Annoying Things People Do With Fellow Parents and Their Kids

I have noticed that people have this habit of showing over concern or trying to help even when it is neither needed nor asked for or worse advising when they are not even concerned. While some might be doing so genuinely but most of the times it is just our way of interfering without considering other person’s personal space.

It gets even worse when people do that with parents who are trying to talk to their child or trying to control a tantrum.

I would start with an incident from the lot that happened with me. I was coming back home from school with my four year old daughter when this acquaintance, not friend, just an acquaintance of mine, came and said hello. We exchanged greetings, talked for a few minutes and then she said,  ‘Chalo na ghar chalo’. Now this is a habit of hers, and initially I found it welcoming but now it just makes me uncomfortable because she does not know when to stop. I told her that I have just brought my daughter for school and it is time for lunch. There is a routine that I have been trying very hard to set and follow – come back home, wash your hands and face, change clothes, have lunch. Plus, my daughter was tired. So I politely told her we can’t and invited her at my place instead, thankfully she came and left after some time. Now the same day at around 9:30 p.m. in our society, I was sitting downstairs on a bench with my daughter. We go for a walk, then sit and chat and later come back and sleep. Now, the same acquaintance came again and again she did the same, inviting us to her place. I told her that it is too late and we were just going back home. Everything was fine till  now … what upset me was the fact that now she said the same to my daughter, ‘Let mumma be here, you come..’ Since my daughter just saw this  as an opportunity to keep playing she started throwing tantrums to go to aunty’s house. And while I was trying to explain it to my daughter this lady again interrupted, ‘Let it be, just come for ten minutes.’

This was totally not required. I told her again that it is too late and we will come some other day. She said, ‘She is crying, don’t cry beta, Let’s go.’ I swear was so frustrated with her constant interruption that I firmly told her, ‘It is OK, she would cry for five minutes and then she will forget about it. You please carry on. Bye.’ I picked up my daughter and came back home.

There are some ground rules that we all parents should follow when dealing with other parents:

1. If someone’s child is crying and he/she is trying to talk to the child, Do Not Interrupt. It is very important to let the parent talk to the child and explain things to him/her without anyone else disturbing them. In fact if you feel the need, just move away a little, children try to cry louder when they see other people supporting their tantrum. The moment we remove the audience, the tantrums slowly fade away.

2. If the parent of the child says no to something, Do Not Contradict the parent in front of the child. Only the parents are to take decisions for the child and in case the parent says no and the child is arguing, one must not interfere saying, ‘It’s ok. Let it be.’ Even when you feel there is a need to share your opinion, do it when the child is not there.

3. We often teach children not to go to anyone’s house without your parents or without taking permission from your parents and this should be mutually followed by all of us. If you really want to invite the child to your house to play with your kids, you need to ask the parent first. At least that’s what all my friends do, even if our flats are right next to each other, we plan play dates among us, decide the right time and then let the kids know. One can’t just tell the child, ‘Chalo bet ghar chalo’ even when the parent is politely refusing.

There might be many more rules but these three are extremely important to me. We must respect each other’s privacy and their way of parenting their child. Sometimes we genuinely love the other kids, or might want to help but we need to learn to stay in our boundaries and understand that children especially toddlers very quickly notice that the other person is supporting their tantrums and they can very conveniently pick up the habit of doing so in front of those people knowing that there is a slight chance their parent might give in to their tantrums.

Children’s safety is one of the major concern these days and so we all need to be careful. It is important not to judge someone’s parenting, but it is a basic etiquette to understand and stop the moment we realise that our momentary concern is making things difficult for a parent who is already struggling.

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