“Girls think other people’s opinions are a good way to judge their abilities,” Mindset author Carol Dweck mentioned in a speech last night. Through her extensive research on fostering success, Dweck found that girls, and as a result women, give far more weight to other people’s opinions than their male peers.
I found this interesting as I often wonder “Why do we really care what other people think of our parenting choices?” If her research holds true, and considering that she is dubbed “one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation” I’m betting that it does, it is ingrained in our learning style to trust other’s opinions as an accurate measure of our abilities.
Taking it one step further, if another parent criticizes our parenting skills, we innately assume it’s an accurate assessment and have a hard time shrugging it off. I’m constantly surprised by how riffled I get when other people, even random strangers, make snide comments about my kids or my parenting. Many readers have shared similar experiences, some holding a grudge for years.
After the lecture, I asked Dweck how we could teach our daughters not to internalize this judgment and she responded with advice that is applicable for both ourselves and our daughters. “Potential cannot be diagnosed. Another person can give an appraisal of where you are now, but it is not relevant to your future potential. No one can diagnose your ability to succeed in the future with effort and dedication.”
In other words, don’t waste your time licking your wounds or rationalizing reasons to ignore negative feedback. Rather, try to learn from the criticism (if relevant) as you continue to evolve in your parenting role.
What do you think? Do you have other thoughts on Why we care what others think about our parenting?