Thursday, October 10, 2013

Parenting advice from strangers


Rant warning!!! I was happily writing a nice little blog about Buddy when I felt like I needed to have a rant. I finished my post about Young sir's new friend and started a new post for the rant...so if you don't want to read my rant, please look at the cute pictures on the previous post about Buddy. If you are curious about the rant, please read on.


When Young sir was about two years old, he took a bunny with him to the supermarket. I was doing my shopping, he was doodling along dangling the bunny by a leg. Out of the blue, or rather down the flour and sugar isle, came a crinkled and grey old man. He took one look of Young sir and his favourite bunny, knelt down next to him and said "you should tell your mum, you are far too old to have a teddy". 

Young sir hadn't been listening so he never heard what the man said - and at age two probably didn't really understand what the man was saying even if he had. I replied rather indignantly that "you are never too old to have a teddy" and marched off with Young sir and bunny in my wake.

This "you need to tell your mummy" is the subtle rhetoric many completely random strangers use when they disagree with your parenting choices. "You should tell your mummy to put a sunhat on you", "you should tell your mummy to strap you in when you sit in a shopping trolley", "you should tell your mum to put a rain coat on you", "you should tell your mummy..."

It is amazing how many strangers feel compelled to give you advice on how to dress your children, how they should be walking in the street...the list goes on. They disagree with a choice that you have made as a parent and they feel that you ought to know that you are in the wrong. But rather than telling you face to face, they use the indirect approach. An other favourite used by random strangers is "if I was your mother..."

So dear stranger, if I meet you in a street/supermarket/playground and you disagree with my parenting choices, and if you absolutely have to share your views please talk to ME - not to my child. And even better, please just hold your tongue. There is nothing more helpful than having constructive feedback from people who know you and know your child and that I welcome with open arms - we all need help from friends and people around us to do the best we can with what we've got. But seriously - a two second judgement of a behaviour of a child you are passing and commenting upon it, what good can that do?

Phew...rant over.

PS. I also think it is rather ironic too that children are discouraged from talking to strangers but perfect strangers feel that they are allowed to and have the right (usually given to them by grey hair, number of children they have brought up and looked after) to talk to children they've never met before!

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