Listen now (20 min) | After watching other families, I had to start questioning myself as a parent. Have you?
Of course I have. Every time I leave the house. I’ve also experienced someone coming to me about my child.
Yes, publicly. This was over a year ago before my daughter was born. I took my almost two year old son into a coffee shop and he bumped his elbow on the doorframe on the way in. That made him holler. After that, he was throwing tantrums about little things like asking for marshmallows in his hot cocoa and I didn’t respond immediately because I was checking to see if marshmallows were an option. Stuff like that. He was loud and clearly agitated. I placed my order and moved to the side wall to squat down (I was 8 months pregnant) and address him. It was then that a man came up to me and gruffly told me to make my “little brat” shut up. That he was in the corner trying to get work done and couldn’t focus with me bringing the whole freaking circus into this coffee shop. And that next time I should take the damn drive thru.
I was very embarrassed.
A man and woman at a nearby table asked the man to calm down and advocated for me that I was doing the best I could.
I took my order and left. I haven’t taken my son into a little personal shop like that since and I won’t until I’m confident in his ability to listen to me and my ability to address those circumstances under duress. I still think the man was a jerk in the way he went about it, and my son was just shy of 2 years old, but I really disliked being on the receiving end of someone’s irritation with my kid.
Oh, I understand the man’s frustration. I would have gone about it differently myself, but I don’t blame the man for feeling inconvenienced and put upon by the public tantrum of a stranger’s child. It was an enlightening experience for me and not only for how I want to teach my son, but how I, as the mother, adult, and responsible party would conduct myself in a similar situation in the future.
I tend to be that annoying old woman that calls out children for being brats. But lately, I'm not sure it even matters. The parents are brats...