Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Other People’s Children

This past couple of weeks, I have stumbled into a minefield I’ve so far successfully avoided: other people’s children, and specifically, other people’s misbehaving children.

Although my DD (I’ll come up with a better pseudonym soon, I promise) is now 17 months old, I still feel like a teenage mum (I’m 28…).  You know – you think all the other mums know exactly what they’re doing and you’re the only one fumbling along with no rulebook.

But the bit that’s throwing me is when some other kid behaves in a way that you find inappropriate and there is no parent in sight to stop them.  A few examples from a soft play centre we started visiting:

1.  A very snotty nosed boy (yes, his nose unfairly turned me against him from the beginning.  I’m a bad person) whipped DD three times over the head with his knotted blanket.

2. A boy of around 4 barged into the Under 2s area and almost knocked DD off her feet

3. A group of five 3-4 year olds took over the small Under 2s area, making sure their parents weren’t around to tell them off first.

It’s all about confidence.  I had no hesitation telling Boy 1 that wasn’t nice and to stop it.  The second boy, I simply admonished, “Careful!”, steadied DD lightly and left her to get on with it. She just stands there looking worried and takes it, so I’m walking a fine line between sticking up for her and letting her learn to stick up for herself (or at least move out of the way!).

But scenario 3, I totally wussed out.  These children were a group, noisy and brash.  Between them they had at least five parents there.  After five or ten minutes, one parent came and told them to get out.

Someone Else's Child

"...And ANOTHER thing your irritating offspring did..."

Now I’ve worked jobs where I’ve easily controlled bigger groups of children than this.  But in that role, I was the authority – I was supposed to be reining them in.  I was allowed to.  In this role as mum, I find I have no idea how these rules apply any more.  It’s certainly not my job to admonish the children of total strangers, but in scene 1 it was clearly allowable, scene 2 probably ok.  But how far does it go?

The boy in scenario 1 eventually started going round mooching food off everybody.  I mostly ignored him and he gave up, but I could only watch in awe as the mum at the next table, in the broadest, most beautiful Texan drawl, asked him where his ‘mwommy’ was, repeatedly told him he couldn’t have their food as he might not be allowed it, and eventually corralled his big sister into going and finding his mum and telling her he need a drink and some food.

And you know what?  When his 6ft, glamazon, high-heeled, knee-high-booted, skinny-jeaned, caramel-highlighted mwommy eventually swooped him away…I judged her, reader.  Oh, to my shame, I judged her.