Parenting by Strangers
When I was pregnant, there was no shortage of unsolicited advice. Family, friends, and even complete strangers all had something to say about my belly, my birthing, and my soon-to-be parenting. I tried to be thankful about their concern and knew that it was mostly well-meaning. After all, they were putting life and limb at risk of setting off a hormonal tsunami by imparting words if wisdom, the least I could do was smile and nod, right?
Well, last night I had a first in my almost 7 1/2 years of parenting. A stranger- making a parenting decision for me!
Last night we were at an eating establishment (no need to name them). The kids were a bit, um, high-on-life, and forgot their “listening ears” at school. Normally this behavior would not have been rewarded with dinner out, but it was one of those nights that both the hubby and I were running around, so a home-cooked meal, or even one from a box, was not in the cards.
While I was ordering Ava kept grabbing at a bag of cookies. I told her she was not to touch them, and that we were not getting cookies right now. In typical toddler fashion she completely ignored me. I picked her up and out of reach of the cookies, all the while telling her that we were not getting a treat for whining.
That’s when it happened.
As the cashier was waiting for me to hand her my payment, she smiled at my daughter, reached over the register, grabbed the bag of cookies and handed it to Ava…without asking me….after I told my kid no.
To avoid a bigger scene, the outside me nodded and smiled and said thanks. The inner me was yelling at the lady for undermining my parenting, effectively guaranteeing the rest of the meal (that I had intended to be quick and painless) would now be filled with continued whining and complaining about eating said cookies, and sending the message to my kid that, “clearly, no doesn’t really mean no.”
Now, I know the young cashier probably did not have kids of her own and she probably thought she was doing me a favor in some way, but I was really angry! I have had the encounter of my kids getting things from adults who did not consult me first, but never after having said no
So, readers, what would you have done? Have you ever had someone- friend, relative, stranger, make an unsolicited parenting decision for you?
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