Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Do you think it's okay for a stranger to yell at your child?

Posted by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM
  • 220 Replies
Strangers Are NOT Allowed to Yell at My Kids

by Michele Zipp

toddler boyA couple of weeks ago, I went to a community lunch with my 3-year-old twins. It's open for all members of the community and filled mostly with Senior Citizens, parents with their kids, and various other often-smiling people. We've been before and generally everyone is in a great mood, mingling with others, with lots of the older folks saying how adorable the little ones are. It's in a large space with long lunchroom style tables. Good times. Good food. Friends. Lunch! On this particular day, I went with my friend and her daughter and we sat at the end of a table with my kids who were acting like little angels eating their food all prim and proper with napkins tucked into their shirts and not a crumb spilled on the table. 

Of course that's not true. My kids are 3. They were sitting. They were eating (the butter off the bread). And my son was getting a little loud. And that's when it happened.

My son started shrieking. And as most of us know, any kind of shrieking or screaming seems to be catching when it comes to kids. I didn't want my daughter to join in so I was doing my best to diffuse the situation without calling too much attention to it because I also know my son, and the best ways to deal with him when he's doing something he shouldn't be doing.

More from The Stir: 15 Things Only Parents Say

He was shrieking and then laughing, so I tried to get him to laugh more and then did the distraction technique asking him if he wanted more bread with his butter. Food! That might work. And as this was happening an older man walked over to our table. He didn't speak to me at all, he instead spoke directly at my son with his finger pointing at him and sternly telling him how the older people are bothered by his screaming and that he needs to stop right now. I don't remember his exact words, but I remember that long, mean finger wagging in my child's face and the look of frowny faced anger on that man's. My son instantly stopped shrieking and began to cry.

I'd rather hear an occasional shriek over a child crying. I would also have preferred it if this man spoke to me first before taking the liberty to yell at my son who wasn't doing anything that awful. And besides, it's not like it was quiet in there. Everyone was chatting, there was a vibrancy in the air, people were happy, the community was coming together. And I was trying to get him to stop. And he's 3! My friend, who loosely knew the man, told me he's always been like that -- one of those kind of meanies. A yeller.

I just don't think it's okay for a stranger to yell at your child. Unless it was one of those absolutely necessary kind of extreme situations where yelling could save them from harm or something. This was just a 3-year-old being a 3-year-old and not even a particularly naughty one. And I was working on it -- I am the mother. This stranger yelling at my child with me right there felt like an insult to my parenting. 

As the man was pointing and scolding my child, I tried to tell him I was working on it and that I was sorry, but my son started crying and my focus was then on getting him to stop. Letting him know that he doesn't need to be scared of this mean strange man, hoping he doesn't have nightmares of that pointy finger. But I have.

We haven't been back to community lunch since. I'm not sure if I'll ever go again.

Do you think it's okay for a stranger to yell at your child? Has something like this ever happened to you? What would you do if you were in my situation?

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by Emerald Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I don't think anyone should be yelling at any child. IF your child is acting up or causing me pain them damn straight I will ASK them to stop. Yes I babysat a friend DD. She was excellent til her parent showed up then proceeded to walk across my coffee table. I asked her to please get down. She didn't & her parent did Nothing. So I asked her with a very stern look and voice again along with telling her she would be put in time out. her parent got upset that I was correcting her when they were there.. I said If you had stopped her I would not have interfered.

Surround yourself with people that add to your life not subtract from it.

by Platinum Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:13 PM
31 moms liked this
Maybe if that mom had done what that man did on a regular basis, that shrieking bulllshit would have stopped right around when it started months ago.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:17 PM
1 mom liked this

I have corrected other kids.. If the parents aren't there someone has too. I was up the ER just other day with my well behaved child when there were about 6 kids in the waiting room, with NO! adult. They ranged from ages 13-2. The older ones where fighing over the tv remote, yelling and ripping it out of the tv. It was connected to a wire. I said to them that is not how they should act! and got pretty pissy. Here I was waiting with my child, with a busted head <yes she needed 6 stiches. And I had to deal with someone else 6 little brats fighting while mom was in the ER?! Of course I opened my mouth. There was a baby that was transported to another hospital, I am thinking the mom was at the ER with the newborn baby. But there was no one watching those brats. 

by Ruby Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:22 PM

If someone ever did that to one of MY kids, they would have pulled back a stump where their finger had been. NO ONE talks to my kid like that but me and their father (DH).

by Angie on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:22 PM

I don't yell at other peoples children unless I have to catch their attention to stop them from being harmed. 

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I don't think it is okay, unless the child is in immediate danger. 

Heck, I get defensive if someone looks at my girls the wrong way. My youngest though who has sensory issues sometimes yells in public and I can't tell her to stop because it won't help, we just remove her from the situation. However, I am sure many people look at me and think I am just a bad Mom.

I would never yell at anyone elses kids either unless they were in danger.

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM
9 moms liked this

eh depends. if my kid is being a turd, and not listening to me in a store, and somone chimes in and tells him to knock it off, and he does, im greatful. lol but just to yell for nothing, no. lol

by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM
3 moms liked this
If I wasn't around to correct my child then I wouldn't have a problem with someone rose doing it.

If that mom had been doing her job then it wouldn't have been an issue. If she had done what the man did in the first place there would have been no shrieking. But since she chooses to parent in a lazy, ineffective manner then she should have taken him outside until he stopped shrieking.
by Ruby Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM
16 moms liked this

sternly telling a bratty kid to be quiet in a public place and yelling are two totally different things. If YOU were not going to take care of the problem, and yes, it IS a problem, then someone needs to...and I have a set of twins so I know what it's like to be outnumbered in public. I cant stand to hear a child allowed to be disprespectful to the rest of the community by being allowed to have horrible behavior, and excused by his mama saying , "he is only 3"

by ThePonds on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:38 PM
In that situation I don't care if he was elderly or not, I'd be yelling and wagging my finger at him.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)