Mind Your Own Business: The Day A Stranger Disciplined My Child

YellPicThat Thursday … It started off a wonderful day. It was my first full day off from school, and my first day home with the kids. It also happened to be my daughter’s birthday. We had plans to go to the local indoor trampoline park with some friends. The morning was great! The kids had fun and were relatively well behaved. After the trampoline fun, I had to run an errand at Old Navy to return some shorts (as an aside, why is their sizing so awful??). The kids were not in the mood to shop. They were tired and antsy, and we were all probably a little “hangry.” Plus, shopping with 2 kids while trying to carry a sleeping baby in a car seat is pretty much impossible. I was frazzled. After playing hide and seek in the clothes, the kids already got iPad privileges taken away.

It was time to check out. The line was impossibly slow. My girls just wanted the candy I kept saying no to. I must have said “No treats!” a gazillion times. And that’s when it happened. The lady in line behind me decided it was her business to discipline MY child. She stepped up to her and said something like, “Mind your mama or you are going to get in trouble!” She didn’t say it jokingly or overly nasty. But she was very stern. My 2 year old started crying immediately, and I shot the lady the look of death while trying to comfort my now hysterical toddler. The stranger didn’t make my situation better but worse.

So here I was, left to corral the newly-minted 5 year old, while carrying a crying 2 year old, along with carrying a baby in the car seat and the pair of shorts I thought I could just breeze in and out to get. I checked out as fast as possible and got my kids to the car. As I was strapping the 2 year old in, she hiccuped between cries, “That lady scared me, Mama.” And I am 100% sure fear was part of what she was feeling. But I am sure she was also feeling embarrassed or maybe ashamed.

After telling this story to a friend, she brought up the point that public actions invite public scrutiny. I understand that. I also understand the “village” mentality. But here is how I feel about that: Unless you personally know me; unless my kids know you; unless you are the employee in the store; unless my kids are somehow in danger or about to harm your child … Mind Your Own Business. You Do You. If I didn’t think I could deal with my kids in public, I wouldn’t have taken them out in public. Also, the quick trip to the store you see them acting out is just a glimpse into my long day. You don’t know anything about my life or children, so please keep all negative commentary to yourself.

Unless you are part of my village or willing to shoot me either a sympathetic glance or just say something as simple as, “You are doing a good job. You got this!” don’t say anything at all. I don’t expect my kids to listen to random strangers telling them what to do. I have enough doubts on a daily basis about my parenting skills that I don’t need the random lady in the store reminding me that I am half-assing this job most days.

What do YOU think?

57 Responses to Mind Your Own Business: The Day A Stranger Disciplined My Child

  1. AW June 9, 2015 at 6:23 am #

    Anybody that has ever been to old navy knows you’re not running in and running out. You even admit that everyone was tired. It’s easy to pass judgement, but you probably should have skipped that errand and went home. Maybe not convenient for you, but best for your three young children. It’s often said that children are over scheduled and sometimes that one last stop is just too much for them.
    I know this comes off as super judgie, but it saddens me to see all these overtired children being dragged from place to place because their parents can’t to stay home for some downtime. And yes, I have a small toddler and have missed quite a few activities because it’s nap time or we just need some ‘hometime’.

    • Kpac04 June 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

      I completely agree. I’ve been a single mom of four and we always made nap time a priority.

      If you want the village to help when you need, you need to be a responsible member of the village. I get that you feel she overstepped, but she backed you up, she had your back.

  2. Natalie June 9, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    Thank you! I have been there and it infuriates me! It always makes the situation worst because #1. They are scaring my child, as she doesn’t know you. And #2. Most likely they say something in a tone or word it in a way that my husband and I don’t speak to our children and they feel ashamed and embarrassed. I am trying to come up with a nice, but stern and “mind-your-own-business” type of reply for next time….

  3. Jill June 9, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Well said, Megan! I have a little boy who has a problem expressing his frustrations, and it is infuriating when strangers try to “handle” him. It just incites the problem, and they have no idea how we even ended up at point b! Bravo, Girl!

  4. Beth June 9, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    Where to begin?
    Did it occur to you that not only were your three angels making your quick errand more difficult, but also the errands of other people in the store? Maybe it would have been better to run this particular errand at another time; possibly when dad can be with them while you run in? The gazillion times you told your children no to the candy may not have been heard by your children, but this woman got to hear you every single time. Maybe she saw your frustration and wanted to help you out? And I don’t consider what she said as disciplining your child. It was more advising your child that actions have consequences (in theory at least).
    As for the village, we are all members. Therefore, let’s all be considerate of each other, and think about the impact of your actions not only on your daily life, but also on the daily lives of others.

    Instead of “you do you”, how about ” we’re all in this together”?

    • Jen Thomas June 9, 2015 at 11:52 am #

      Well it’s Old Navy, not Saks Fifth Avenue. If your expectation of shopping at Old Navy is a quiet, zen-like experience sans any child noise or whiny negotiations . . . then your Old Navy is nothing like the ones where I shop, LOL.

    • Cgristy June 9, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      Let me just say this, if I was in line in front of you Beth and you decided I was making your checkout difficult, and decided to say something to MY child, you can bet your ass, you’d be dealing with the first ass whipping in public you ever seen! You are a smartass, and seems your view of shopping is warped. You were a kid once and I am sure NO ANGEL, every child has a fit and I know you are not the exception at all! lol The lady was wrong, and your view is ignorant….PERIOD!!!!!!!

      • Emmy July 9, 2015 at 10:34 am #

        Oh really? Instead of disciplining your child in any way for not listening to you, you’re gonna “whip the ass” of the person who has become fedup with your lack of intervention and has done so themselves? Rather than show your kids that THEIR actions have consequences, you’ll show them that that you beat up on anyone who isn’t afraid of showing you that you and your child are being a nuisance? Real good parenting right there.

      • Sammy August 12, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

        Be careful… one day the ass whopping you expect to give might be one you get. Some people know how to fight back. People who don’t feel the need to control their kids in public often have a hostile attitude toward others. Very few can actually back it up. All bark, no bite.

      • jese October 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

        I am astonished at the responses I see…ANY strangers feelings of being fed up with “your lack of” what they observe to be needed discipline is born of their lack of understanding…period….No stranger really has the right to give you or anyone random advice…because….THEY are ignorant of the situation in its whole…they are a passerby, a…STRANGER….even if they are part of your village…it does not mean that they are in any position to say anything to any ones child….if random villagers presume to assert their authority then I will have the right to question their authority, by asking who the hell they think they are….maybe they are the village idiot.

  5. Kelly June 9, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    That person wasn’t “disciplining” your child. I assume the person was attempting to help you, a frazzled mother, by speaking to your child. Usually a stranger holds more influence than their own parent because the child is unsure how to gage and/or test the other person’s limits. Also, you should put yourself in the other person’s position and realize that they were probably annoyed by the situation and had had enough.

  6. Rebecca June 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Honestly, the lady just probably thought she was being helpful. Had your kid not been scared (not your kids fault, I’m just saying)– you probably would have given the lady a smile instead of a look of death. I’m not sure about the it-takes-a-village stuff, but certainly there’s a do-unto-others book, and she probably saw a lady with her hands full, literally, and wanted to do something to help. Rather than judge her, get aggravated and write an article about it, you should just appreciate the random act of kindness and move on, and explain to your kid that the lady was trying to be helpful. It didn’t work, kindness often doesn’t… but she could have been rude, she could have made an inappropriate comment, she could have asked you to quiet your kids, she could have went all Walmart shampoo-aisle fight on you, but she didn’t. She said something to your kid to try to help you out. I don’t want us all to go through life suspicious and paranoid of others, and being on the defensive instead of spreading happiness and love.

    • Tori June 22, 2015 at 11:44 am #

      Thank you!!!!!

    • Kels June 22, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Yes! My first thought was, “She wasn’t disciplining anyone; she was trying to divert attention and help mom out.” I’ve done this in public when I see a frazzled mama… I’ve never (and would never) tell a child that she “better mind her mama,” but often I can recognize when someone needs a bit of help with their handfuls. Honestly, the child’s reaction is what prompted this mom’s negative response, and that begs the question, why were the kids being dragged around on errands if they were so overtired and cranky that they could burst into tears at the drop of a hat? I’d have mouthed a silent thank you to that woman, likely gotten the it’s-okay-I-get-it smile from her, and gotten my cranky kid home. Period.

      • Sarah August 24, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        Yessss

    • NL June 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

      Beth, I would have to agree with Rebecca.

      I’m not sure if you have ever seen a mother in need of help when you were younger, but I think the lady was trying to help you. I think the old lady was actually right… “better mind mama” means the little child has to listen to you and consider what mama thinks.

      This type of language is used all over the world EXCEPT in North America.

      The lady could’ve disrespected you and showed your child to disrespect you by telling you to shut your kid up. That is public display of disrespect. She actually went cost to your kid to tell her to listen to you or else mom will discipline you.

      I think you are embarrassed more than your child was, since you already said yourself that you did not need to be reminded that you’ve half-assed your parenting. I think you should really consider your mindset before you put anything in writing.

      Maybe there is more to this story but for what you’ve blogged it is really childish behaviour. Your words does not show or teach anyone to be sympathetic or empathic towards others. Your children may end up doing the same thing as you “complain” throughout their lives and not really do anything about it.

      Giving the lady a death look is not needed… Only teenagers do this. She had not killed your family not had she disrespected you. So I truly do not see why it was necessary for you to react that way.

      Set a good example for people. Your actions only show selfishness.

      • Anna April 25, 2016 at 2:16 am #

        YESSSS ^^^^THIS

    • Carol August 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

      Amen!

  7. MC June 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    I hate all the end caps at any store… Whether your kid is happy, perfect, tired or upset it makes the entire experience so much worse. The minute we have to wait even a second longer than anticipated the battle begins.

  8. Janie June 9, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    Wow, I am surprised at all of the negative responses to this! But maybe I shouldn’t be, because I myself have been at the receiving end of many of these rude comments, as people use the “village” excuse to release their own opinions these days. Maybe the other people commenting should think about the fact that making a comment threatening a child is NEVER OK, no matter what they are acting like, and especially if you don’t know them.

    I don’t care if my kids spoil your 10 minutes of shopping while we’re there. They are children, and they will occasionally act out. But even thinking she was helping doesn’t excuse the fact that she was threatening a baby. You don’t know what that lady had been through that day, that is true. But as you said, she didn’t know what you had either. A little compassion, especially for a two year-old, was definitely in order.

    • Sammy August 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

      “I don’t care if my kids ruin your 10 min in line” but the lady stuck behind you should care about ruining your 10 minutes in line by telling your kids to listen to mom? If you don’t care about her experience, she’s under no obligation to care about yours just because yours involves offspring. You can’t demand respect for yourself while you deny it to others.

    • Realmom January 28, 2016 at 4:45 am #

      Grow up! She was not threatening your child. Are you serious?! You sound like a brat.

      • Jean March 18, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

        That old sourpuss had no right to talk to her children. I personally would’ve made her personally wish she wouldve stayed out of it after she was done with her heart to heart.

      • Jennifer March 18, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

        That old sourpuss had no right to talk to her children. I personally would’ve made her personally wish she wouldve stayed out of it after she was done with her heart to heart.

  9. Cate June 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    All I KNOW is that when I was a child “No” meant “NO!” I never asked for anything a “gazillion” times. I was by no means perfect, but my (loving) Mom left no doubt as to who is in charge. These days, I see kids behaving this way in public all of the time. It’s incredibly annoying. I don’t mind it in the line at Old Navy, but I DO mind it when I’m trying to eat dinner somewhere. If your kids are incapable of listening to you and behaving, you may need to work on that before bringing them out in public and expecting no one else to have an opinion. You obviously adore your kids, and they’re very lucky to have that, but they should know not to ask more than once and to behave like this in public.

  10. Sammy June 9, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    The difference of opinions here is quite interesting to me. On one hand we have those who are considered to be negative…the ones who support the strangers actions and we have the supporters of the article…the ones who want to be the only ones to speak to their children.

    The major difference here boils down to parents who spank/punish, require respect and obedience vs those who want their child to feel free to be kids, never cry and stay happy about life all the time.

    It appears that there is not a happy middle of the road in the parenting. When I was a kid I remember these things happening in the grocery store. Kids would act up, the grandma aged woman saying now sweetie mind your mother, she works really hard to take care of you….I shape up right away, fight the tears because I know I am gonna get it when I get home and after going to my room without the treat my mom bought from the frozen aisle I hear her crying to my dad telling him how embarrassed she herself was. All I thought was… I did something that made mommy cry, she was so upset, I will be better next time I promise.

    Of course I was hyper, out of control and hungry again one day, and I started to act up… this time my mom grabbed me out of the seat, wheeled the groceries to the desk type area and she said something to the lady and we were out of there. My (and my Mom and Dad’s) dinner consisted of toast (dry) and milk. At dinner my mom made sure to make it clear that I was the reason we are eating bread as our dinner.

    That was all it took. Now for the following 10 or so years I have memories of the same grandma type woman and grandpa type man tell my parents that they had done such a great job parenting, they love to see well behaved kids with smiles. It became a regular thing to take me out to dinner with them because we understood how to act in public…(we were wild in the backyard and in the house still) but we became the kids who knew how to act at Weddings, Funerals and any other dress up type event. In fact we were sometimes the only kids my parents friends would invite to their parties and weddings because they knew what they would get with us.

    I love my parents to this day, and their way of parenting was not perfect…but allowing a child to act up in public is selfish and teaches them by your actions that they can get what they desire if they make a big enough scene. Think back to when you began behaving in public… think about how it happened… either – your parent told you to behave or you learned by watching your friends.

    Do your kid a favor…be the family the clerk is excited to see, be the friend your friends want to spend mommy and kiddo time with and be mom of the kids who gets complemented each time you leave the house.

  11. Antonia June 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    this was cross posted on to Knoxville Moms Blog. Overwhelmingly, the moms agreed that it was this author who was out of line and that the woman didn’t “discipline” as much as she tried to help. Maybe it’s a regional thing…in the south, we welcome a village to help us raise a child and thought that kids who were playing in the racks and having to be told a ton of times no, weren’t really under control. ::shrugs::

  12. J June 10, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    I was JUST talking about this very topic tonight! I recently had a woman in front of me in line “shush” my daughter (who was LAUGHING loudly) in front of me. I couldn’t believe the nerve! Needless to say, I did not exactly smile back at this woman and I told her not to shush my child and to let her be. She couldn’t believe I said something I guess because she claimed she was only joking. To me, it’s one thing if your child is running amuck, alone, and wild in a store, but it’s quite another to reprimand someone’s child in front of the parent AND when their loudness is from happiness and enjoyment…both of which I praise coming from a 2 year old that’s not saying, “no!” or “mine!”

    • NL June 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      I think you are correct in this situation. Your situation and the writer’s situation is different. Your child laughed loudly and it was probably once. And also laughing is not a stressor.

      I bet if you told your child to stop laughing or to go outside to laugh she would..

      I don’t think this is a case for the writer.

      Different circumstances.

  13. Monica June 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Something similar happened to another mom while I was at target. I’m a mom too. I saw her struggling to keep her toddler happy as she tried to check out. I reached into my bag pulled out a box of goldfish crackers and asked if it was ok to give them to her child. She smiled thankfully and said yes. I asked her child if they’d like some goldfish and the child happily took them. As a parent unless someone is getting hurt I don’t get involved. But, if I can help in any way I’m happy to oblige. I’ve been there. I was saved at a checkout line by an angel carrying snacks in her diaper bag too. A small gesture of understanding and kindness goes along way in helping another parent out.

  14. denise l. moore June 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    there’s such judgement in these comments. Seriously?

    Ddo i believe the stranger had good intentions? Maybe. Do i believe her tone could’ve been as judgey as that of some of the commenters here? Absolutely. Therein lies the grind.

    I try to help moms when I can, because, believe me, I’ve been there. It may take a village – but a village of individuals who will support you, not judge. What gets me is her assumption of “trouble.” She could’ve said it a million other ways “Mind your momma, so she can get her shopping done.” While i wouldn’t have been a fan of that either – it would’ve been better.

    If the 2 year old felt fear, i believe that woman was being judgmental, overbearing – and violating the business of this toddler and her momma.

    Her comments were unhelpful and out of line.

  15. Kristi June 13, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    I can see both viewpoints. But, I feel like it’s a bit of an overreaction. I’m sure the woman was trying to help. I know sometimes an outsider saying simply anything makes behavior stop, like, “oh, others are watching”.

    I doubt her intent was to make your child hysterical. Take it for what it is and let it go. Her story on her own blog would say something along the lines of trying to help another mom, but she just shot me a nasty look. Which the kids are learning are appropriate looks to shoot….

  16. Marcia June 13, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    Here is what I would have said to my kids.. “Did that lady embarrass you? See, when you are at a store other people are noticing how you behave. She said that because you weren’t listening to me. She was probably getting annoyed hearing you ask for the candy over and over again.” Kid says “But she scared me mom.” I would respond “When you’re out in public you never know how other people are going to react, so you need to have good behavior and not bother people.” Now if the lady was truly threatening then that’s another story but it sounded like the lady wasn’t actually going to do anything harmful.

    • Amanda June 21, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

      This x 1000. What a practical, logical response. A teachable moment, for sure.

  17. Alicia June 14, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    I think some of these “Articles” are becoming a little melodramatic. Holy cow. Your kid was misbehaving. Yes kids will be kids, but if that adult scared them into realizing that they are not the center of the universe then Good! She said a harmless comment that reiterated your instructions and authority.

    • Kerryec June 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Amen to that! I’m sure I wouldn’t have high fived the stranger or anything but I sure as heck would have told my children that if they don’t like getting in trouble by me OR anyone else then they should mind the first time.
      I don’t see how someone else letting your child know that they need to respect their Mom is a bad thing.

  18. Elizabeth June 16, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    I’m with you. “Unless you personally know me; unless my kids know you; unless you are the employee in the store; unless my kids are somehow in danger or about to harm your child … Mind Your Own Business. You Do You.”

    My toddler had a few meltdowns in her day one at a park because I didn’t bring the right goldfish and this man came up and wouldn’t leave us alone until we left and another at a Toy R Us of all places.

    Believe it or not, I know my kid better than you do and I know what she needs. Also as far as parents not doing ENOUGH for their kids by taking them home for naps or “hometime” Sometimes I need to run an errand, it just needs to be done. I won’t apologize for that. My kids will learn that sometimes things have to happen and they have to behave. We will get there. Until then – keep your comments to yourself.

    • NL June 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

      Your circumstances are different from the writer’s.

      Kids will be kids. You were not “frazzled” or distressed. You had a lot more control of the situation that the writer did.

      I agree a stranger should not randomly come up to you without 1) introducing themselves to you and get your approval and 2) to attempt to cheer your child up unless that guy has been in your shoes and has some form of treat/snack for your child. I do find it uncalled for if a kid is crying and some random stranger comes up without anything but with intentions to stop the baby crying. I would’ve just offered you a treat so you can give it to your child and then get along my way.

      I get it that there are times where parents have to run an errand. I get it when kids misbehave.

      But your circumstances to your events are different from the writer’s.

    • Ari February 7, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

      Maybe your kids are still learning to behave in public because they have the same You Do You mentality as you, where they don’t care what anyone else thinks – including their parents. If they see you getting upset at/with people who try to modify their behavior (and they hear so much more than you think – especially if you complain about it later to another adult), they will see their behavior as okay and the adult trying to correct them as wrong. That’s a terrible message to send as it only makes it harder the next time you go out with them. The focus should be on their behavior and how it might incite reactions from people, even/especially ones that you or they view as negative. You could honestly even tell your children say that it annoys you when people approach you in public, and they are doing it only because the children are behaving a certain way. That way they connect the dots that the behavior is not acceptable and invites negative things (in your opinion) and it’s not all about the adults doing something wrong.

      I think if you teach children to respect, it has to be a respect for all people. You can’t just say respect your parents and have no regard for anyone else. And you can’t say to ignore or don’t worry about the opinions of others and then expect them to listen to you. Their behaviors will eventually be guided by an inner voice and they will either have respect for people or not – and parents are lumped in there with everyone else.

  19. RRBean June 16, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I would not have a problem with the stranger’s comment. Why were the children allowed to repeatedly ask for candy? They should know that behavior is annoying to those around them. I would have used it as an opportunity to teach the kids a lesson about behaving in public. No one should have his or her shopping experience ruined by someone else’s annoying kids. If you don’t want to deal with other peoples’ reactions, teach your kids to do better or keep them out of the stores. It is a good life lesson that if you behave badly in public (an any age), you may have to suffer the consequences of peoples’ reactions, and usually, they will not be pleasant.

  20. Cassie June 16, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    While I understand how this might have upset you, I completely disagree with your viewpoint. Although I obviously wasn’t there to witness the events unfold, it sounds like this woman was trying to help. Did it scare or embarrass your child? Sounds like it. And that’s actually a great life lesson. Children should learn that they’re not the center of the universe and that other people, even strangers, might react to their behavior and actions. That’s the real world. Is it easy to see another person scold (not discipline) your child? Absolutely. But sometimes it’s just what your child needs to see how inappropriate their actions are.

    It also makes me sad to see anyone criticize the village mentality. That’s the reason so many parents will just turn a blind eye when something bad is going on. We need all the help we can get!

  21. Katie June 16, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    I honestly can’t believe the comments on this post. What is with the “I’m a better parent than you” posts? We’ve all been in situations similar to these and it sucks. You feel like an incompetent mother without having others weighing in. After becoming a mom, I wish I could take back every eye roll and glare I gave to moms with kids who were not behaving perfectly. Can we just give moms the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to a bad day?

    To the mama who penned this post – you DO have this. I’m sorry you had a bad day. I’ve had lots of frustrating experiences like what you described and I’m only 23 months into this parenting thing.

    Let’s be honest – no one actually knows what they’re doing. We are all just winging it the best we can. We are ALL doing a great job!

  22. Nana Kathy June 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    I understand your frustration and embarrassment, I raised 3 of my own. But unlike you, I welcomed outside help. If you had a magic wand and can see your children 10 years in the future, when they’re all teenagers and testing every fiber of yours and societys nerves, you will look back on that time and realize she was doing you a hugh favor. Your children were not paying attention to you and she knew if she said something to the little darling, it would get her attention. You should have told her, Thank you! And then told the little one, that lady is right, you are going to be in trouble so be quite. Your motherly price kept you from doing the right thing. Let others step in to help, when you can’t. You obviously have your hands full.

  23. mama d June 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    I’m in the camp that’s siding with the stranger, but for a different reason. She kind of became your escape goat. Instead of the focus being on “mean mommy” for saying no to treats, the focus went to the “mean lady” who spoke up. Making your child cry was, I’m sure, unintended, but that experience could have been a teaching moment. Once safely at home, the conversation could have gone down the path of, “why do you think that lady talked to you? What were you doing?” You know, as much philosophy as a 2yo can handle followed by, “mommy loves you and will always protect you from strangers, but let’s watch our behavior.”
    I also have 3 kids (6, 3, and a baby), and I’ve been getting a lot of “you have your hands full” type comments. At first I was kind of alarmed and felt like my wild children were being judged, but then I realized that these strangers were stating a fact. Now I see their sympathetic eyes instead of judgemental ones.

  24. diana p June 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    I have 3 children and boy, If I saw your kid throwing a fit and annoying me, I’d have said something to. Doesn’t seem like the child knows how to mind you. They probably don’t know how to mind you because they probably are worse at home. My kids act bad at home at times but when we are out, behavior better be on their best as not to BOTHER AND DISTURB others. You should have been grateful the lady was trying to help as she probably pitied you. Your reaction is childish and probably says alot about how your children treat and respond to you.

    Now my 11 year old has grown a little older and even when I offer him candy, he refuses, why? He makes good choices. They need to learn if they ask for something or want something, when we say no, why do we say no.

    You are in public but don’t bring your children if they don’t know how to mind you or you are frustrated or frazzled with them. You could have waited to leave them home with their other parent while you go run needless errands as these.

  25. Amber June 25, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    You sound incredibly self absorbed. We need more of “the village mentality” not less. We need to care about each other and watch out for each other.

    I would have been thankful for the words and if you didn’t shoot her a “death” look she may have even helped with the screaming 2 year old who was more embarrassed than afraid.

  26. Sandy June 27, 2015 at 2:08 am #

    I totally agree with you on the mind your own business aspect. If your child is not hurting themselves or anyone else…then bite your tongue and mind your business. I understand the frustration of three young children and trying to run errands…in public. 🙂 I have three of my own and some days are easier than others. I also get that maybe the lady behind you might have been trying to ‘have your back’ as one person commented. But really? Don’t speak to a two year old you don’t know, who is obviously just tired, and is acting like a normal two year old. The only thing is, I think you should have politely told the lady, “Thank you for trying to help, but I’ve got this.” In the same, not rude, not playful tone. As for the comment about taking your kids at a different time when they are more relaxed or when your husband is home to watch them…why? Sometimes things have to be taken care of or maybe you just don’t want to make another trip out when you’re already out…or maybe you want to return those shorts now, because you remembered you had them and if you don’t return them now they might never be returned. I hope that made sense lol. Anyway, we all struggle at one point or another and I think the world should just learn a little patience and compassion and discretion…And sometimes just butt out.

  27. Tracy D. August 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    All this for one pair of shorts?? I have 2 kids and I’m not about to drag them anywhere for one item.

    My oldest and I were once behind a lady and her child, and the girl would not quit begging for candy. She intermittently let out the worst fake “wahhh” sound. The mom wouldn’t even acknowledge her, so I finally said to her, in a nice, compassionate tone, “I don’t think it’s working.” Didn’t hear another peep from her.
    I then used that as an example as to how I expect my son to not behave in public.

    We all do our best, but sometimes a little help isn’t the worst thing.

  28. Sarah August 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    If you had to say “no treats a gazillion times”, thank Jesus that lady stepped in and said something. If you can’t discipline or control your children, thank God someone else did. I would’ve done the same thing. How annoyed she must have been hearing you and your CHILDREN go back and forth. Who is the parent??? Just thank God she was so polite about it! Of course your kid was scared, obviously and sadly they’re not scared of you, which is why they don’t listen! Don’t blame other people for your lack of discipline.
    Never been to NOMB until today when i clicked a link to your post, because someone else was downing it, which i completely agree with. Your posts are so whiny and negative over the smallest issues. You blame everyone else for YOUR problems. Sheesh. If you can’t control your kids, don’t take them public places until you can.
    PS who would sympathize when all you did was repeat yourself which obviously did nothing??? You should’ve walked right back out of that store the minute it happened, as courtesy for others. If you don’t care about their feelings why should they care about yours? Returning shorts was not an emergency need-to-do-it-nkw errand. How selfish of you to post about a sweet lady who was trying to help you out since you weren’t doing your job as a mother. Get outta here with this.

  29. KP January 27, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    This just sounds like it was written by an overwhelmed mom who needs a break and is lashing out at someone to make herself feel better. Overreaction. Maybe PMS/hormones. If someone felt the need to say something to my kid, I’d take a good hard look at where I went wrong, not the one who felt the need to speak up. The author admits the kids weren’t listening, hangry, tired..and that’s she’s half-assing it as a parent. I say, “get over it.” Sounds like she needs a talking to just as much as her children.

  30. Feisty Irish Wench January 28, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    OK, so I do speak to other people’s kids when they’re misbehaving or pestering mom for candy and she says no. No, I do not say things like that other person did. I’m not out to instill fear in kids. I do say something like “Mom has a reason for saying no, and the more you ask her the less likely mom is going to be willing to say yes next time.” or “gotta listen to mom when she says no, what ever her reason is”
    And then tell mom “I’ve had to tell my kids that my saying no is not an invitation to convince me otherwise because they get relentless sometimes. I feel your pain there.”
    My kids are definitely not saints. Last week, my toddler was screaming so much that I had to leave the store empty handed because the shrieking was excessive and my fuse short. I normally just take the child outside, we readjust, and we go back in the store. But that day, I had to recognize both my limit and my child’s. It made me madder to leave but I was not about to torture myself or the other shoppers and store employees.
    And people who try to put fear into my kids get met with mama bear, not just the death stare. They get the potty mouth mama too.

  31. Deborah January 31, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    Obviously there are some very strong feelings on both sides here. Honestly I don’t see the woman’s comments as inappropriate. She didn’t touch the child or yell. She was trying to help. I would be totally fine with a stranger issuing a reminder to my child in the way tie woman did. Children need to learn to accept criticism from sources other than their parents (teachers, coaches, extended family, etc). It helps them to become better functioning members of society down the road.

  32. Ari February 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    I feel like the anger towards the stranger is misdirected. I can imagine the frustration of having another thing to deal with because of the person’s comments, but knowing that they were trying to help AND they said it in an appropriate way, it sounds like your reaction more stems from the embarrassment of a stranger calling out your kids’ behavior than their actual actions. If it had put your kids in line without you having to repeat yourself – again – you probably would have appreciated it. Maybe it was a good teachable moment for your 2 year old (after she calmed down) that her behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and that is can affect not only you but strangers that she likely doesn’t even notice. and then the next time you go to a store you can remind her of that moment at the door.
    It’s your choice to take it as the stranger saying that you’re “half assing your job.” I think it’s the opposite – she felt your pain and was trying to give you a break by making them understand too.
    I see people say that toddlers shouldn’t be “made” to stand in line, take turns, etc, but I think that’s really dangerous for our society. Kids are very sensitive and even though they are in the “me” stage at age 2 and 3, they can/should still learn they are part of a society and are completely capable of acting that way. It takes lots of practice and reminders, but why cultivate and encourage selfish “me me me” behaviors and thought patterns just to expect to change them completely later? This isn’t about your specifically, just an observation about certain trendy parenting styles I’ve seen lately.

  33. Camille Jessen October 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    How large would you say a ‘village’ should be? Are there limits? What or who does your village consist of?

  34. Lady Jane January 26, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    This has to be the most ridiculous “article” I’ve ever read – followed by some of the most ridiculous comments. (And yes, I have children who misbehaved in public). “Overreaction” doesn’t begin to describe what happened here. The older woman was trying to diffuse and make light of a difficult situation (one that she and others in the store had apparently been forced to endure for quite a while). Bad enough that you dragged your admittedly hungry, overtired kiddos into Old Navy to return a pair of shorts (not exactly a dire emergency). You made it worse when you decided to hang around and SHOP instead of getting in line ASAP. That was a choice that YOU made. This woman wasn’t disciplining. In fact, you’re lucky she didn’t deck you one for your lacking of parenting. Don’t blame other people for your poor parenting choices. Give me a break.

  35. toby February 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    Oh grow the hell up. Kids are kids and someone was trying to distract them into minding their mother and a little one got scared. If that’s the worst thing that happens in their life they are lucky. You’re so stupid to think that it was an insult. Just an adult that was trying to distract them. Btw we all pay for your kids so don’t be so freaking negative when the “village” tries to help.

  36. Sandy October 16, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    I can SORT OF see why a parent might want to assume the worst of strangers, but then they assume their children are assuming the worst as well, when it’s very likely the kid is picking up on the parent’s stress and hoping to ease THAT more than anything.
    Now take me in the situation of the woman who said something to the kid…I am 100% never annoyed by children. I adore them. Any time I talk to a kid in a store it’s just mostly feeling to me like a hello, a playful interaction. So if I’ve said ‘ut oh, you’re gonna get in trouble’ it’s playful and fun and mostly just to take their focus off whatever they were doing. It’s a great distraction to have them refocus and not be obsessed with wanting the candy, or even gets them to stop wailing and crying often…me just interacting with them. Sounds like the mom is carefully choosing her words with the kids, but I assure you as a stranger with no kids, my intent is certainly not to discipline and simply to interact and try to help the situation. Many moms think that if they aren’t doing it all on their own they are failing and get embarrassed. I get that. I’m similar. But you aren’t in your home in private, you are out in public in a store and can’t control every person and how they interact with your kids, especially by threatening online that you’ll beat every motherfucker up!

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