What is going on in our society? It seems more and more strangers are taking the liberty to literally step into a conversation I have with my child and give their own advice, and often times tell my child that they can do the opposite of what I just told them they can't do. This past weekend, I had so many situation of this happening to me that I just needed to make a public stand and ask adults to ‘stop overriding my parenting', while reminding myself not to become these kinds of strangers.
Stop Overriding My Parenting
I want to start this out by saying that I appreciate insights and information that I may have missed about one of my children, because I'm well aware that I can't see everything and if you have raised your children already, I cherish the wisdom that you may have for me and long for it most days.
I welcome the little corrections from loved ones, when my watchful eye didn't see something that my child was doing, and love that you care enough to help my child learn to do the right thing, at the right time, as long as it is done with love.
This post has nothing to do with these situations, and involves perfect strangers, who have no idea about my child and where they are struggling or overcoming at the moment. The unknowing face of a person that has never crossed my path or that of my child but seems to have more insight about parenting my unique child in that brief meeting, than I have learned in the years of his life.
This is who I write this for, and hoping that with all ability within me that I don't become this person to another mother that I have the opportunity to share a moment with in public on any given day.
When I happen upon your yard sale or visit your store, and you hear me instruct my child to not touch anything but look with his eyes, not his hands, please do not override my parenting, but voicing in front of him, “It is okay if he touches them.”
He may look so sweet with his big brown eyes, and his sandy hair, as you were quick to point out, but he is 100% boy, and those figurines that you are trying to sell are as breakable as the next glass thing that we may encounter on our outings today. Although, you may think it is trivial for this mom to teach her son not to touch what isn't his or that he needs to enjoy things with his eyes, and not his hands, I'm trying to train my son in responsibility, which means if he broke your figurines or the cherished china of the next persons that we visited, I would have to demonstrate that responsibility means to pay for the damage you caused another.
A Mom Trying to Raise an Honorable Man
Dear Second Stranger,
Do you not understand how awkward and inappropriate it is for you to take a pair of pants off your shelf, and proceed to ‘fit' them to my son, even after I told you there were 2 sizes too big for him and not what we were looking for today.
I'm capable of knowing my son's size and needs, and just because he is the same gender for the majority of the clothes you are trying to get rid of at your sale, please by no means, mistaken my son as a sales tactic and pull him toward you, in the attempt to sell your goods.
And when you scare people away so quickly because of your boldness, I would like for you to consider that his brother, which stood next to him, was already taller than I am, and I don't need to hear you call after me with threats of ‘he will grow faster than you realize' in hopes to get me to turn back and purchase your pushed wares.
A Protective Mom Who Knows How to Provide Clothing for Her Son
Dear Third Stranger,
Imagine how uncomfortable you would have been when you insisted that my son could keep playing with the thing that I told him to not play with and he broke it, but I wasn't willing to pay for it (I'm not that kind of person, which is why I insist on my children to not play with things I haven't given them permission to play with).
Do you not realize that I know how rough my boys can be on things, and I'm only respecting your belongings by limited what my children do with them. I would have hoped you would appreciated the care I was taking with watching my boys around your belongs, so they didn't damage them and allow others to purchase them.
I would have staying longer, and looked around more, however I had to leave because my boys mistaken your input as overriding my parenting and caused them to disobey me by continuing what I asked them to stop doing. The best solution was for me to avoid the temptation for them, and just go on with our other things.
A Mom Who Is Doing Her Part in Raise Responsible Young Men
We run into ‘well-meaning strangers' all the time. I'm sure it is because my boys know how to behave themselves in public, most of the time, and they can see a difference with their responses to me, that they feel that my boys wouldn't be the kind to make a mistake and break something, or get too wild when enjoying a toy.
Unfortunately, they are these types of children because most children don't plan on breaking things or play too hard on a toy, it is just part of what happens too often.
My hopes with writing this post is to help all of us remember that parents know their children best, and even if we don't understand their instructions to their children while they are in our present, doesn't mean they are wrong and surely, doesn't give anyone the right to speak up and override their parenting.
I would hope that more and more people will begin to appreciate the guidelines that parents enforce with their children, and begin to see them as people working to make a better community by raising character filled children, who one day will be adults in their communities.
Encourage them in how they are parenting their children, and recognized that these boundaries are to teach respect of others, and it started at your front door.