A friend posted this article the other day and I admit that I only skimmed it before I read through some of the comments (I went back to read it later)...but here is my public service announcement issued on behalf of all harried, rookie parents everywhere:
Veteran parents, anti-parents, grandparents, in-laws, etc. before you judge the actions of those other parents who might be bribing or bargaining with their children to behave, please take a moment to remember what life was like for you when your cherubs were young. And then, unless you need to intervene to prevent the commission of a crime, take a seat. You weren't always an expert.
Remember how your kid once embarrassed you in the middle of the bank with an unnecessary tantrum? Or how your child wouldn't stop crying while you were on the phone? Or that time when those important papers were covered in crayon scribbles because you forgot to move them? Not to mention the potty accidents, the restaurant messes, the playground disasters, etc. Then recall how you felt when some other veteran parent, anti-parent, grandparent, in-law, etc. said something to you about how they would have handled the situation.
Children are different. Not as in these days children are different, but as in every child is different and not all tactics, advice, suggestions are appropriate. Not even among children in the same household. And parents are different, so some of us feel quite comfortable doing certain things that others of us wouldn't dream of doing. And that is okay. So please, instead of saying something hurtful to another parent, or posting self-righteous commentary on social media about how successful you were at raising productive members of society, remember the old adage that if you cannot say anything nice then say nothing at all.
So yes, some children need a leash. If the parents need to keep their little guy within eyesight and those backpacks are the only means of doing so without causing a massive public meltdown, then just let it be. Children are going to need some form of entertainment during the wait time from placing an order to receiving the food at most non-fast food establishments, so if a parent decides to hand over a phone or a tablet to keep the peace instead of schlepping a ginormous Mom bag full of knick-knacks that end up all over the floor, then so be it. Yes, that kid might be too old for a pacifier, but would you rather that she screams at the top of her lungs for the next ten minutes of this bus ride? Sometimes a kid needs to wear a costume to the grocery store, because Mom would rather fight bigger battles, like eating vegetables.
Everyone tells you to enjoy these precious moments of childhood because they pass so quickly; yet, some of these same people expect for children to act like perfect little angels in public. These same people critique every decision because "back in the old days, we blah, blah, blah" which might have worked back then. But we know that when you were raising children, we survived by the grace of God (ask anyone who grew up not wearing seatbelts). So don't criticize me for choosing to take advantage of modern conveniences that allow me a few moments of sanity.
I have never gotten over how judgmental folks were about that incident involving Harambe the gorilla and the kid who fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Folks were blaming the parents for the gorilla being euthanized. Yet, if the child had been killed, as was the case with the little boy at Disney World...and I am not even going to address the obvious differences in those cases, except that one child is dead. So spare me your B.S. in child psychology from Troll University.
And that is pretty much all I have to say. Feel free to take note of the fact that I am out in public wearing matching shoes or that my husband has buttoned his shirt correctly. But unless you are offering to babysit or are asking us what we drink because you are buying the next round, please keep your feelings to yourself.
PS: The kid likes ice cream; I like vodka.