5 Things I Have No Problem Telling Strangers Not to Do in Front of My Kid

Rant 146

playgroundI'm not one of those moms who believes she can take her kid everywhere. My daughter doesn't belong in bars or a super upscale restaurant. But when we're out at a family-friendly establishment, I expect the people around us to keep things relatively PG.

The question is: what do you do when adults are acting like jerks in front of your kid? Should you get up and move to protect your child ... or is it OK to tell someone that their behavior isn't acceptable in front of my kid?

This may ruffle some feathers, but I'm going to say it's number two.

Notice I'm not talking about bars and fancy restaurants. If my kid doesn't belong there, I don't expect folks to curb the adult activity for her sake. I'm the jerk for bringing her there.

But when you decide to pick a family-friendly place to hang and you can't control yourself, well, I have no problem telling you to clean up your act. What kinds of activities am I talking about? How about the following:

1. Smoking: There is nothing that bugs me more as an asthmatic and a mother than someone who smokes at a playground. Go puff on your cancer stick inside your car if you really need a fix that badly (just make sure there are no kids inside)!

2. Cursing: I don't mean one f-bomb. We're all guilty of saying things we shouldn't once in awhile. But if every second word is the f-bomb, you could at least drop your voice to library level.

3. PDA: A peck on the lips is one thing. Dry humping your partner on a park bench beside the playground is just not cool.

4. Fighting: Taking kids to a concert and having a fight break out on the lawn is scary. What if one of those people falls on your kids?

5. Kid Bashing: There's no reason my child should have to listen to a litany of reasons you think she's stupid, ugly, or a waste of air. If you don't like kids, don't go to the park on a hot summer day and sit by the monkey bars!

Have you ever had to speak up for your kid in public? What was the situation?


Image via crabchick/Flickr

behavior, family


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nonmember avatar Mara

I usually don't like these types of articles, but all of these seem reasonable.

Melis... Melissa1508

I haven't encountered this yet, but I'm sure I might either try to move away from the situation or, if I can't, try to be reasonable about asking the person to stop what they're doing.  I mean, a litany of curse words around my 5 year old is not cool so I don't see why it would be bad to ask them to stop.

Lilyp... Lilypad523

I've asked people to tone stuff down and I don't even have kids. My parents and I were at a nice restaurant one evening and the guy at the table behind us literally used the f word in every sentence he spoke. I had enough and finally actually told the manager. In my opinion, people should keep profanity to a minimum in public areas, regardless of whether or not children are present. 

LadyM... LadyMinni

I can't get mad at people for cussing in front of my kids because I do it all the time. It's my vice. I don't drink, smoke, gamble, speed on the highway, or do anything else fun so I cuss. I try to tone it down, especially in public, but my motivation isn't there. And the cussing one isn't as bad as the other ones. It can't damage them like a fight or smoking can. Kid bashing is unpleasant (I guess) but there are a lot of people who hate children. You'll have to learn to live with it. As a former child-hater I can tell you that trying to make it stop will likely make it worse. As for PDA, my fiance and I suck face where ever and when ever we want, except at work. But "face" is all we suck. I have yelled at a girl for giving her boyfriend a BJ when there were kids around. She was not as well hidden as she thought. Parks aren't good hiding places.

nonmember avatar Onyx

I am a punk rock mom!

The PDA thing, I don't mind kissing you would see at a wedding (french kissing), hugging, holding hands, you know actually showing love and affection to your spouse. But like you said - dry humping is a bit much.
Fighting and you give a concert as an example. LAME - Again our child has been to many, many concerts in his 9 years and we have always kept him safe! I think going to an event of that caliber you go in with a heightened safety level and are "on your toes" a bit more. How about the time we were in a Wal-Mart and a fight broke out? Was not prepared for it and had to hustle out of that area as you do not know what will happen. What about any other violent occurrence you may see or have to explain to your child.

The one thing I want to know - is this article is under the "Big Kid" section. At what age would these things no longer bother you? At what point are you going to begin talking to your child about what is acceptable behavior in public and what is not. And no matter how hard any of us try, we will always "offend" someone. Have you not heard of the saying "Can't please all of the people all of the time!"

Nelli... NellieAthome

Other than #5 which involves direct deliberate interaction with your child absolutely NONE of these are activities that anyone has a right to chastise adults for doing. This is a free country and, big surprise, that freedom does NOT include the right to not be annoyed or bothered by other people's behavior.

CassS... CassSpade

The world isn't going to stop for your kids. If you don't want your kids to see what's out in the real world, then keep them in a bubble. Seriously, if your kid hasn't heard a curse word, then he's going to be blown the fuck away when he steps in to reality. You're doing your child a disservice from letting him see you act like an entitled brat just because you have a child. Don't like your environment? leave.

Angela Mae Schiller-Jones

I don't see what the problem with smoking is. It's not like I'm inhaling, shoving the cig in her face then blowing it directly in her lungs. I'm outside for God's sake. There's more pollutant in the air coming from the parking lot of vehicles than what's coming off my tiny little cigarette. So you're telling me to accept everyone else's lifestyle choices (biggest one, obesity) but you hate on smokers? It's a lifestyle choice that I do OUTSIDE away from the kid to begin with. You'll yell at me to go sit in my car to fix my nic fit, but you won't put down the damn fork to get your food fix? (And I mean "you" as a general audience. Not the author)

Hocke... Hockeymommy1734

The smoking one REALLY gets to me. SO has a 6yo son who was recently diagnosed with asthma. Not my kid, so I have done my best not to say anything about BM and step dad smoking around him. BUT he played t-ball this year and during a ONE HOUR game they couldnt keep from lighting up less than 10 feet from 1st base. I was so angry that none of the other parents spoke up. I know they're not my kids, but it drives me nuts when people put kids in that situation!!

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