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I Was Speechless... I need to share... (long)


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It never fails. Whenever someone angers me, I become tongue tied and am unable to voice my irritation with their insensitivity or their rude behavior. Today was no exception.

 

The kiddos and I stopped by Mailboxes, etc. to make some copies this afternoon. We had just departed the post office where the postman had delighted in their behavior and offered them each a piece of candy. I told the kids that they could enjoy their candy as I made copies.

 

It soon became evident that my little guy was getting more enjoyment by playing with his piece of taffy than by consuming it... he was a pink, sticky mess! Before long, he touched Sweetie with his sticky fingers and she was not at all amused. Rather than ask him nicely to stop, she started crying and whining. I asked them to please keep their hands to themselves... I'd be done shortly and we could proceed to the restrooms inside Fred Meyer to get cleaned up.

 

I doubt they even listened to me because her whining only got louder. I got down to their eye level and tried talking with them. Buddy settled down right away and said he wouldn't touch her anymore but Sweetie kept right on whining. Whining REALLY gets to me but I managed to stay cool. It was clear that she was very tired. Fortunately, I was finished making copies and we could be on our way.

 

As I was waiting in line to pay, Sweetie was crying.... complaining that she was now sticky all over. I reassured her that we would be going to the restroom shortly. In the mean time, could she think of a better way to have asked Buddy to stop. "Whah! Nooooo!" I repeated my request. "Can you think of just one way that may have worked better than whining and screaming at him?"

 

I was attempting to carry on a dialogue ... allow her to reflect on her behavior and learn from it. We do this all the time. It helps her to calm down and better handle situations in the future. Only today - she was tired. She couldn't focus.

 

It was then that the woman in front of me who was filling out a packaging form turns around and says to her, "I can't concentrate when you are crying. You are embarrassing your mother."

 

I replied, "It is she [my daughter] who should be embarrassed. It isn't my behavior that is embarrasing but hers." The woman just looked at me funny.

 

She then turned to Sweetie again and said, "You need to stop. This is enough. You are being very bad and need to be in time out."

 

I said, "Oh, she will be." Sweetie sits quiet for a moment but starts crying quietly again.

 

"If you don't stop crying, I am going to take you out to my truck and lock you in the seat until you do! You better stop or I will take you to time out in my truck!" the woman states sharply.

 

I was stunned. Sweetie was stunned. I wanted out of there. A rebuttal was slowly evolving in my mind. Fortunately, the clerk came up to the counter and asked if I had been helped. "No, I just need to pay for my copies."

 

The other woman turns to me and says, "Oh. Am I in the way?"

 

"No. You were here first," I replied but she had stepped aside and the clerk rang me up anyway. I think they were both as eager for us to leave as I.

 

As we departed and proceeded into Fred Meyer to get cleaned up, a variety of responses came to mind. Why am I always so slow to react to confrontation? Why can't my words come more quickly?

 

She had no right to interfere with how I was parenting. Sweetie really hadn't done anything wrong. She was simply upset and having difficulty expressing herself, finding the words to communicate.

 

Using fear and intimidation has never been nor ever will be my style. How dare a stranger threaten to take my children and lock them into a car! It was 80 degrees! I couldn't very well depart the premises until I had paid for the services I had used. There was no public restroom where I could pull my children aside.

 

How I choose to parent my children is of no concern to her and she has no right to tell me how I should address their behavior. I will not threaten, terrorize, bully, or persecute them. I use natural consequences.

 

[As a result of her behavior and a second, though smaller, meltdown in Fred Meyer when I told her she couldn't have candy, we returned home. We were supposed to go to Taekwondo class but it was apparent that she was too tired. I explained this to her on the drive home. 'We'll go home and sit together on the couch and read, instead.']

 

I looked for this woman as she finished up our shopping errands in Fred Meyer but didn't see her. I would have liked to have said my peace.

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I dont think I would ever( I wont say never) interfere with a complete stranger and her/his dc in public. It is not my place nor this woman's. OOOOOOOHHH that would make me so mad! Good thing it wasn't me because it would have been ugly and then I would have had to repent and all that. Honestly the nerve of that woman. You deserve that saint of the year award.

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Oh wow!! That woman was so out of line!! I had something very similar happen to me when my oldest was 2. I did have a reply, but I have always been pretty quick on my feet.

 

FWIW, I think you did just fine. I am so sorry this happened. People really need to learn to keep their mouths shut!

:grouphug:

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I've learned to view it as a good thing - keeps me out of trouble.

 

You're right though - she was out of line.

Yes I suspect saying nothing was probably a good thing, if she gets that OTT about a young child being upset imagine what she would have been like had you got upset!

Boy was she out of line!!

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Wow. I would have been SO angry too. I had someone once try to tell me how to handle my son; I told her "I am capable of parenting my own child."

 

What this woman said to you was completely out of line. Anyone speaking to my child like this (stranger, friend, or relative) would receie an absolutely furious response from me. I mean, sheesh - threatening YOUR child? She had absolutely no right whatsoever, and you did have every right to say something to her.

 

I hope that if something like this ever happens again, that you will have the right words to say. Neither you nor your daughter deserved this woman's threatening and abusive remarks.

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That strangers's words, perspective and involvement with your kids was inappropriate and rude and invasive.

 

How I choose to parent my children is of no concern to her and she has no right to tell me how I should address their behavior. I will not threaten, terrorize, bully, or persecute them. I use natural consequences.

 

Was your post "just" venting, or did you want commentary on that content as well?

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That strangers's words, perspective and involvement with your kids was inappropriate and rude and invasive.

 

 

 

Was your post "just" venting, or did you want commentary on that content as well?

I don't mean to hyjack the thread, but I think that quote by your son is hillarious!!!

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Thank you, everyone. It helps to know that I am not alone in my frustration.

 

Was your post "just" venting, or did you want commentary on that content as well?

 

I was venting but am open to commentary. We are all here to learn, right?

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Oh, I'm so sorry! How rude of that woman! To go on and on.

 

I think a standard, but firm -- looking into the eyes -- reply would work in these kinds of cases, namely: "I need to ask you to stop instructing my child." There's no need to get into a verbal sparring match with her (although I totally get wanting to nail her with your words!!). You just want to shut her up and have her stop saying things to your child. If she kept at it after firmly saying the above, you can take the adrenaline and confidence you gained by saying that and repeat, "No, I said you NEED to stop instructing my child and I mean it."

 

So sorry that happened!!!

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Sure, she was out of line, but really...who cares? Don't let her get to you. Now, I grant you, I'm rarely tongue-tied so I likely would have responded to her, but it would have been more for my own comic relief than anything. For example after she said this....

 

"If you don't stop crying, I am going to take you out to my truck and lock you in the seat until you do! You better stop or I will take you to time out in my truck!"

 

...I likely would have replied along the lines of this:

 

"Why, what a kind offer! How much do you charge for that service?"

 

...or this:

 

"Truck? Oh, dear. You don't have a truck parked out there, do you? What color is it?" (she answers) "Uh-oh. And what make?" (she answers) "That's what I was afraid of. I wondered when I saw that guy slashing the tires if the owner was around. So sorry about that!"

 

People amuse me far more often than they anger me. I like to just go all Seinfeld all them.:D

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She was certainly WAY over the line with her last comment. BUT...I think I would have raised one eyebrow at her first comment too. Nip her interference with your parenting right there or not respond when she mentioned that your dd was embarrassing you. I think you let her open the door a tiny bit by discussing the situation at all with her and she ran from there. Next time cold stare. :glare: Like that. :)

 

Jami

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Thank you, everyone. It helps to know that I am not alone in my frustration.

 

 

 

I was venting but am open to commentary. We are all here to learn, right?

 

Does your dd know that you would NEVER let a strange woman discipline her and put her in her car? She knows that explicitly, right?

 

What a HORRIBLE woman. I would have been DOWN her throat and in her face.

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I work with people who are very insane. Some of them have attacked children (strangers who were making noise or bothering them). I would stay quiet with such an unreasonable person, too. I would also move between my child and this woman. I would be prepared to scream and deflect, but I wouldn't confront them verbally.

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Does your dd know that you would NEVER let a strange woman discipline her and put her in her car? She knows that explicitly, right?
This is what I was wondering too. You may want to have a talk with Sweetie to make sure she knows that mama would NEVER let that happen! Give her big hugs and make sure she doesn't have a lingering fear of being left somewhere alone(like in a truck)!

 

If I would've recovered from my shock of someone speaking that way, I would have quietly, through clenched teeth, said, "My daughter is tired. She will be home taking a nap soon. What you just suggested is child abuse, and MUCH worse than what she is doing!" :glare: I would be getting louder as I spoke!

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You may find it amusing that when I was reading your post, I initially thought Sweetie and Buddy were your children's real names.:D (And now, if those actually are their names, I'll be kinda embarassed.:tongue_smilie:)

 

Hee Hee ... that makes me laugh! :D You can rest assured, Sweetie and Buddy are nicknames. Sweetie because she is mild-mannered, gentle and sweet (generally) and Buddy because is my affectionate one, a big bear hugger! :D

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This is what I was wondering too. You may want to have a talk with Sweetie to make sure she knows that mama would NEVER let that happen! Give her big hugs and make sure she doesn't have a lingering fear of being left somewhere alone(like in a truck)!

 

If I would've recovered from my shock of someone speaking that way, I would have quietly, through clenched teeth, said, "My daughter is tired. She will be home taking a nap soon. What you just suggested is child abuse, and MUCH worse than what she is doing!" :glare: I would be getting louder as I spoke!

Ha, I'm quoting myself....anyway, I was going to say...

 

And if THAT failed, I'd have Remudamom or Colleen teleport to me and take care of the lady!!! :001_smile:

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You were speechless because you couldn't imagine behaving as horribly as she did and were caught completely off guard. Now that I have had a similar experience (in-laws *sigh*) I would have politely but very firmly informed her that I am completely capable of parenting my own child.

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She then turned to Sweetie again and said, "You need to stop. This is enough. You are being very bad and need to be in time out."

 

I said, "Oh, she will be." Sweetie sits quiet for a moment but starts crying quietly again.

 

"If you don't stop crying, I am going to take you out to my truck and lock you in the seat until you do! You better stop or I will take you to time out in my truck!" the woman states sharply.

 

My jaw dropped reading this. I can't believe someone would threaten a strange child, in front of their parent, with violent and illegal behavior! No wonder you were speechless. What a freak!

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I'm finished with the years of dc behaving badly in stores, but *boy* do I remember some really bad days! My dc were all born close together, and we had 5 babies in about 7 years' time. Going to the store with 5 dc age 7 and under was definitely no picnic.

 

Whenever I was in a situation of dealing with someone unpleasant like that, I would remind myself that people's tolerance for childish misbehaviour is different. I know that I have less patience than I wish I did, though I would never ever *dream* of saying anything to a struggling parent!

 

There's obviously no excuse for how that woman behaved, but is it possible your dd was perhaps a bit more disruptive than you thought? Either way, that woman's internal monitoring of what comes out of her mouth is seriously defective.

 

Perhaps she really was just having a tough day too, and wasn't coping very well, I dunno...

 

Anywhoo...just shake this off, girl!

You can't let people like that get you down.

Don't we have some phrase here about bean dip that might apply? :D

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My first reaction would have been to whip out my cell phone and dial 911, and tell the police there was a stranger threatening my child, and that I had witnesses. That might have shut her up pretty quick.

:iagree:Yep, my thoughts precisely!

 

My dh calls me a mama bear when these things happen. Don't mess with my cubs!

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That's one over-the-edge lady!

 

Now, I could see being annoyed at someone else's whining, crying child. In fact, I am absolutely certain it would bug me. But it is very unlikely I would actually say anything. I admit, I might make a mean face at the child when the mom wasn't looking though.

 

The lady you encountered sounds kind of nuts. I wouldn't have said anything confrontational to her, but would have been certain to keep between her and my child.

Michelle T

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"I can't concentrate when you are crying. You are embarrassing your mother."

 

"Not nearly as much as you are embarrassing yourself by interfering with someone's else child and having no ignoring skills to speak of. My daughter is a child, but you are NOT."

 

Or, alternatively, "You are an adult, and you're incapable of ignoring a tired child for five minutes, so I'm pretty sure if you had taffy all over you, you wouldn't be handling it any better than my daughter is."

 

Yeah, probably both of these are pretty impolitic, but I am so tired of suffering fools gladly. Who on earth tells someone else's child she is "bad"?

 

The problem is that if we let someone say ONE thing like that, she feels validated in her approach and will keep escalating. Plus she'll do it to every child she sees.

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The more comments this thread receives, the more thankful I am that I posted it. It has been very helpful to read through the thoughtful responses and contemplate the variety of things I could have and should have, said. Thank you all so much. I know that if there is ever a 'next time', I'll be better prepared. :001_smile:

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There's obviously no excuse for how that woman behaved, but is it possible your dd was perhaps a bit more disruptive than you thought?

 

We all coexist with children in a world that preaches "tolerance". Children can be expected to behave childishly. Childish behavior is immature and often annoying. However, we grown ups need to be mature enough to accept their behavior with grace and patience, and remember that we were once kids ourselves ;)

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Guest kacifl

I was having a perfect morning sipping my coffee and just reading about that busy-body makes my blood boil. The nerve of that woman! I'm afraid that there are more and more out there like them. She would have frighten my kids with the 'take you out to the truck' talk. All their little minds would think of 'stranger danger'. How scarry. Here is a hug for your kids:grouphug:

 

PS: I have the capability of giving people like her the EVIL EYE. Trust me, I'm:angry: really good at it. I never have to figure out what to say, just call on the trusty evil eye look. I hope I run into her one day...:D

 

kaci

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We all coexist with children in a world that preaches "tolerance". Children can be expected to behave childishly. Childish behavior is immature and often annoying. However, we grown ups need to be mature enough to accept their behavior with grace and patience, and remember that we were once kids ourselves ;)

 

Oh, I don't disagree with that at all, and as I said, I think the woman's behavior was "off." I also believe that the woman's very first comment--that she couldn't concentrate with all of that fussing--would have been my cue to apologize for my dc's behavior and to head outside for a moment in order to avoid "disturbing the peace" of other people trying to carry out their business in a public place.

 

Absolutely, the woman should never have said what she did. She must have either been nuts, or extremely frustrated. Either way, I'd have taken my dc out of a situation where we were facing someone who was clearly *nuts* or *waaayyy too frustrated* or (probably) both of those things.

 

Setting the copies down, saying you'll return in a moment, and ducking outside the door for a minute to communicate with your dc and leave other folks in peace is just a polite (and possibly safer) option to consider if the situation should ever arise again (though I doubt it will!).

 

ETA: I forgot to add any smileys here so that you all would understand that even though our opinions on this may differ *slightly*, I really do see your point, partially agree, and certainly am not trying to offend! I didn't realize that the edit feature doesn't allow you to add any :-) so here it is.... :-)

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Althought my reply merited being told privately (ahem;)) that I'm "full of crap", I assure you I was in earnest. I can get a real laugh out of situations like this and be very silly with strangers ~ much to my boys' embarassment.:D But it's absolutely understandable that you were tongue-tied ~ and ya know, that's probably for the best. Sometimes after a difficult encounter we wonder, "Why didn't I say something? Why didn't I do something?" but the truth is, saying and doing nothing is often the best response.

 

Have a great day!:)

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You may find it amusing that when I was reading your post, I initially thought Sweetie and Buddy were your children's real names.:D (And now, if those actually are their names, I'll be kinda embarassed.:tongue_smilie:)

 

So is now the time to say that my dad's legal name was Buddy? He was named after his dad's nickname.

 

My dh's aunt was nicknamed Sweetie as a child. She is a lovely and wonderful 80-something today and the name fits well.

 

The names may be different or unfashionable, but nothing to be embarassed about. I've certainly heard worse in my lifetime. ;)

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ETA: I forgot to add any smileys here so that you all would understand that even though our opinions on this may differ *slightly*, I really do see your point, partially agree, and certainly am not trying to offend! I didn't realize that the edit feature doesn't allow you to add any :-) so here it is.... :-)

 

If you choose the "Advanced Options" button you can add smileys.

 

I completely understand what you are saying about being considerate of others. However, that does not negate the other woman's responsibility to be understanding and gracious of the op and her children.

 

In other words, I agree :001_smile:

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The names may be different or unfashionable, but nothing to be embarassed about. I've certainly heard worse in my lifetime. ;)

 

I meant that if those actually were Makita's childrens' names, I'd be embarassed for implying that that couldn't be the case. Wait a sec...that reads kinda funny but I can't figure out how else to word it. I was just trying to give Makita a smile. No offense intended.

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I meant that if those actually were Makita's childrens' names, I'd be embarassed for implying that that couldn't be the case. Wait a sec...that reads kinda funny but I can't figure out how else to word it. I was just trying to give Makita a smile. No offense intended.

 

 

I know what you are saying, Colleen. I call my ds "Buddy" all the time. ;)

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Oh, my. I can't believe she said those things to you!!

 

As to her first comment, I think you responded appropriately and I can't believe she continued badgering you after that. As to her comments about locking your child in her car, her actions border on criminal...she was threatening your child with false imprisonment!! I don't usually say things to people like that - like you I suffer from a lack of speech in those situations - but I can think of quite a few lines to give this woman:

 

"Please do not threaten my daughter."

 

"The actions you are describing are illegal."

 

"As you are not my daughter's parent, you have no place threatening her with any sort of punishment."

 

"I don't care how annoyed you are with her behavior, I will not allow you to bully my child with threats of illegal activity."

 

"Maybe you don't realize this, but what you just described as a punishment for my daughter is something you could get into some serious legal trouble for suggesting, so *I* suggest that you keep your disciplinary ideas to yourself from now on."

 

I have more....but thought I would just post the more "grown up" responses. :tongue_smilie:

 

Sorry you had to deal with such a woman. :grouphug:

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So is now the time to say that my dad's legal name was Buddy? He was named after his dad's nickname.

 

My dh's aunt was nicknamed Sweetie as a child. She is a lovely and wonderful 80-something today and the name fits well.

 

 

 

My mom (who is 80 something) was called Sweetie as a child!

 

And her brother (my uncle) is Bud!

 

Are you my cousin? (My uncle lives in San Jose).

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I meant that if those actually were Makita's childrens' names, I'd be embarassed for implying that that couldn't be the case. Wait a sec...that reads kinda funny but I can't figure out how else to word it. I was just trying to give Makita a smile. No offense intended.

 

None taken. :001_smile:

 

My dad was constantly asked if Buddy was his *real* name or a nickname.

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My mom (who is 80 something) was called Sweetie as a child!

 

And her brother (my uncle) is Bud!

 

Are you my cousin? (My uncle lives in San Jose).

 

Oh that's fun!

 

We are Texans, so I'm probably not your cousin. Too bad, since I don't care for many of my own relatives.

 

DH's aunt Sweetie also had a brother named Bud and a brother nicknamed Sonny. I think Dh's grandmother just liked nicknames....which was good considering what names she inflicted on those poor babies. :D

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Darla & Colleen - Both perfect responses. I wish I had thought of either of them! :D

 

No. I think you did the right thing in NOT saying anything, even if in hindsight you think of a cute retort. Somebody like that should just be avoided, like an aggressive driver - just get out of her way ASAP.

 

Remudamom's idea of calling 911 would be the right response, if anything.

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I work with people who are very insane. Some of them have attacked children (strangers who were making noise or bothering them). I would stay quiet with such an unreasonable person, too. I would also move between my child and this woman. I would be prepared to scream and deflect, but I wouldn't confront them verbally.

:iagree:

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I would have had to leave after the woman's first comment. I probably would have set my copies down on the counter and said, "Could you hold these for me?"

 

It sounds like a difficult situation for everyone and I would have been able to handle my kids better without a hostile audience.

 

That being said, the woman was beastly.

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