Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the locker room...

I was at the gym and had just dropped off both boys at the Play Care Center. I was in the change room, getting dressed and ready for a long ride on the bike. Two younger Moms (as in...young 20's, possibly teens?) were also in there, but getting their kids ready - perhaps both kids belonged to one Mom and the other was a friend?
Regardless, one of the kids was about 4 years old and his Mom was fed up with him. She told him he was really pissing her off and that he had to do (whatever it was she wanted him to - I think it was go to the bathroom). She was really getting frustrated with him as he lay on the ground and was starting to become quite agitated.
All of a sudden a voice on the other side of the lockers spoke up and said, "You shouldn't speak to your kids like that. You need to speak properly to him."

The Mom's friend chimed in and said, "She can raise her kids however she wants to!"

The voice responded, "I'm not telling her how to raise her kids, I just think she shouldn't speak to her kids like that. I'm a teacher and I'm the one who deals with the repercussions of hurtful language in the home. It hurts me to hear people talking to kids like that. He'll go to the bathroom when he's ready. You don't have to yell at him."


On the one hand, I felt where this Mom was coming from. To be honest, sometimes I feel "pissed off" with my kids. But they're kids. Sometimes they know better, but sometimes they're just being kids - there's so much that goes on in their minds and bodies every second of every day! A

But on the other hand, I fully agreed with the voice. It's NOT OKAY to talk to your kids like that. And if that's how she speaks to her son in public...I don't's not hard to imagine that it's much worse at home. And it doesn't do anyone any good to speak to kids like that. I think it's fine to express that we're frustrated or angry and to hold our children to a high standard of behaviour.

I know that I wouldn't have said anything even if the voice hadn't said anything. I still feel conflicted about stepping into other people's parenting. I think I fear the Mom's friend's comment "She can raise her kids however she wants to."

Yes. Yes, she can. But it doesn't mean it's right or beneficial for her child.

After the exchange I noticed that the Mom's words and tone were much softer and nurturing towards her son. I was encouraged by this. She obviously recognized truth in what the voice was saying and chose to take the higher road instead of becoming sullen and feisty. She chose to be a good Mom and swallow her pride.

Being a Mom is difficult. There is no doubt about it. I pray that if and when my behaviour ever steps out of line that I will swallow my pride and do what's best for my kids.


  1. WOW what an encouraging post. So wonderful to hear that sometimes saying the right thing can make a difference, or hearing it from someone else :)

  2. I've heard parents tell their kids to "shut up" in public before and I can't STAND that. I agree with THE VOICE completely. We all have our moments but kids deserve just as much respect as we do and if they get it, will in turn give it as well.

  3. I worry that my temper will get the best of me with this child to be born. I fear for what I am capable of. But it does help to have the "accountability" of what it looks like in public, my hubby's help and the Holy Spirit. I'm sure I'll learn more what relying on the Spirit looks like with little ones.

    I used to think that how you are in private should be how you are in public, if you are "pissed off" with your: mother, sister, husband (I can't think of anyone else that I often show my anger to) then you should express that in public as you would in private in an attemp to stay "true to yourself" and be authentic. However, I've come to realize through good advice that there is wisdom in "don't air your dirty laundry in public." It's not nice to other people around, it's not the right context to properly deal with the issue, and it's not fair to the person you are angry with to expose them to that in public and will likely make the issue longer to resolve. Not that that directly applies to what you've said because I don't think the woman should have been talking to their kids like that in any circumstance: private or public.

    Anyway this is a long comment.


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