Judging Each Other’s Parenting: Stop The Madness!

A beautiful mixed race little girl pulling a face.
Image via iStock


I grew up in England, and as much as I don’t like to spread the stereotype, my upbringing was a little more “proper.” Being an only child with a small extended family meant I experienced an entire childhood of adult dinner conversations, lessons in public etiquette, and “darling, please don’t rest your elbows on the table while eating.”

As lovely as I’m sure that was for the uptight and impatient people sitting across from my practically mute family in restaurants, it wasn’t the most fun for me.

As lovely as I’m sure that was for the uptight and impatient people sitting across from my practically mute family in restaurants, it wasn’t the most fun for me. Because of this, I have great sympathy for kids everywhere who feel stifled when forced to “behave” in public environments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for appropriate discipline—no one likes that child practising their recorder playing at 9 p.m. in an expensive restaurant—but sometimes kids just need to be kids.

{ MORE:  Tough Love }

An experience that makes me cringe to even remember occurred last summer, when I was in England watching a musical on London’s West End with my mom, a friend of mine, and her mom. The show was Shrek—clearly a performance aimed mainly at children—and we were seated in front of a young child and his mother. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was that mother and I’d paid $40 a ticket to watch Shrek on stage, I wouldn’t “shh” the excited squeals of my 8-year-old. But that was exactly what my mom (apparently!) expected. Unable to tolerate the boy’s enthusiastic reaction to the singing ogre, she pulled out all the passive aggressive stops—the little head turns to indicate her irritation, the just-about-audible-sighs, and finally, to my humiliation, moving to another seating area after the first act.

Don’t get me wrong—my mom is great, but you can probably imagine what her expectations were for my public behavior when growing up. She is one of those adults that have a short fuse for “unruly” children, and she’ll make no attempts to hide it.

She’s not the only one. I think we have a problem. It’s called Judging Each Other’s Parenting, and it’s not benefitting anyone. I recently read an article in The Huffington Post titled, “Please Don’t Assume My Kids Can’t Behave in a Restaurant.” I think we should kick that request up a notch, and say, “Please Don’t Assume Anything About My Parenting Or My Kids Because We’re All Trying Our Hardest and Parenting is Hard for Everyone.” I think it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you?

{ MORE:  Are You Ever “That Mom?”  }


Sometimes kids are rowdy. Sometimes they’re such angels it’s hardly believable. However children are acting in public, let’s leave the judging alone, and offer a friendly, sympathetic smile to the pregnant mother who’s trying to grocery shop with triplets. Lets laugh when someone else’s child runs into us when we’re precariously balancing a variety of citrus fruits in our hands in aisle 3. Let’s just generally have more forgiving hearts and a sense of humor when it comes to other people’s children, and leave the parenting to them. 

Have you ever experienced the judging eye from another mother? Have you ever been the judging eye yourself? How do you think we should handle the unruliness of other people’s children?

What do you think?

Judging Each Other’s Parenting: Stop The Madness!

Tell us what you think!


  1. suellen says:

    first off kids will be kids.. no matter where u are or what u are doing..it is not the kids fault it is the parents fault.. not because of their discipline but because u dont take your child to a fancy restraunt or any restraunt for that matter that is not geared for kids..or mainly if it is past their bedtimes or naptime or they are over tired you as a parent should know how your child is going to behave.. a lot of the time.. but other times if your child is little u know they are not going to sit down and behave in a restraunt.. unless u have been taking them there or out to eat since they were babies.. so they are used to it..and the surroundings dont frighten them..a lot of kids get overwhelmed quickly were as a lot of kids dont as well.. the parent should know that something will overwhelm them or not.. but for the most part unless your child is so unruly and horrible.. running around the restraunt bumping and touching things at the waitress station running into waitresses that have hot food or drinks in their hands..as a waitress parents have gotten mad at me and told my boss when i tell their children they need to sit down and not run around..and ihave told parents i go out of my way not to bring or go over your kids with hot stuff i do not want them running into me and getting burned because they trip me or something else…. i would rather burn me not them.. yes i did actually go over an adult with the food or the coffee or tea..not over the kids..or made sure i was between the child and the food or drink..most other places kids can be kids all they want as long as it doesnt endanger their well being.. to be fair and the well being of others.. NOW TO YOUR MOTHER… SHE WAS RUDE.. she went to a childs show.. maybe your mother needs to grow up or relive her childhood.. (hence another parent.) she had to have known there would be children there.. hence noise and excitement.. if she didnt want to hear a child squeel with joy and excitement then she SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE TO SEE SHREK..ITS LIKE TELLING A CHILD THEY CANT PLAY ON THE SWINGS IF U TAKE THEM TO A PLAYGROUND..she needs to get over herself.. only time i have a hard time with kids like i said in a restraunt running around with the possiblity of getting hurt..when she does things like that u should say mother u were a child once … did u like not being able to laugh or screech when u were a child?? next time dont take her to a child’s event..

  2. Nat says:

    I have often thought/felt guilty about my kids behavior in public because i grew up with formal brunches and family dinners where I was expected to sit quietly while the adults talked. But my mom ruled with an iron fist and we knew what was coming when we got home if we misbehaved. I have to tell myself all the time that if i want me kids to behave the why my mom expected me to I would have to turn into my mom and rule by fear and pain and I am just not willing to be “that mom.” So my kids are very much kids in public but thats ok because I live 1200 miles from my mom and she does not know!!


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