Attention Shoppers: This Is the Most Annoying Parenting Move Ever


ShoppingWhen you become a mother, you have to come up with all kinds of strategies to learn how to deal with your kids. They’re small, but those bad boys have strong personalities and the nerve to be stubborn. The greatest challenge for some moms, though, seems to be taking their little ones shopping. I was in Target last week when a little boy went off because his mama took a bag of candy out of his hands and put it back on the shelf.

Good for her, but her smart health move came with consequences: his lip trembled, his face broke up, and — you know what’s next — his head flew back like it was on hinges as he opened his mouth in a gigantic wail. He cried. And cried. And cried. There was no section of the store where you could escape the sound of his bellowing. But his mother’s tactic was to ignore him. She was steady pushing the cart along, pretending that her child wasn’t screaming like an air raid siren.

That might be the way to do it at home. I applaud the woman who can really show her children who’s boss and not bow and scrape to their every little sniffle. It’s hard to do for a couple of different reasons: they tend to be loud, for one, and for two, you hate to see your babies upset, even when those babies are all big and towering over you. That’s part of the big kid get-what-I-want technique. Be as ear-grating as possible so mom and dad will hurry to quiet me with whatever it is I’m asking for. So kudos to the mothers who don’t fall for it. Grandmothers? Not so much.

But for crying out loud — literally — when you’re in a public place packed with people like me, just trying to pick up my Dove body wash and knee high socks for The Girl, that’s not the time to put that strategy into play. When your child is raising the roof off the sucka with his 5,000-decibel cries, you can’t ignore that it’s happening because it’s inconsiderate to the other shoppers around you. I served my time in toddler land, ma’am. So why am I being victimized by the bouts and battles you’re having with yours?

I only had a problem with Miss Skylar one time in the store. Once. We were in a Wal-mart (I guess I should say that these are like my major hangouts, Wal-mart and Target), and she, like this little dude hollering his head off, wanted something or another that she’d been denied from getting. She started crying at the register, and after I finished paying, I took her hand to walk out and she pulled the ol’ fall-out-like-her-knees-turned-to-Jell-O trick. I dragged her along for about five steps before I let go of her hand, thinking that that would make her pull herself together and try to catch up with me. Instead she fell out on the filthy, disgusting floor.

I swatted her butt two times and ain’t had a problem out of her since.

I’m not saying the little alarm in the front of the cart needed a spanking. If that’s not his mother’s parenting flavor, that’s cool. I just needed her not to subject the rest of us to his temper tantrum. If that’s how it’s going to be, I’ll kindly ask her and other mothers who use the same modus operandi to do their shopping at, thank you very much. There’s a link in case you need it.

As another alternative, she could’ve taken her child to the car, waited for him to get his behavior back into civilized order, then went on back in to finish doing what she had to do.

You get off a hard day at work — or in my case, a bunch of back-to-back deadlines — and you’re tired, hungry, maybe even PMS-ing. Maybe you missed the bus that evening. Maybe your car is acting up. Maybe you just dropped your cellphone in the toilet when you were in the ladies’ room. Whatever. We’ve all got stressors in our lives and you know what we don’t need? Mothers teaching their children a lesson when it involves nerve-wracking screeches and screams from a Mariah Carey-note hitting toddler to aggravate the situation.

This has been a public service announcement from a disgruntled shopper.

What annoys you about other parents when you’re shopping or eating out?  

Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr

behavior, boys, discipline, girls


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bills... billsfan1104

Ummm, maybe she doesnt have a car to go too, maybe she doesnt have the time to go home and come back and this is the only time she was able to get to the store. Maybe she lives in BFE and the closet store is Target, and she is trying to get her shopping done. Its not for you to judge how someone elses parents or does in a store. Mind your own damn business.

nonmember avatar Tally

Um, you're kinda being absolutely ridiculous in this. How about you go shopping at so you can completely avoid anything that might upset you at the store. I have three toddlers and as much as I don't like it, they do misbehave in stores. But as a responsible parent I don't feel that my job as a parent stops because I'm in public. I don't like them throwing a fit anymore than you do miss thing. And as much as you have to listen to it, we moms have to walk out of there with the screaming child. But I'm not going to cave to you or my child because its MY JOB - yes MY JOB - as a mom to teach my child to behave and that no means no. Also, thanks for spanking your child in public. I'm sure that would do the trick for every child. Not listening? HEY HERE"S A GREAT IDEA - HIT YOUR KID! AWESOME.

Lindsey Hemphill

What annoys me most is the lack of understanding people have for one another. Your paragraph about stess works both ways. You don't know what that mother or child was going though. Maybe he was sick, maybe he has a condition that causes him to react that way. Maybe she's had the same crappy day as you and doesn't care to hear her child scream any more than you do. Maybe she's just trying to finish getting a few things so she can get the heck out of dodge. Maybe she considered spanking her child but worried that someone would see her and write some trite editorial about how she was abusing her kid. Get over yourself and think of others on occasion. 

Lynette Lynette

You don't know this mother or this child.  Some children like my youngest if she had a fit would just scream louder if she was spanked and she doesn't calm down till she is good and ready.  Some children act up specifically because they don't like shopping.  To give into that and leave would just make it so you can't take them anywhere.  I have 3 children who all run errands with me.  We had our trials but it's worth it to have the well behaved kids that they are, we often get compliments on their public behavior.  It's a learning process for each child.  From your comments sounds like you only have one child.  Each child is different.  Your judgement is too harsh.

nonmember avatar me

I always just let my kid have it in the store and took it away once she got distracted. that way she doesn't start screaming. yeah, I hate the screaming of children at the store.

Gypsy... GypsyMa76

I TOTALLY AGREE! Same thing happened in Staples the other day & I have the good sense to control my child the least you can do it control your own. I should not have to listen to some whily brat because the mom want to IGNORE it. Take the kid outside & collect yourself. AMEN

nonmember avatar Amy

Or maybe you could cut that mom a break and realize that whatever has you bugging out at the end of the day, she probably has too. If not more. And maybe she's been working her rear off all day and just needed to stop for a few things before she hurried home to do the 18 million things left to do before she could put her crying kid to bed and have a MINUTE to herself before she crashed too. I know I've been there...running on empty with an upset kid and just not having the time to take time outs every time she pitched a fit. So, sorry to all you "well my kid was a perfect angel" parents, but hey...folks gotta eat, regardless of how their kids act

mommy... mommyme2440

And if I smack my child on the butt in the store, I get a visit from cps. Happened twice in this small town. You served your time, glad you had it easier with yours. I use every technique I know of, most of the time it works. Some days, not a damn thing I can do but ignore it and she will settle. Some days I am there for pedialyte and tylonal with sick kids who feel like crap.

tinyp... tinypossum

You know, I've been that mother. I've been in Target, running in after work to gravpb necessities, two tired kids in tow. One of my kids was misbehaving and was therefore denied a perusal of the toy aisle. He proceeded to cry"I want to go to the toy aisle!" over and over and over while finished my shopping. I did ignore his cries. I'd said no and I'd meant it. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant to some of the people in our immediate vicinity, but I didn't linger debating thisnsweTer or that. I got what I need and got out. Leaving my full cart and taking them out to the car to spare your ears was not on my agenda. Finishing and getting out were. Sticking to my parenting guns no matter where I am was too. I hate to bother other people and try not too as a general rule, but we don't live in our own little vacuums. Sometimes you may be inconvenienced while out in public. As a parent, have some empathy for others.

mommy... mommyme2440

I live in wyoming, and take the bus year round. Out to the car or the bus stop early isn't an option.

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