“Mommy, I want an Umpa Lompa. I WANT AN UMPA LUMPA, NOW!”

If you’ve glanced at a newspaper or a television or the internet in the past 20 years you’ve realized that there are many people walking around who shouldn’t have children. Like, “maybe forced sterilization isn’t such a bad idea or an inhuman conclusion,” sort of people. I watch the news. I read the horrible stories of abuse and neglect that seem to occur on the daily. These insane situations are the types of thing that just a headline can send your mood into a tailspin.

So here’s the problem…

While there are human beings out there that are abusing their children, not every parent is abusive. Just like not every person likes donuts (although I’d have to believe if you don’t like donuts there is fundamentally something wrong with you) and some people don’t like cheese (again, these people are most likely insane and should probably be kept away from the rest of us, normal people) but just because I have children, and at times they get upset or unruly in public, that doesn’t mean I am abusing them.

What I’m actually doing, is this little thing I like to call, “parenting” them.

This morning, I was in the grocery store with my toddler. Now, as toddlers go, he’s often pretty well behaved, but he is, still, just a 2-year-old. And a 2-year-old is only as happy as whatever crazy bullshit thoughts go on in that little 2-year-old brain. On this particular morning, everything was fine. Then he saw the bananas and lost his ever-loving shit. My kid loves bananas. He could eat about 5 or 6 bananas in a day if I allowed it. He’s like the Joey Chestnut of bananas. And bananas are very good for you. I’m usually pretty loose when it comes to doling out bananas, but this particular store prices their bananas by weight, not quantity, so I couldn’t just give him a banana at that exact moment. I had to pay for it. You know, like a normal person. But 2-year-olds don’t really have a care or concept of time, their little terrorist heart wants what it wants. As my adorable toddler turned into the exorcist within a millisecond, I attempted to parent him. Explaining that we had to pay for things before we just took them and made my way to the checkout line. That was the moment when the “concerned stranger” stepped in.

The concerned stranger seemed to be under the impression that I was “abusing” my son by not giving him exactly what he wanted (a banana) at the moment he wanted it (that instant) and told me just that.

“Oh, that poor boy, just let him eat a banana.”
“He must be so hungry. When was the last time he ate?” – My son is 38 pounds and 40 inches tall.
“How can you listen to him scream like that? Just give him what he wants.”
“At least, it’s healthy. It could be worse, he could want chips.”

As I stood there, paralyzed by shock that some fucking stranger seemed to have lost her filter when it came to my son, and biting my tongue because while she might have deserved a “hey lady, fuck off” that’s really not the person I want my kid to see when he thinks of his mom and her conflict resolution skills.

So I did something I never thought I’d do… I ignored her, paid for my shit, gave my kid a banana, and went on my merry way.

But here is the thing, I don’t think this will be the last concerned citizen I’ll ever have to deal with. Or the last concerned citizen any real parent will have to deal with, which pisses me off.

So, to all the concerned citizens of the world, here it goes… Kids cry. Kids cry because their milk is white. Or they just realized their shoes aren’t blue, or they want a banana and it’s not banana time yet. Sometimes they don’t cry because of all those things. Maybe this time, they’ll scream or sing and dance. Just know this, my action or inaction to certain behaviors my child is exhibiting has nothing to do with abuse or neglect. It has everything to do with me parenting them. I am teaching them that there are certain times for certain things and certain ways to live their life. I didn’t give my kid a banana at the exact time he wanted it because I’m not a thief, and I’d be doing him a disservice if I didn’t teach him that fact early on. When you give a child everything and anything the moment they want without rules, you are teaching them to be an entitled little asshole and I’d prefer to not grow old in a country being run by those people. While I’m sorry you had to listen to my toddler cry for 4 1/2 minutes in a checkout line I would appreciate it if you’d shut your pie hole when it comes to childrearing other people’s children.

I am doing the best that I can despite your efforts.


Image Credit:
Author: Mindaugas Danys
Author URL: https://www.flickr.com/people/mindaugasdanys/

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41 Thoughts on “It’s Not Child Abuse, It’s Called Parenting

  1. I heart the way you write..AND the way you parent.

  2. We were in the grocery store once and I refused to buy pudding snacks for my older kid because he already eats a metric f*ckton of sugar. An older couple heard our exchange and then went and bought the pudding and presented it to my kid as a present because “your mommy is too mean”. Uhhhhh…..what?

  3. No joke! I’ve been “over-parented” by a give-em-the-goods parent before but I’m not good at biting my tongue and quickly informed the mamma mafia member that my threenager had indeed just eaten lunch and was in Chernobyl mode because I said no to cookies, treat is not an everyday event for us. If she’d had a shank for an eye I’d be dead.

  4. I would have lost my shit

  5. Amen sistah!!!! Very well said!

  6. Good one, and did you mean to include a pun when you said “doling out bananas”????? How many out there caught that one?

  7. I love this. But just in case you lose your shit along with your toddler, I believe Publix entitles you to a free banana just like the free cookie ????

  8. I want to let my son have a meltdown inside the post office while I stepped outside so as not to harm him because he was ridiculous it was glass windows all around I saw him I was ignoring it for me and watch it happen and says you left your son inside thanks Sherlock can’t get away from these munchkins no matter what in the trenches of teething and potty training and just a holy shit day

  9. Handled very well! What if the child had an allergy and should not eat something? Good lord it is not a strangers place to give anything to a child just because, don’t we teach children don’t take anything from strangers?!? Denying a child is not abuse it is teaching/parenting, abuse is actual HARM and that is when a stranger should step in not to advise in a temper tantrum.

  10. I once had a woman come up to my daughter and I, mid-tantrum over no cookies, and try to fucking hand her a god damned cookie! I SLAPPED the cookie away and told the woman, under no certain terms, to mind her own fucking business. She said she would call the police because I assaulted her, and I told her to go ahead and do it. Call the police and I will tell them you a stranger, was handing some unidentified item to my 2-year old. YEAH I SLAPPED YOUR HAND, now what????

  11. When I see parents struggling with parenting and people are staring, I loudly say, “Mine was like that yesterday! Hope your day gets better after their nap :)” It helps the parent’s stress level most of the time. It very rarely backfires. Then the onlookers stick their nose back where it belongs.

  12. I’ve had so many judgy looks in grocery stores, mostly about my six year old with autism. I’m sorry she’s freaking out about the Elsa doll I walked past five minutes ago and wants ALL the candy in the checkout line. (Seriously, some genius grocery store needs to remove the candy and put in TVs playing cartoons, at least in some checkout aisles, and they will get ALL THE PARENTS).
    You literally know nothing about the kids or the parents, so even if you were the best goddamned pare ts ever, with perfectly behaved children who never cried or screamed in public and were potty trained at 6 months, I don’t care. Just shut your hole and mind your own damn business.

  13. What a fucking psycho. She sounds like either a bad parent or someone who never had kids. Giving kids what they ask for immediately and every time just to stop the crying is how you raise an asshole.

  14. Thank you for writing this. I felt the same way. I share everything with my children and I to did not want to share MY boobs.

  15. Jack McBride on January 26, 2016 at 8:16 pm said:

    As a single dad, no joint anything involved, I have often in the past encountered nosy by stander parents. My kids have always been good in shops, not a tantrum between the two of them ever, so I’ve been blessed. But I have been castigated for saying no to my kids. I am very rarely caught without my tongue on quick fire reply, so people in my town have learned to zip it, unless they want an earful they won’t soon forget. Kids who are told no, become critical thinkers, analysing their situations and how best to exploit it favourably. My kids don’t get candy and junk food, but they do get musical instruments, sports equipment and nice clothing without any bother on my part. They act respectfully to others, and know not to bring trouble to the door. People who interfere in another person’s child rearing business, are to be ignored unless that child is in immediate danger, and telling them to pull their heads in and leave well enough alone is a parents right.

  16. As an adult that is childless by choice I NEVER give parental advice….cause 1..not a parent and 2 see 1!!!

  17. I’m so very pleased no one has ever attempted to give me parenting advice. I’d lose my shnit!

  18. Tayler on January 27, 2016 at 2:54 am said:

    I feel ya, as a mommy of three and a husband that works 60 hours a week I do all shopping with my little groupies and I often wonder if 90% of the population doesn’t have kids or expects children to stay locked away inside.

  19. chelsea on February 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm said:

    This happened to me a week or so ago! I Took My 3 Littles (2,2,1) To THE Store And the Trip Was WONDERFUL until…..Dun Dun dun….They Saw The Bananas As We Were Walking out THE Door And Went APE SHIT Bananas!

  20. Wait till he’s 3 years old, which is the age of tantrums…

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