Parenting by Strangers

“Hey, I’m cute…. GIVE ME WHAT I WANT!”

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?

5 comments on “Parenting by Strangers”

  1. My only defense of the cashier is that she may not have comprehended what was going on, and maybe thought the issue was that your daughter couldn’t reach the cookies or something. Otherwise, it’s totally indefensible and absurd. I think it’s not worth energy fretting over now, but I absolutely would have told the cashier, politely, “I’m sorry, but we’re not buying the cookies. I already told her no.” and put them back. My tone would have been one of “clearly you didn’t understand the deal, and now I am explaining it to you, but please don’t test me further.” I have a huge pet peeve about kids begging me to buy stuff, and I will take a public tantrum over giving in mainly because my kids are creatures of habit. For them, if we got them once, then we would have to get them every single time we went back to that restaurant. That said, you have to do what works for you, and I don’t think that the way I would handle it is necessarily the right way, just the best way for me.

  2. I’m impressed with Kate’s take on the situation–it seems like a much calmer resolution. I would have been livid if this had happened to me. As I sit here, my initial thought is that I would have handed the cookies back but the more I think about it, I’m guessing I would have decided not to further exacerbate the public scene and accepted the cookies like you did. My in-laws have tried to tell my kids “yes” before when I’ve said no. It usually results in me reminding my girls I already said no and once I’ve said no, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. Of course,that never goes over well but it’s easier to address the resulting meltdown when we’re home than when we’re out! But what was the cashier thinking? What if your daughter had food allergies to consider?

  3. Well, Dena, I’ve known for awhile that you were a strong manifester ~ looks like your daughter inherited that from you when she manifested those cookies for herself! And frankly, that’s my woo-woo take on it ~ she wanted them more than you didn’t want her to have them. I would have said “Okay, Universe” and got on with it. But she definitely would have had to share some of those cookies with me to make up for the whining. 😉

    1. I knew I could count on you, Kate, for a different perspective! She is definitely like her mama in MANY ways! And, I should have added that those damn cookies were damn good! While the cherubs were asleep, I paired them with some of their Halloween candy and a glass of wine… that’s the kind of “whine” I like!

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