Whether it’s Mariah Carey or David Beckham being criticized for their young children using pacifiers, or Kim Kardashian bashed for flat ironing her five-year-old’s hair, parents are being shamed for their behavior.
Reality television and social media has helped shape society into voyeurs who are willing and eager to report any act they deem unacceptable.
The latest in mommy shaming has evolved into a “free-range parenting” bill.
Utah recently passed a bill that it's not neglect for a parent to allow their child to engage in independent activities like walking to school or riding a bike to the store. A conservative group is also pushing for a bill in Idaho. It failed in Arkansas, but there’s plans to bring it back again. A similar bill will go before the Texas Legislature in the next session.
Texas Public Policy Foundation Center for Families and Children Director Dr. Brandon Logan said social media has impacted the parenting culture by allowing a total stranger to publicly post something they disagree with and get immediate feedback.
“I think social media is making us more judgmental and less informed and that’s spills over into our judgment of parents,” said Logan.
He said before social media, if you questioned an activity, you went on with life, there wasn't a need for immediate feedback.
Licensed clinical social worker and child and family therapist Adam Russo said today's culture, as a whole, has become more insecure.
“People have to feel like what they’re doing is right, therefore they have to really highlight what other people are doing as wrong, to make themselves feel better,” said Russo.
He said it seems like those who brag the most about how wonderful they are, also judge the most. He advised that parents shouldn’t worry about what people are saying.
“Stay focused on that tracks that they believe are best for their kids and their family, and that will end up them raising kids into successful adults,” said Russo.
Logan said give people the benefit of the doubt and think in terms of safety—if there's no immediate danger, offer to help the parent, rather than shame the parent.
“Civil society is where we respond to one another without seeking condemnation or persecution from those in government or those on social media,” said Logan.
He added that dads are praised for watching their children, while Mom makes one wrong move and gets shamed publicly on social media.
A new Beech-Nut baby food survey finds four out of five millennial moms are shamed daily.