Go Ahead, Let Your Child Misbehave In Public & Hurt Himself

Someone please explain to me why some parents insist on telling YOU off when you try to stop their child from doing something potentially self-destructive in public?

On my way into work this morning I stopped in a local grocery store because I accidentally left my lunch on my kitchen counter. While in the produce section to get an apple, I observed a toddler standing up and hopping up and down in a shopping cart - in the part of cart where his butt is supposed to be on the seat and he's supposed to be strapped in.

Where was his parent? I had no idea, so in my firmest teacher voice I said, "Sit down," and then gave him "The Look". You know, the look that says, kid, I am not playing with you. Do what I just told you.

The boy sat down and then I smiled at him and praised him for sitting because otherwise, "You might fall out of the shopping cart and bust your head open on the floor."

What do I hear next? His jackass father bellowing, "Get away from my son!"

This man came rushing up all red in the face, clutching a bunch of radishes - mind you, the radishes are a good 30 feet away from his child in the shopping cart - and yelling, "I'm calling security!"

Seriously, homie? I'm saving your son from possible permanent brain damage and you're yelling at me? And I told him so. I told him how dare he be such an irresponsible parent that he left his child unattended in a shopping cart. "I guess you'd be happier if he'd fallen out after standing up in it?"

I think I might have called him a something that rhymes with the word stick but I can't verify that.

It's just such a shame that the whole idea of a village raising a child is out the window for some folks who are feeling themselves and their privilege so much that they don't think anything or anybody should ever check their child.


Oh, AMEN. And what if someone had just scooped that child right up and kept walking? People protect their personal electronics better than they do their children, I swear. These are the same people who say "I got tired of fighting with him about the seat belt" and "he won't wear a bike helmet anyway".

Children want discipline, they want structure - they don't want to be hurt, they just don't know what the dangers are in the world. That's what adults are supposed to be doing - teaching them. Too bad some people don't get that.

You keep on keepin' on. :) So will I.
Daniel Barassi said…

All I have to say :)
Jameil said…
WOW!! You left YOUR child unattended & you want to call security on ME?? Please do!!
Nina said…
Yes, yes. AMEN!

The thing that annoys the HELL out of me is parents at playgrounds who ignore their kids while their kids terrorize other children. I've gotten negative reactions when I've told other people's children to stop hitting/pushing/throwing sand at MY child. So instead I've started telling my child in a loudish voice, "That child is not playing nicely. It is not okay to hit. Let's go play somewhere else." I know it's passive aggressive, but I can't deal with other parents telling me off for trying to get their child to stop hurting mine.
Remnants of U said…
Good for you & the child listened. Which proves he needs a little guidance.

So you called the dad something that rhymes with stick..Ha! Ha! you were right.
Tiny's Mom said…
Not that I would ever leave my child unattended in a shopping cart but I would be grateful if someone stepped in to save her from catastrophe or even told her to stop doing something/saying something that is not nice or dangerous. Not that she ever would since she is the perfect child :)
Anonymous said…
Dear Liz,

Unfortunately this happens in Romania all the time. And I asked myself why a mother or a father would not be grateful when I am just trying to help cause I care about other kids, not only about mine. Well, I think I have the answer for all the cases I came across: in Romania there is a very high sense of ownership of your own children. Many mothers use the sentence: I MADE YOU, I'LL KILL YOU if I feel like! So, I guess people think that once they had a child, it is THEIRS, and this means whatever the treatment, lack of care or unlove they have for their kids, anyone else should just stay away!
nick said…
The guy is a prize jerk. Why would he not want some observant person to save his child from being hurt? And why would he leave his child unattended in the first place?

Fluffycat is right, children want discipline and structure - and guidance. They don't want to be left to themselves in a confusing and dangerous world.
Liz Dwyer said…
The Little Fluffycat,
SO true! People will chain their iPhone to their pants and won't know where their kid is! As much energy as the dad put in to hollering at me, he should've had that energy focused on making sure his kid was OK.

Crying kids don't bug me, but parents who don't set their kids up for success in public definitely do.

EXACTLY! He was ridiculous! In there at 8:15 AM with that madness!

Oh yes, playground behavior is out of control and I take a similar approach to you. There's a kid that regularly swears at my boys and his mom doesn't do anything at all. She sits there and I know she can hear him cussing because I can hear him!

LOL, yes, I sure did call him that. He was out of pocket!

Tiny's Mom,
Aww, little Tiny is adorable! I'd love someone to save my boys, too. I wouldn't run up on them threatening to call security!

You might be right, there's a sense of ownership and belief that you can treat a child however if it "belongs" to you. That's a shame.
Liz Dwyer said…
Don't you know, getting an amazing bunch of radishes is more important than making sure your kid is safely sitting in a shopping cart! ;)
digal704 said…
Some people are jerks! They also don't understand the responsibility of being a parent.
Liz Dwyer said…
Sure don't... and then want someone else to parent for them!

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