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Parent shaming: When is it about protecting kids and when does it cross the line?

360: Moms say they're being judged more than ever
Posted: 6:10 AM, Aug 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-10 12:41:45Z

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at  360@TheDenverChannel.com . See more 360 stories  here

DENVER — Parenting is hard – and you don’t always know if you’re doing it right. But most parents don't want a complete stranger to tell them they’re doing it wrong.

Denver7 is going 360 on the issue of "parent shaming." When is it about protecting children, and when is it crossing the line?

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times sparked an intense conversation online. In the article “Motherhood in the age of fear," the author recounted how she left her 4-year-old child in the car while she quickly ran into a store. Someone in the parking lot recorded her actions and called police, leading to her being arrested.

The author says what happened to her is an example of "mothers being harassed and judged for making rational parenting decisions."

But not everyone agrees. The founder of Kidsandcars.org , an advocacy group that aims to prevent children from being left in cars, says it's never okay to leave a 4-year-old child in a vehicle alone.

"I really wish the issue of children being left alone in vehicle wasn’t the center argument or point of this whole discussion, because parent shaming IS an issue, it IS a problem. But our bottom line is if you talk to the parents that have lost a child in this manner you would never even consider doing this," Janette Fennell said.

We spoke to parents who had different takes on that issue.

"We don’t live in safe world any more. Would you regret leaving your kids for 5 minutes and come back and he’s not there?" asked Nayara Salvego.

"I’ve gone into the store and let them have their TV on so they can watch their 'Coco' and they’re just fine for a minute and a half," Sarah Gayton said.

Nikki Brooker, the founder of a Highlands Ranch moms group,  YANA M2M , said there are better ways to help if you feel a child is being left in an unsafe situation.

"Instead of throwing those stones, what if we all just supported each other and said, 'Can I stand by your car here while you run in and get that milk?' Instead of, 'Hey let me call the cops on you because you're doing something wrong.' How about we support each other instead of shaming each other?"

We want to know what other parents think about the issue of parent shaming. Have you ever been "shamed"?  Do you think it's bigger problem now than in the past? Are there better ways to interact with fellow parents? Join the conversation right now on the Denver7 Facebook page .