Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unsolicited Advice

I have often wondered where some people get the misconception that experience equals knowledge and expertise.  It seems like whenever I go out anywhere alone with the little man somebody says “Trust me I have like 6 kids.  I know what I am talking about.”  But, most often their advice is so off the wall insane that it is utterly useless.  In fact, it is often so bad that it makes me wonder how their kids survived thus far.

Also, I am never going to listen to anyone who has six kids anyway because they are probably insane, and if those 6 children are running around a grocery store wreaking havoc forget about it!  To even think about having six children you’d have to be crazy.  It’s just too many, and just because you have six unruly little bastards doesn’t make you an authority on child rearing!  I guess I am just getting a little fed up with people pestering me about how I interact with my son when I am out in public.  Maybe I’m too sensitive or a little too harsh on other people.  I don’t know, but, nonetheless, I am tired of it.

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store, and like always I was playing with the little man.  I can’t help it.  I love to play with him.   Anyway, I was tickling him and kissing on him making him giggle and squeal.  It was awesome!  We were having a great time.  Then this gigantic woman with scads of children made a bee line over to me while I was ordering lunch meat from the deli counter.   At first, she was telling me how beautiful my son was.  That didn’t bother me, but she continued to tell me that I was teaching him to misbehave by playing with him in the store.  She said, “You’ll have to trust me because I have six kids.  I know what I am talking about.  If you play with that baby like that he will never learn to respect you when you are out in public.”  How the hell does that make any sense?!

I looked around and watched her kids climbing on the shelves and running around and screaming, and asked “Is that where you went wrong?”

“Never. I would never play with my kids like that in public!”  She said

After she said that, I pointed to her misbehaving children and said, “Well, maybe you should have!”

I was pretty torked.  There is nothing worse than receiving unsolicited advice from a stranger on how to parent your kid.  I know that she was just trying to help, but she wasn’t making any sense, and to be frank, I am a little sick of random people coming up to me only to tell me how I should parent my baby.  What I really want to know is how does playing with your infant in public teach them to be disrespectful when they are older?   Is there a difference between private and public play?  Am I missing something here?  It just doesn’t make any sense, which is precisely why I think that woman was most likely insane due to having too many children.  I don’t even know why I am so torked about it.

Anyway, after I calmed down in a few minutes I began to wonder if I was doing something wrong.  I back tracked a little and determined that all I was doing before she confronted me was either saying “Uh oh! Daddy’s a tickle monster!” while I tickled the little man’s ribs and feet or saying “Now daddy’s a kissy monster!” and then I would kiss his cheeks and forehead.  What is wrong with doing that in a grocery store?  

I don’t know.  Seems rather harmless to me.

The other thing that continues to bother me is why on earth would anybody go up to a complete stranger and tell them that they are parenting their kids wrong.  I could understand intervening if somebody was actively hurting their child, but other than that why bother?  What good is it really going to do?  No one ever listens to advice that they don’t ask for.  So what made her think that I would care about what she had to say?  Again, I believe that she was crazy and had some sort of god complex or something.  I wanted to tell her that if she going to offer unsolicited advice she should at least make sure that she was good at what she was offering advice about because it appeared to me that she was a pretty pathetic parent.  I mean really.  Who allows their children to climb store shelves and run around a store like that?  I don’t care if you do have six kids.  That is no excuse.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, Jeff. Have you ever wondered, though, if the woman you mention would have had the same reaction to a woman and her child playing together in public?