I generally try not to judge other parents. Something I have been more mindful of since having an autistic son. I have no idea what people are dealing with in their lives, so when I see a child having a serious tantrum in a supermarket, I’m not quick to blame the parents. Children have tantrums. I have three children. They have lots of tantrums. If I see a child in a pushchair that I think may be a bit old for it, I don’t think their parents are lazy, that child could have mobility issues, or maybe its the only way that child feels safe leaving the house because they have sensory processing issues. We all have our stories and reasons. We are all just doing our best and who am I to judge whether someone’s best is considered good enough in the eyes of society?
However there are a couple of things that I do judge, rightly or wrongly, I just can’t help myself think these things.
I am a ‘shouty’ mummy. Not something I am proud of, but sometimes it is the only way I can deal with the stress of the mischief and naughtiness going on around me. It is almost like it’s my coping mechanism. I know it isn’t going to get me anywhere, and I will probably end up having ‘shouty’ children because of it, but it helps prolong my patience levels on a particularly difficult day. I feel a bit sorry for my neighbours really, I live in a mid terraced house and I do shout a lot more than I would like, they probably sit there saying “here she goes again!”.
But strangely, the moment I leave the house this incredibly patient mother takes over 99% of the time. I don’t know why, maybe because I don’t want to be judged by people like me. Maybe because I don’t think it is generally socially acceptable to be screaming at your kids in a public place. Most days I can deal with any mishaps calmly and effectively. It may involve a whole load of bribery, but it works all the same.
I can’t help but question the people that walk around shops, supermarkets and any other public place shouting over and over again at their child. The mother or father could be having the day from hell, so I shouldn’t have these thoughts, but surely we as adults know wrong from right and understand social etiquette? I would never comment or raise an eyebrow, but I do wonder why they think that behaviour is ok out of their own four walls.
What I do raise an eyebrow at however is people that swear at their children. How can you swear at your children? Why on earth do people think that is ok? And in public, even more so?
Today we had a few errands to run in town, we popped to the bank to pay in some money and in front of us were a couple of women, one of which had a little boy that was, maybe, three years old. He wasn’t really doing anything wrong from what I could see, but he could have been an absolute nightmare for the past hour and his mum could have been feeling hassled and a little bit stressed. She was getting really annoyed with him and was telling him off. Then, as they moved away from the cash point the little boy went to turn around but did it in what she must have considered the wrong direction. She turned around to him and said, (Name) will you just f**king move it! James and I just looked at each other in disbelief. “Nice” James said, “What exactly did he do wrong there?” I had no idea, but we just carried on with what we needed to do. Obviously talking about what we had just witnessed at length.
We then saw them a little while later in another shop. I could hear her cursing at him over and over again. Not with tame swear words either, the f word featured a lot! As she walked past me she shouted at him “I am going to f**king hurt you in a minute if you don’t start f**king behaving!”. I stopped in amazement. That poor little boy. If I had someone three times the size of me shouting and swearing in my face, I would be petrified. And who knows what she meant about hurting him?! He could have been the naughtiest boy on the planet today, but why on earth would that give her the right to speak to him like that. Mum or not!
Don’t get me wrong, I am no angel. I swear, and there has been the odd time I have sworn in front of the kids not thinking, especially before they started to talk. But I would never, ever swear at them. Even when they are adults, I will not swear at them, and I would expect them never to swear at me. It’s respectful, and respect is a two way thing.
We are always quick to say judging others is bad, and I completely agree with that. We all face different paths in life, and we all have different ways of riding that journey. Go ahead, do whatever you think is best! It’s your life, and your choices.
Parents are forever using an excuse that there is too much negativity, violence, swearing, and sexual content on TV and other forms of media these days. That children have to much access to seeing things too old for their young eyes. We blame the media for a generation of disrespectful youth. Yet with parents like that? There is no wonder, youngsters today have little respect and people that think this kind of behaviour is ok, should really look a bit closer to home.
I will judge these parents every single day of the week. And no, I will not be sorry about it.