How To Respond When Someone Says Something Negative About Your Parenting

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by Courtney Clayton Jenkins

Today, I was in Target going through grabbing a very short list of items that we needed while we were on an out-of-town trip and my son Caleb could not stop crying.

He wanted desperately to be out of his car seat, but I was by myself and it simply was too much at the moment. As I’m standing in the checkout line, another woman comes over, looks at Caleb crying, and says, “Your mommy should be ashamed for letting you cry like this.”

I was instantly embarrassed and ashamed. She had said these offensive words in the presence of many people while I was doing my best at the moment with my son.

Instantly she had planted a negative seed in my very Spirit, which was already running on empty. My question became how do I uproot what her negativity had planted? She had embarrassed me publicly and I did not know what to do. Another woman a few rows behind me said,  “Oh honey, mine was just like that too. Don’t worry.”

As I drove back to the hotel thinking about all that had occurred, I asked God, How do I uproot this seed? I feel it taking root and I sense that an insecurity has been planted that I will now try to overcompensate for. Help me.

And God’s words back to me were, “Whose report will you believe…The first woman who said you ought to be ashamed…Or the second woman who said honey it’s alright.”

I realized in that moment….indeed it was alright. I chose to let my son cry because he can’t always have what he wants when he wants. Teaching my son that simple lesson doesn’t make me a bad mom. I have no reason to be ashamed and today I will believe these words were sent from God, “Oh honey, it’s alright.” And I say back, “Yes…it is alllllll right.”

Don’t let seeds of bitterness and negativity plant in your Spirit. In the midst of someone trying to plan what ought not be, listen for God. If the focus is just on what has been planted and not on God’s desire to uproot you, you will miss him.

Right now my son is as happy as can be staring at me (he’s smiling) and I want him to know his mommy is confident that she’s a good mommy.

I hope this post helps someone today.

Courtney Clayton Jenkins is the pastor of the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio.