If you’re one of those people with no kids of your own who’s constantly judging everyone’s parenting skills, then please stop. Trust me, all the other parents and I had a meeting, we put it to a vote, and it was unanimous: we hate you. You don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re rude and you should keep your stupid opinions to yourself.
On the other hand, if you are a parent, then judging other parents can be one of the most fun and satisfying ways to spend your time, so have at it! It’s open season for you!
OK, that might still get you in some trouble with the people you’re judging, so I can understand if you want to be careful. But I can’t imagine any of the lamest moms and dads would do something so informative as to read a parenting blog, so just between us, I’m going to let them have it.
Here are 5 types of parents who, in my opinion, it’s perfectly OK for you to judge…
1. The “What’s Bedtime?” and “What’s a Sitter?” Parents.
Look, I’m sure you really needed the six pack of Corona Light, but was it really worth dragging your toddler out to Stop & Shop at 10pm? Some of us call that “bedtime”. We look forward to it as a relaxing break at the end of our hectic day, and what’s more, the kids need it. It’s win-win.
At least Stop & Shop is an age-appropriate activity for young children. We’ve all seen those morons who were so psyched for “World War Z” that they dragged their 2-year-old out to the midnight showing at Mann’s Chinese rather than wait the two months it’d take for that movie to be on DVD. How are they selling these people tickets instead of calling child protective services on them?
It’s insane that some places have laws against gay parents adopting or fostering kids when there are clowns like this raising children. Look, not every gay couple is Ozzy and Harriet, but if you want to root out the truly unfit parents, I suggest starting at the multiplexes.
2. Parents Who Helicopter Other People’s Children.
Say what you will about helicopter parents. At least the only kids they’re messing up are their own… that is, except for this subset of helicopter parents who are determined to overparent everyone’s kids.
When my kids fall down at the playground, I don’t usually make a big deal about it, and because of that, they don’t make a big deal about it either. They get up, limp for a second or two and then run around like maniacs again… unless some other grownup runs over and screams, “OH MY GOD! ARE YOU OKAY?”
Odds are, my kid was fine until the crazy lady ran up and started screaming hysterically in his face. Now he’s not crying because he’s hurt. It’s because you freaked him the eff out. If not for you, he’d be back swinging upside-down from the jungle gym by now.
Oh, and while you’re at it, spare me your evil eye. When my kid really does get hurt, I will swoop in faster than you could imagine and do all the things that need to be done. I just want him to know that there are some ouchies he’s perfectly capable of handling on his own.
By the way, this is a park. I’m not sure what that green spongy material under our feet is, but I suspect it’s at least 70% marshmallow. No one’s going to get beheaded here. Relax.
3. The Only-Engage-With-The-Kids Parents.
These ones are just weird. I take my kids to the same places over and over, and we see a lot of the same people. Some of them are friendly, some of them are not, and a lot of them fall in this weird middle ground where they’re very friendly… but only to the kids. They talk to them, hand them toys, introduce them to their kids, but even when I’m standing right there, they won’t address me directly or look me in the eye.
Instead, they’ll direct all their questions to my children. “Does your Daddy mind if you play with that?” “What a pretty shirt your Daddy dressed you in!” I imagine they’re just socially intimidated by other adults, but it’s hard not to feel like Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense. Her Daddy is standing right here! Talk to him, please! He’s starved for adult conversation!
Seriously, if there are other people out there who can’t see me, please let me know, because I’m starting to worry that I’ve crossed over to another plane of existence or something.
4. The Insufficiently Apologetic.
One day at the kiddie gym, a little boy smacked my daughter in the face because she was on the trampoline he wanted to use. His mother was appropriately horrified, but she didn’t say a word to me or Sutton. No “Sorry”, no “Please don’t sue”, no “Bobby, give that girl a hug.” She just grabbed the kid and ran away to lecture him.
I’d lump into this category any parent who offers their own apology for the kid’s behavior but doesn’t make their kid apologize himself — and worse, doesn’t do anything to reprimand him. One day at a playground, a perfectly polite nanny assured me that her kid didn’t normally pin kids to the ground and pull their hair until they screamed, the way he had just done to Sutton. She even gave him an ultimatum: apologize or they were going home. He didn’t apologize, but half an hour later, they were still there, and he was pulling some other kid’s hair.
I thought we were all in the same boat, trying to teach our kids to own up to their actions and say they’re sorry when they screw up. But now the next time my kid misbehaves, she’s going to whine, “But that kid at the park didn’t apologize!” And suddenly my teachable moment turns into me teaching her that some people are just assholes.
5. The Overly Apologetic.
Look, everyone’s kid throws a fit in public sometimes. It sucks. But you don’t need to run around telling everyone how sorry you are and swearing, “He never does this!” Try to forget about all the annoyed jerks glaring at you and focus on your kid instead. Calm him down, get him out, do whatever your parenting instinct tells you the situation demands. Trust me, no one’s going to hand you a report card on the way out, with an “F” in tantrums. Well, I’m not, at least. I’ll be one of the parents passing you glares of sympathy and encouragement. In almost any case of tantrummy kid vs. beleaguered parent, I take the parent’s side, because I’ve been there myself many times.
Sometimes the best way to handle an outburst is to ignore the behavior, and that can be tough. I know I look like a horrible parent because my kid’s screaming their head off in a shopping cart and I’m trying to decide which brownie mix to buy. But you know what? I’m not going to give into him just to calm him down, and it’s not that I think this is acceptable behavior. I’m just halfway through my shopping, and I’m really in the mood for brownies, so we’re riding this one out together, everybody. You don’t like it? Kindly move to Aisle 6. Thanks.
Besides, don’t be so self-centered. You think everyone’s judging you? Pfft, who would do that?
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This had me in stitches!
YES to all of that and 6) Parents that use my kids as educational tool. “Bobby, give that girl a hug” would be right on top of that list because, hello, maybe ask first if she’s even okay with being hugged by your kid right after he was mean to her! But also “Bobby stop crying, look that girl’s already laughing at you” and “Why don’t you try a bit harder Bobby, that girl will think her sand castle nicer than yours” parents: please just don’t. We don’t laugh at people, least of all for crying, nor are we interested in your odd concept of competitive sand play. The list is endless.
OMG, #3 is so true!!! I work at a preschool that my daughter also attend. There is this dad who alway say “hi” or ask my daughter question while I’m there but never says hi to me it say anything to me! Maybe he doesn’t know me? Nope, the crazy thing is that I use to be his daughter’s teacher and he did the same thing when she was in my classroom. “Oh Jane, did that child bite you?” Or “Why is your diaper on so tight? Did your teacher not do it right?” He does this while I’m standing right there!!!😡
That’s really creepy that he accuses you of putting her diaper on wrong by addressing her. It’s very passive-aggressive. He sounds like a real kook.
While I mostly agree, I have to point out that many people have considered me a #1 before. And it’s not that I kept my kid up past his bedtime so I could curb my late-night sugar craving, but my entire family’s schedule was later than most. I had class until 9:30, my son stayed up until 10 or 11. Then we all slept until around 10am in the morning. And it worked perfectly fine for us. Sometimes, the only time I had to grocery shop was at 10 at night, so my son came with. He was typically well-behaved on these outings, but I got all sorts of dirty looks for having my son out late. That’s just how we did things.
Fair enough. If anything, that’s one argument for NOT judging anyone, because there are exceptions to every rule. Some parents work odd hours and have to shift their kids’ schedules as a result.I do sympathize with that. At the same time, once kids enter school, you’re kind of tied to the school’s schedule, so if possible, it’s always better to get your kid used to sleeping at reasonable times.
Oh definitely. When my son’s in school, we will adhere to a specific, earlier, bedtime (except maybe on some weekend — one of my favorite parts about my childhood were the adventures my mom took me on during the weekends). But right now he’s not-quite-three, and the late-to-rest/late-to-rise thing is working for all of us. We’re planning on slowly transitioning him before he’s expected to be up at 6am. Hah.
I gotta say, I’ve always had it in for the sleep nazis who glare at us when we are out late with our child – usually in a convenience store somewhere when we are travelling. Like the glaring judgy judgerson had any clue whatsoever what the whole picture was. Just a short person out past 10 so old judgey glares like a crazed maniac at the strangers who appear to be the parents like they are some kind of pedos or something. It’s so hard to resist walking up to them and yelling every profanity I know up their noses. But as an example to my child who is clearly far more intelligent than the judgey judgerson, I don’t. Maybe one of these days I’ll just send baby back to the car with hubby while I hang back and let out the frustration of 9 years of being judged by dingnuts like that. All – at – once. Whew, therapuetic just thinking about it Seriously, I’ve been judged for letting my child have frosted mini wheats in plastic eggs for easter instead of chocolate and simultaneously judged for letting my 2 year old have frosted mini wheats in plastic eggs for easter instead of no sweets whatsoever. They – are – idiots, these people.
These are brilliantly accurate! Love it! 🙂
I totally agree with all of this! #3 is just awful. When my son was a baby, I would take him for walks all the time, and he would either pull his clothes off or wouldn’t wear a hat because of the stroller’s canopy…and it angered me so much when people would say “where is your hat!? did your mommy forget to give you a hat?? your poor head!” Like, my kid is a year old – he’s not going to answer you, nor does he give a care about a hat… As he has gotten older, he has become quite vocal and will give you his opinion himself 🙂
Oh, so they talk to the kid as an excuse to judge your parenting? That’s doubly jerkish! Boo on them! 🙂
Haha, fantastic. You definitely nailed it!
I love this! So well said, as always.
Finally! A new, original Jerry’s list of five, yay! Funny and entertaining. And very true. However, for anyone reading the comments before the OT: Spoiler alert in #3!!! 😀
Finally, a new Sandra Parsons comment, yay! Nice to see you here. But c’mon, who hasn’t seen the 6th Sense yet? Isn’t there a statute of limitations on spoilers for movies from the 1990s?
Great list! I would add The Performer: those parents who speak to their kids in public in a loud and exaggerated manner, providing a running commentary on what their child is doing, and making us fully aware of their Parenting Skills and their Support of Their Children. “Mikey! That was your FIRST TIME DOWN THE BIG SLIDE! Do that again so I can get a picture…turn this way and smile…Pop is going to love this…then I am going to give you such a big hug…” all said so that everyone within a 50 foot radius can hear!
Some people just like talking to their kids and aren’t good at modulating the volume of their voices…
Good one. 🙂
I fear I may be helicopterish but only as an introvert raising an extrovert …. hey kiddo, the world doesn’t need your commentary… just shh and listen….. while everone around me says…. nah she’s ok
I admit I am reluctant to force apologies from my children, because I was publicly humiliated with an ultimatum to publically apologize for a prank (pie in the youth leader’s face, which no one else in youth group thought was funny because, admittedly, it’s not so much in real life as it is on tv) or be kicked out of church youth group. I refused and was kicked out of youth group. I will advise my kid that apologies are probably in order, and that not apologizing may have social consequences, but I won’t force it.
As for sitters and bedtime, some people have no choice–you take the kids with you or just stay home, because a sitter is expensive. At least the 2 year old well sleep thru the midnight show. A working poor parent might not have a car or a chance to run errands without the kids, and at least where I live 10PM is probably better than dragging them on a 2-mile walk in the desert Sun when it’s 110 out. I came to appreciate this working as an overnight cashier at Wal-Mart.
You make a good point about people who work nights and may have to adjust their shopping schedule. But in my mind, there’s no excuse to take a kid to a movie that’s inappropriate for them or that’s past their bedtime. People don’t do that simply because they’re poor. They do it because they’re selfish and because they’re terrible parents. Plenty of people without money to pay a sitter will just stay home, put their kids to bed and then rent a PPV or DVD. Or they’ll take the whole family to a kid-friendly movie instead.
That’s true and I wholeheartedly agree…except I believe every rule has exceptions–such as the times I took my own special snowflake to a midnight movie premiere, in a sling, and most people never even noticed I had a baby in tow (though they complained about the crier in a carseat three rows forward!)
I don’t think I’ve encountered #2 or #3. 4 & 5 definitely funny.
This is just too funny! I can so relate. Your post just puts all my thoughts on the matter in its proper place. Thanks for the inspiration!
still trying to wipe my mommy grin off my face …am at work and it’s drawing attention
Fabulous! Number 4 reminded me of this hilarious bit by Louis CK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/louis-ck-teaches-daughters-to-apologize_n_1759902.html
These are very funny 🙂 I’m new to parenting and haven’t run into all of these yet, but I used to run into No. 3 ALL THE TIME at the dog park, of all places. So many people would talk to my dog and not to me. I thought it was weird then, and I’m sure it’ll be weird when it happens with my kid.
That’s hilarious. At least with kids, there’s a chance they’ll understand you and respond to you. When people would rather talk to your dog than you, they kind of need their head examined. 🙂
This gave me the laugh I needed today, thanks! So funny because it’s true. Congratulations on your book and your blog, looks awesome!
Thanks! Glad you liked the post!
Our movie theater has big signs on their website and at the ticket office that no children — including infants — are allowed in R-rated movies, period. They get far more compliments than complaints for this.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t have children but “judges” others parenting. (Not often or to harshly kids are unpredictable but some times they are certianly a product of their raising). Lol. I work in a kid friendly hotel and when I see/hear parents who bow down and bend over backwards for their child’s every command you bet ya I’m judging. Because chances are those are the children who talk and treat us maids like crap. One girl about 6-8years old said to me and my partner one day at work when we knocked on their door after lunch to see if they were ready for service, “we told you to come back at 12″ , excuse me! And the parents didn’t say/do anything. Another time this 3/4 year old told her father, ” I’m not going anywhere till you go back in there and get me my iPad” the father just says you don’t need it we’re going site seeing. Didn’t say anything about being polite, not talking to her parents like that, not screaming at 9 am in the hotel when others are sleeping he just bartered with her. One mom apologized to her daughter for “yelling” at her (she spoke in a direct/firm tone deff didn’t yell at her) after the daughter screamed and ordered her around. Why would you turn around and say I’m sorry for getting mad at you after you , my pre teen daughter, screamed at me and ordered me around and ignored and walked away from me??? Some parents actions make me wonder. Like who says ok jr let’s play ball in the hallway or run up and down the halls and knock on all the doors, or walk around the hotel at 11am drinking cans of beer…
a 6 to 10 yr old that thinks she can talk like an adult, sounds like a confident child who maybe hasn’t learned to read time yet. Parents who don’t say anything – are you sure? Did you bug their hotel room so you could eavesdrop for a bit to see if they did indeed correct their child? Don’t assume – many parents will not correct or reprimand their child publicly, and some kids are easily hurt by that. A preschooler rephrasing parents admonishments to suit her immediate goal – pretty much instinctive behaviour for normal kids. Some are louder about it, Some are strong willed. Some parents have to handle children in a way that may seem counterintuitive to you because they have issues you have no clue about and no right to assume about. Kids are annoying. Funny, cute, maddeningly annoying. The parents of the more annoying kids have no choice but to up their game. They do not deserve to be demeaned by judgemental jerks who think all kids should be straight faced quiet little zombies or their parents are not cutting it.
And children have no right to talk like adults, or be rude to adults! “Some kids are easily hurt by that.” — THAT – right there is exactly what is wrong with children today, oh no, my kid is running around , breaking other peoples stuff, being rude, unrulely .. Whatever shall I do… I know!! I’ll tell them I understand , and I’m sorry that is yelled at them!!! — give me a break, whoop their butts, ground them, take away their iPods/Ds / iPhones and demand respect . They are your kids- quit being afraid of making them mad- once you’re done screwing them up everyone else has to deal with them.
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