How low can people go? Actress and singer Jana Kramer defended her daughter’s speech delay from online “bullies” on Monday after a handful of commenters attacked her progress.
“Listen up: I am always going to protect my daughter. I can handle bullies but when someone attacks my daughter and says mean stuff about her I am going to say something,” she wrote on Instagram. “This hasn’t been the first time someone has attacked her on my page, or dm’s, so I wanted to set the record straight.”
For months, commenters have slammed 3-year-old Jolie’s speech, saying horrible things like, “her three-year-old daughter still talks and behaves like a one-year-old” and “you can’t understand most of what she says.”
In her post, Kramer confirmed that Jolie, “has a speech delay,” and they see a speech therapist once a week for help. The One Tree Hill alum also said the process and the online criticism have adversely affected her self esteem.
“Look, I have already cried a lot over this thinking somehow I did something wrong or doubted myself, but I know that is not the case, but us moms love to beat ourselves up… The fact people attack her, and also me saying I’m a bad mom has really messed with me,” she said.
Kramer’s not alone in her feelings. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), it’s normal for parents to feel guilty if their children develop later than the average child. However, those feelings shouldn’t prevent parents from seeking out helpful resources, like a speech-language pathologist, for their kids. It’s also important to note that there are many reasons children may struggle with language (learning disabilities, hearing loss, auditory processing disorders, and even the kinds of foods they eat), very few of which have anything to do with parenting styles. In addition to seeking out the proper resources, parents can do a few things to help their children’s language development at home, like using longer sentences during conversations or practicing sign language.
Thankfully, Kramer concluded her post by saying she’s no longer going to tolerate grown adults picking on her toddler.
“Bottom line, all kids learn and grow at different paces,” she wrote. “So if you want to not like me that’s fine, but please don’t pick on my child. I will NOT stand for it. I have chosen to show my life and my kids online and maybe that is my fault, but I will not let u bully my kid. You don’t know what goes on in this house so please don’t be mean.”
You could apply that last line to so many contexts. It’s easy to see one photo on social media or to overhear one comment in public and assume we have the entire picture, but that’s rarely going to be the case. So, ease up on the negativity and practice some compassion. Or, at the very least, stay offline if you can’t refrain from being a jerk.