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You are such an embarrasment!

Walking out of the supermarket tonight with my hubby (had an ice cream craving), and we passed a family on their way in. Mom, Dad, and two boys about 6 and 8. The older boy energetically ran about 10 feet in front to where a small 3 foot wall was, and did what I thought was a normal kid thing, he jumped up and sat on the wall for a minute. He was going to walk the top of it, when his mother yells in the nastiest tone, "Joey, what are you doing?? Get off of there. You are such an embarrassment!"

Even though I realize she may be trying to teach him something, and I only got a small glimpse of her parenting, I wanted to tell her she was an embarrassment to herself. I just didn't think that approach would do any good.

What can we do when parents attack their children instead of their behavior?


Asked by DarlaHood at 1:28 AM on May. 29, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 9 (347 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • point. It's not about "taking sides" or seeing one person as "all wrong," or the other as "innocent/blameless," it's just about an overall dynamic that feels destructive.)
    Things went on (all very quietly, but in that severe/seething way that was pretty harsh & tense) and we sat quietly in our booth. I was thinking my own thoughts, feeling sad about the cycle of control/threats/imposing consequences & wishing I could help the parents in some way, and my daughter suddenly looked over at me and remarked, "Poor kid." Then she said, totally sincerely, "Things could be so much better for their family if the parents just went to some therapy." (!!) (She only said that because about a year ago, I went to therapy after talking with my doctor about some stuff, & it really did help me as I finally could manage my emotions & parent according to my values. But this comment let me know my little girl's perceptions, lol!)
    By the way, there

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:07 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I don't think any parent is perfect!

    Answer by SeasideNative at 1:38 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I'm not a deeply religious person, but when I see things like that I say a little prayer for the children. If the parents are like that in public I can onlyimagine what their home life is like. I would like to tell the parents that they are an embarassment & remind them that kids will & need to be kids, but I think that would be overstepping the bounds of a casual observer.

    Answer by shareleann at 1:42 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I work with kids and get drama with parents all the time. "I typically just say, Hey, they are all kids, they are going to make mistakes."

    Answer by DomoniqueWS at 1:32 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I don't think saying embarressment ws the right word to use to her child, but yes I would have told my daughter she couldn't do that either. Why? It's not my property and to be climbing around like that isn't polite.
    But what can you do.. we dont' know that she always talks to her child this way, it could have been a one time thing. I know there are times all of our are embarressed at something our kid has done and maybe some of us don't always use the best judgement with our words at that moment..

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 2:59 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I don't think there is anything you can say that will actually make a difference. About all you can hope to do is make friends with the person so they will see the contrast with your own parenting and (hopefully) change their ways over time... It would be hard to be friends with someone who acts that way to their kids, I agree.

    Answer by RobotLady at 1:42 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I agree with the first mom. I would have said, "I thought Joey was behaving like any other child would. I think my kid would do the same. Noone even noticed till you starting screaming." Of course I am a blunt no holds back person though. I am sure if I said that to a person who is already outloud screaming she would have become defensive and screamed at me in the moment. I would hope that when she calmed down she would think about making a scene then calling her kid the embarrasment. I would find her reaction more embarrasing then the kid.

    Answer by AnAngelsKiss at 1:52 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I did find her reaction embarrassing, and the kid's behavior normal. I just saw his face drop and knew that she made him feel so small when she said that he was an embarrassment. She belittled him in front of strangers and he looked so deflated and humiliated. I got the feeling it wasn't an isolated incident, and I just wanted to sit her down and ask her if she could understand that she was crushing his little spirit. It was so obvious that he didn't want her to be mad at him.

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 2:00 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • Too many assumptions going on here. First off we don't know how the kid is at home or the mom either. She could be a great mother, no mother is perfect. Cut her some slack since you don't know her business at all.

    Answer by GomezMami2908 at 2:28 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I did point out in the original post that it was only a sliver of her parenting, but if you could have seen his face... But on the other hand, I agree with you about the slack. I've raised a couple of kids, and my oldest was very challenging. There were times that if people had seen something out of context, they would have thought the same of me. I would never tell a kid - YOU are an embarrassment though. I might say that their behavior was not something that they could be proud of, but there is a difference between attacking your child, and commenting on specific behavior. That's all I'm saying.

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 2:33 AM on May. 29, 2011