19 October 2007

Is it ever okay?

Freya and I were waiting in line at the video store today when a little girl came up to Freya and gave her a really mean look. Freya had done nothing, but I smiled at the girl, thinking if we were nice, she'd be nice back or at least go away. She continued to glower, so we ignored her.

But then her mother, who hadn't been paying attention, noticed the look she was giving Freya and grabbed her arm.

"You don't do that! That is so mean, you don't ever do that!" she hissed through her teeth.

The girl whined and pulled away, "You're hurting meeeee."

"No one will be friends with you if you're mean like that." Her mother went on for longer than I would have thought necessary.

I almost turned around, but didn't. I felt bad. The girl was little, she couldn't have been more than three, and the glare wasn't really that big a deal, I mean, she didn't push Freya or anything. No harm done, right?

We paid for our movies and left the store, but I found myself wondering if I should have said something, I don't know what I would have said, something calming maybe, an assurance that I was not judging the little girl, or her mother. Maybe the two of them were at the end of a Very Bad Day. I've had enough of them to know how that feels. Would it have just sounded patronizing? Would she have responded at all?

I just wonder, you know? When is it okay to say something to another parent, and when is it not welcome?

- - - - -

On a lighter note, I joined Matilda's kindergarten class for a trip to an apple orchard today, it was a lot of fun, even if I did get lost on my way and turn up fifteen minutes late.

Matilda in the orchard.

Learning how cider is made.
(I like how all the adults are paying attention and at least half of the kids
are looking at something off to the side that is totally unrelated.)

Matilda's field trip buddy.
(Her mom couldn't make it, so I took lots of
pictures of her. Besides, she's adorable.)

Apples picked and ready to go.
(The foliage is coming in nicely, don't you think?
In spite of the creepy 70+ degree weather we've been having.
For those of you down south for whom 70+ is normal this time
of year, it should be barely topping out at 60 up here.)


Kellan said...

Hey - I don't know what I would have done either. I would have been inclined to speak to her, but she might have then chewed your head off (that's never any fun). Maybe do something like this: tell your daughter to tell the little girl that it was okay - no big deal - like you're not really talking to the lady or her child at all, but she gets the point. Even if your child won't do it - you could then turn around and say, it's not a big deal and turn back around quickly. I think I've now over-thought this one problem. I'm not good in those situations either - see ya.

Steve said...

As far as I can tell, and I am only a man, there is never a time when you can approach a mom about something she is doing in regards to her childs discipline. She will tear you a new one without a moments hesitation, even if you are right(which is almost impossible to know unless you know the full context of the situation).

The only time I would step in is if it was serious physical, or completely out-of-line verbal abuse.

Jerseygirl89 said...

That's a tough one. I probably wouldn't have said anything either, though I might have tried to catch her eye and give her a sympathetic smile.

Maureen said...

Yeah, I think you did the right thing by saying nothing at all... you never know how she would respond.

Love the apple orchard pics (and the way the parents are SO interested in that apple cider!)

Jenn said...

I would never actually confront a mom about her discipline techniques, however, I have interjected a "joke" or comment about the child's behavior and related to it to my own experiences, and have almost always gotten good results. In that situation I might have said "My daughter used to do the SAME thing...it's so frustrating, isn't it?" and in my experience the other parent usually seems quite relieved.

Most of the time, I think moms are just mortified by their child's "bad" behavior, especially in public, and feel pressured to maybe over-discipline. I mean, how many times have you heard someone comment "Parents just don't care about discipline these days, kids are just awful and get away with EVERYTHING," so, we tend to perhaps over-discipline when we think others are watching.

The fall colors are GORGEOUS! We have a lot of brown, brown, brown. Droughts will do that to the fall colors!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I don't know how to handle those kind of situations. You are running a risk of really ticking off someone when you say something, so I guess I'd say nothing.

Great photos! It actually looks like fall there.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Good question.

I'm sorry, I don't know the answer.

With my own kid who doesn't simply "get" the social making friends thing, I'm discovering that modeling behavior in front of him makes more of a difference than a reprimand.

But how do you say THAT?

Fun trip to the apple farm! Did they talk about sin there and how yucky the children are on the inside? snort.

Jen said...

I probably would have said something. I'm not sure what I would have said and I freely admit it probably would have ended with me getting my head bitten off. I don't know if it's a complete lack of tact or just a strong desire to see people treat children nicer than they often do but I pretty much never bite my tounge in situations like that.

andi said...

I hate those awkward moments. I probably would have done nothing, even though I would have wanted to comfort the little girl.

And those pictures are gorgeous! Keep posting pictures and I may have to actually follow up on my threat to move there.

Bec said...

I probably would have thought the same thing you did - that I should have said something but had no idea what to say. It's probably safer not to say anything, plus can you image how embarrassing it would be to have said something and then read about this rude woman in the video store on someone's blog lol