as an anonymous poster on social media.
Unfortunately, that’s probably not very productive. When you feel you need to correct someone’s parenting, there is a right way and a wrong way.
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How to Tell Someone They Are a Bad Parent?
Correcting someone’s parenting takes finesse. No one wants to be told they are a bad parent. Use first-person language stating how you would change a situation, and then move on. If you feel the child is in danger, skip talking to the parent and take the matter directly to the authorities.
Steps to Tell Someone They are a Bad Parent
People have different ways of parenting. What one family decides is right for them isn’t necessarily right for every other family. Before telling someone they are a bad parent, stop and think about what is happening.
Dangerous Situation or Personal Irritation?
A mom who sees that another mom is making mistakes needs to pause before she intercedes. She should ask herself the following questions:
Question #1. Is this a dire health issue?
You may believe the safety of a child is being compromised. Maybe a toddler isn’t using a car seat. Perhaps a young child is playing with a pocket knife.
The child could be in an enclosed area, maskless, around a large number of people during a pandemic. Something that could immediately damage the health of the child or those around them is a reason for intervention.
Question #2. Will the child truly suffer if I don’t get involved?
A parent might be ignoring a child who is badly injured. Maybe you hear the parent needlessly yelling at or even physically harming their child. That may be time to intervene.
Question #3. Am I willing to provide actual help?
A child that is not given food, adequate clothing, or access to health care may be in extreme poverty.
Are you willing to purchase these things for the child if the parent is unable to? If so, step in. If not, telling a family what they already know will only hurt them further.
Question #4. Is this any of my business?
There are times, especially when abuse is suspected, that it’s your place to step in to stop the situation. Most of the time, the answer will be no. It’s not your business.
When Intervention is Necessary
You have determined that it’s absolutely necessary to speak to the parent. You need to think long and hard about what you’re going to say, how you are going to say it, and how you will deal with the repercussions of your own actions.
Here’s What You Need:
The materials you need will depend on the problem you’re seeing. You might want to purchase a book that backs up your claims. Some typical issues that could arise might need the following volumes:
- Your Baby's Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Good and Save Lives
- The Babyproofing Bible
- Get Sober, Stay Sober: The Truth About Alcoholism
A Step-by-Step Guide to Telling Someone They are a Bad Parent
This is the moment of truth. This is when you tell someone they are making mistakes with their children. Once you start down this path, there is no turning back.
Step 1: Understand Why You Want to Get Involved
Is your involvement really about the child or is it self-serving? Do you want your friend to improve their parenting skills or do you want to show off your wealth of knowledge?
If the answer isn’t 100 percent about the well-being of the child, you should back off.
Step 2: Plan What You’re Going to Say
Think long and hard about the issue. Understand the key points you want to make. Have some quick answers prepared for any questions that might arise.
Step 3: Talk to Your Friend Using “I” Statements
“I” Statements are communication methods that put you at the center of the issue rather than your friend.
Statements can begin with phrases like, “I feel uneasy about…” or “I need to talk to you about…” Follow the phrase with the issue at hand.
Step 4: Prepare for Backlash
You could very easily lose a friend by questioning their parenting skills. That must be a price you are willing to pay.
My Personal Experiences
I don’t think a parent should tell another parent how to raise their child unless real danger is involved. That doesn’t mean I have never stepped in.
Years ago, I learned that a family member was allowing her daughter to be physically abused by the child’s grandfather. I didn’t hesitate.
I called the family member and told her she needed to remove her child from that situation or I would be forced to call the authorities.
She used some colorful language and hung up. I called Child Protective Services. That family member has not spoken to me since then.
On the other side of the spectrum, a friend of mine insisted that I was being a terrible, abusive parent because I wasn’t more concerned about my son’s eyes. He was born with anisocoria, which means that one pupil is larger than the other.
My friend’s assumption was hurtful and unnecessary. He was seen by a doctor and a pediatric ophthalmologist about the condition when he was barely a year old. He received eye exams on a yearly basis and we were told, by three experts, that the disorder would not cause any vision problems whatsoever.
My friend didn’t bother to ask before she accused me of neglect. It was an unfortunate, uncomfortable and unnecessary encounter.
Think Carefully Before Confronting Another Parent About Parenting
How do you feel about telling another parent that they are raising their child wrong? Do you think it’s okay to tell someone they are a bad parent? What would you do if someone said these things to you? Give us your thoughts in the