UK: Learning Not to Judge Others

UK: Learning Not to Judge Others

It would have been so easy to judge these young mothers in Ethiopia but they were doing a phenomenal job of mothering

It would have been so easy to judge these young mothers in Ethiopia but they were doing a phenomenal job of mothering

As parents there are so many things we want to teach our children. Of course we want them to grow up to be well-rounded adults who are kind, compassionate, humble, resilient, loving, fun and display sound judgement but each of these traits takes time to develop and serious modelling from us, as parents.

If we are to be role-modelling these positive attributes then we need to have developed them too and realistically some are much easier than others. It is so simple to show love and affection to your child and in doing that helping them to take this skill into adulthood, the same with fun but what about a trait like resilience, humility or judgement?

These skills are much harder to teach and we have to have learned them ourselves first to even be able to consider passing them on. We also have to be willing to take a risk and allow our child to see us in a vulnerable state, when we are admitting that we made a mistake, that life doesn’t always go to plan and that it is wrong to make snap judgements.

It is far too easy to jump to conclusions and make judgements about another person. We see them or a situation and within a split-second we could have made a judgement about who they are or how they live their life but that’s not a good thing. Yes, it might be perfectly natural and until our brains are trained we all do it but that doesn’t make it right. We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response in a situation that scares or worries us and judgement is part of that. Have a read of this short scenario –

We see a very cute, small dog tied up in the street and go over to pet it. Crouching down and chattering away to the dog as you get really close, offering your hand first so as not to scare it. It starts to bare its teeth and snarl, all of a sudden snapping at you and pulling the lead taught. Well, my judgement was off there you think to yourself, I wonder what the dog’s problem is. Then as you turn your back to walk away, you see the owner come back and it is a woman, much like you, same build, blond hair and she shouts at the dog and then hits it and you see this formally brave pup start to cower and whimper and all of a sudden you understand. You represented a risk to that poor little creature, you looked like the woman who mistreats it.

This scenario remind us that we never know the story or a stranger, be it a dog or a person and that is why it is so important that we learn to use judgement in the right way. Of course we still have to make judgements every day and keep ourselves and our families’ safe but we can drop the judgemental behaviour, the looking down on other people and the words and actions that can isolate and even devastate another.

What I’ve found is that the amount we judge others normally equates to the way we feel about ourselves. If we are 100% happy with our lives then it is unlikely that we will take the time to find fault with the way someone else looks or dresses but when we feel down on ourselves then it is so much easier to justify our own failings by picking theirs out too.

It is therefore impossible to drop the judgemental attitude without working on some other fundamental character traits like humility and contentment and of course it isn’t always easy at first when we want (or know we need ) to change. It can be painful but it will be really worthwhile.

Here are some tips to help us teach our kids (but first ourselves) not to judge –

  • Be mindful – catch your own thoughts and realise what you were thinking, negative judgements may still pop into your mind but push them away and replace them with positive affirmations
  • Pause and then think before you speak or act – such a simple one but really necessary. When you catch those thoughts, don’t let them turn into actions or words, remember how they are likely to wound someone else.
  • Think the best of people – look for the good in everyone, it is there. Even your neighbour that drives you crazy has some redeeming qualities and when you choose to focus on them you will shift the whole balance of your relationship.
  • Depersonalise – When someone says something that you don’t like or agree with, let it go. They are just expressing an opinion or living life in their way, it is not all about you.
  • Look for the connection – One of the things I have discovered whilst travelling to new countries in the last few years is that even though on the surface situations might look so different, we are more alike than different. At the end of the day all the mothers I have met just want the best for their children.
  • Fight the fear – when you judge it comes from a place of fear but when you seek to acknowledge and address the fears you can be free from them
  • Get involved – in initiatives that open your eyes to what is happening in your neighbourhood. I volunteer at the local food bank and winter night shelter and it would be so easy to judge the people who come into the food bank with smart clothes and a pristine iPhone but then I might find out their house burnt down and they didn’t have insurance, so yes they really do need the emergency food parcel.
  • Stop judging yourself/ Feel good about yourself – Life is so much easier when you are kind to yourself. We are all fallible humans and we make mistakes, life isn’t perfect and you will fall short of your own expectations at times but that is OK. No-one ever became the best they could be by beating themselves up. Admit the mistake, look for the learning point and move on.

Being content and free of negative judgement is an absolute blessing and I think Brené Brown sums it up well: “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.”

If this is an area you have struggled in and worked through then I’d love to hear any tips that you have that might help others too.


Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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SWITZERLAND: Transitioning Children

SWITZERLAND: Transitioning Children

After five moves in five and a half years, I have been accustomed to gear up for change. The excitement of something new; the sadness of leaving what we have grown accustomed to; the packing and the unpacking; the curiosity of a new place; missing the last place.

But what I wasn’t prepared for when we started this journey was my role as a mother and wife, which  leaves me not only to anticipate my own transition but that of each family member.

Our family recently made the move from Switzerland back to the U.S. It was a move we were very much looking forward to, but it didn’t occur without the ever-flowing mix of emotions that comes with moving.

We hated leaving behind our dear friends, whom we had made so many wonderful memories with, not to mention the cheese and chocolates! But, we also eagerly waited for the time when we would return to a more familiar life in the United States, where we would be near family and friends.

Over the past few months, we have ridden the roller coaster of transition. Although we are not out of the woods yet, I thought I would pass on a few things that helped my kids, in particular, with this transition. (more…)


Kristen is a stay-at-home to two little boys, Jackson (4 yrs) and Owen (nearly 2 yrs). She was born in New York, but eventually made her way down to Texas. She and her husband, Seth, met in Dallas and were married in December 2005. Nine months into their marriage Seth received a call that he had landed his dream job, one catch, it involved world wide assignment. The adventure took them from Texas to Washington, D.C., on to Bogotá, Colombia and then back to Washington, D.C before bringing them to Bern, Switzerland! Kristen and her family have currently lived in Bern for more than 1 year, where her husband works for the US Department of State. Four moves and 2 children in nearly 6 years of marriage have made for quite the adventure in motherhood! Kristen finds motherhood to be one of the most humbling and character building things she has ever experienced. The responsibility of raising boys with integrity and respect at times feels daunting, but she couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Kristen is a Speech Language Pathologist but has taken time away from working to focus on her family. Although she enjoys the travel and adventure involved in her husband’s career, she often finds herself feeling far from home and working to make the most of time abroad! On her blog, Seasons Worth Savoring, Kristen writes about daily life with two little boys, including her experiences as she navigates a foreign culture and walks by faith. In her free time, or rather in her busy time with two boys attached to her legs, Kristen enjoys cooking, photography, antique and thrift store shopping, working on crafts, and blogging.

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Massachusetts, USA: Interview with Kyla P’an

Massachusetts, USA: Interview with Kyla P’an

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. If you are familiar at all with the Boston Marathon, we’re half way in, half way out (13.1 mi from the start or finish line).

No, I’m not from here. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an area known as the “Main Line.” But also in New England, where I spent my summers and attended boarding school from an early age. My husband and I met in Boston, moved to Washington, DC for a few years and then returned here for business school and to raise our kids.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English and Japanese. My husband and kids speak English and Mandarin Chinese. If I want to keep up, I better start learning Chinese soon or my two-year-old is going to start  plotting cookie jar raids with his sister and I’ll never know! (more…)

Kyla P'an (Portugal)

Kyla was born in suburban Philadelphia but spent most of her time growing up in New England. She took her first big, solo-trip at age 14, when she traveled to visit a friend on a small Greek island. Since then, travels have included: three months on the European rails, three years studying and working in Japan, and nine months taking the slow route back from Japan to the US when she was done. In addition to her work as Managing Editor of World Moms Network, Kyla is a freelance writer, copy editor, recovering triathlete and occasional blogger. Until recently, she and her husband resided outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where they were raising two spunky kids, two frisky cats, a snail, a fish and a snake. They now live outside of Lisbon, Portugal with two spunky teens and three frisky cats. You can read more about Kyla’s outlook on the world and parenting on her personal blogs, Growing Muses And Muses Where We Go

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