20 Things You Should Absolutely Not Say to a Parent in 2020
Raising kids has never been easy, but the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made 2020 a year for the books. Despite the unprecedented challenges parents have faced, the criticism hasn't stopped rolling in. Some members of the parent police mean well — no, Karen, not you — but that doesn't make their comments any easier for exhausted parents to digest.
Thinking twice before criticizing a parent or doling out unsolicited advice is always advisable, but even more so in 2020. The pandemic has turned life as we know it upside down, and by this point, parents are just doing their best to — somewhat — keep it together. Read on to learn what parents don't want to hear from you this year.
"Your Kids Spend Too Much Time on Screens"
There's no need to state the obvious. No parent is proud of the fact that their kid spends hours each day staring at a screen, but it's called survival. Kids are happy when watching television or playing on an iPad, which means mom and dad can actually get something done.
"Virtual Learning Can't Be That Hard"
It's easy to say guiding your child through a Zoom class is easy, until you've tried it. Many parents are also simultaneously working from home, while filling in as their kids' teacher, which is actually pretty amazing. Give these superheroes the credit they deserve.
"Do You Ever Cook?"
In 2020, parents are expected to be their kids' teacher, best friend, and activities director — on top of everything else they already had going on — i.e., holding down the job that pays the bills. Something has to give, and if that's cooking, stop judging and praise them for supporting local restaurants.
"I Can't Believe You're Sending Your Kids to Daycare"
At the beginning of the pandemic, most daycares closed, causing quite a predicament for working parents. Since then, many have reopened, much to the relief of some families. No doubt, these parents have carefully weighed their choice, and your shaming is accomplishing nothing but adding even more stress to their plate.
"Something Has to Give — You Can't Do It All"
Parents are under a lot of pressure right now. Most understand the number of responsibilities on their plate is unreasonable, but they don't really have a choice. Instead of trying to convince them they're not up for the challenge, give them the support they need to keep up the great work.
"I've Accomplished More This Year Than Ever"
You've used your shelter-in-place to write a novel, paint your house, and organize your kitchen. That's great, but productivity for parents of young kids right now is more along the lines of remembering to shower. Tout your accomplishments if you dare, but expect serious side eye.
"You're Spoiling Your Kids"
The pandemic has been hard on everyone — including children. If parents are indulging their kids extra in 2020, that's a small win compared with all they've had to sacrifice this year. There's a lot worse happening in the world right now than kids being treated too well.
"Well, You Chose to Have Children"
Yeah, parents are really stressed right now, and they're complaining a lot. No one signed up for raising kids in quarantine, so shaming them for feeling overwhelmed is seriously insensitive. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
"You Look Tired"
A seemingly kinder — but actually not — way to say "you look horrible," no one wants to hear this. Parenting in a pandemic is exhausting, so of course they're tired.
"You Seem to Be Drinking More Than Usual"
To say 2020 has been stressful for parents is the understatement of the century. Sometimes this might necessitate opening a bottle of wine on a Tuesday — maybe before noon — because unusual times calls for unusual behavior.
"You're Being Paranoid"
When it comes down to it, no one really knows anything in 2020. You might think an overly cautious parent is being paranoid, just as they think you're being reckless. They won't change your mind, just as you won't change theirs.
"Why Are You Choosing to Homeschool?"
The hot debate of 2020: everyone has an opinion on whether kids should return to in-person school or be homeschooled. Every family is doing what's best for them, so mind your own business — unless you're asked to weigh in.
"Your Kids Need to Socialize More"
Socializing has become a heated topic in 2020. You're entitled to believe an outdoor playdate with a few friends is fine, just as the parent in question has the right to quarantine their kids away from non-household members.
"Do You Ever Discipline Your Kids?"
Quarantine has put many traditional rules of parenting on pause. Nothing is normal about life in 2020, so if parents feel like they need to look the other way more so than ever, just let them have it.
"Your House Is a Mess"
Quarantine means kids are home all the time, so many exhausted parents have put tidying up on the back burner — as in, it will happen sometime in 2021. They know their house is a mess, so unless you're volunteering to clean it for them, keep your comments to yourself.
"Your Kids Are Going to Fall Behind"
Parents want what's best for their kids, and many are concerned the pandemic will have a negative impact on their learning. Driving this fear home will only make them second-guess their decisions and feel more helpless in a time they need all the support they can get.
"Your Kids Need More Structure"
Obviously, life is not normal for kids right now. Parents are doing the best they can to maintain a sense of normalcy in a year that is anything but normal. Don't make them question themselves any more than they already are.
"I Can't Believe You Won't Let Me Visit"
Being apart from friends and family has been one of the most difficult parts of the pandemic. What's also hard for parents is having to repeatedly decline visits from those who don't respect their social-distancing standards. Don't call us, we'll call you.
"You Should Take a 'Me Day,' Just to Catch Your Breath"
You'd be hard-pressed to find a parent right now who doesn't dream of having a day to themselves. However, with kids home all the time and many businesses closed — i.e. spas — that's not a reality. Think before you speak.
"I'm So Bored in Quarantine"
Newsflash: boredom is a luxury for parents of young children in 2020. Stop bragging about all your free time.