Strangers with Discipline


Something happened the other day at school that I can’t seem to shake. It’s been randomly popping up in my brain when I least expect it, and I haven’t been able to figure out why. I’m not mad, or upset. This doesn’t bother me enough to DO anything about it, so why can’t I stop thinking about it?
When the scene played again in my mind just now, it all clicked into place. It’s not MY reaction that I’ve been thinking about. It’s another parent’s that I can’t get past, and it’s because it was ALL wrong.

It was the end of the school day, and I, like many parents, was waiting with Parker in the cafeteria. Once Holden showed up, we left through the designated exit for parent pick up, and waiting outside of the door was the parent of one of his classmates with their brand new puppy. An adorable golden, peppy little thing. My kids couldn’t resist- they went running for it. Immediately, I halted them and told them to ask permission, which they did. The dad, of course, was keeping a watchful eye, since a crowd was forming, and that’s when it happened.

Parker had been sticking his hand directly in the puppy’s face (something he knows not to do) and the puppy, being a normal puppy, was playfully attempting to nip it. The dad wanted to nip it in the bud, so he very quickly (and gently, might I add) took Parker’s hand and moved it away from the puppy’s mouth. Totally acceptable, right? Well, not to him. Upon realizing what he’d done, he sheepishly apologized. Not sure if to me, or to Parker, but either way, I was kind of confused. Why was he apologizing to ME? My kid did something that needed to be corrected, and it was, in just the right manner. So….. what’s the problem?


He felt the fear that strikes through all of us when someone else’s kid acts up/out/a fool, and our first instinct, as a parent, is to correct said behavior- BUT- HOLY SHIT- What if this little nugget has one of those kinds of parents? The kind that thinks their precious perfect spawn can do absolutely NO wrong and HOW DARE YOU reprimand MY child?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???

Er… Um… but… they were just…. and I…

Yeah, there’s really no winning when you encounter one of those types of parents, and these days, we live in a world FULL of them. Which leads to a lot of little assholes running around, and it’s a damn shame.

I am not one of those parents, y’all. I mean, yeah, I’m a kinda-asshole, but if my kid is acting a fool and I am not close enough/fast enough/there to correct it, I have no problem with another parent or responsible person doing so- as long as they are not nasty/breathing fire/a total asshole. Shit, chances are, they’ll listen to ANYONE else better than they’ll listen to me telling them! PLEASE! DO IT! I’M GIVING YOU THE OKAY! There is NOTHING wrong with it! I PROMISE!

It’s not that I want a village raising my child, nor do I think I need it- but I think in order to raise well-rounded children, we need the people around them all the time to keep a watchful eye. Nip shit in the bud. Pull hands out of puppies’ mouths. My kids are not perfect. They will make mistakes.


It wasn’t even a few weeks ago that I had noticed one of the neighbor’s kids had been ignoring Parker. Blatantly. I was actually scared to approach his mom, A FRIEND OF MINE, about it. Not because she’s a PP, but because I have encountered SO damn many that it makes me never want to have to approach someone else’s kid or their parent about their behavior ever again.
She was extremely kind about it and even thanked me for coming to her and bringing the behavior to her attention, which restored my faith in humanity a bit, but I still don’t think it’s going to make inevitable future encounters any easier.

Do I think we should let people trample all over our kids? Oh HELL no. Do I think adult interception is always needed? Definitely not (pick your battles wisely)- but you’d better believe if I catch your kid shoving my kid to the ground, I’m going to come over and tell them not to do things like that because it isn’t kind, and it’d be nice if you didn’t bite my damn head off. I hope you’ll do the same if the situation is reversed, and I promise- no biting on my end.

Is that really so much to ask?

If we were all a little nicer to each other, and a little less delusional about how amazingly perfect our kids are, and MORE willing to accept that they are just miniature humans with the same asshole tendencies as us adults, there would be fewer assholes in the world. IT’S TRUE AND YOU KNOW IT!

Posted on March 27, 2015 by Holdin' Holden 3 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • Foe some reason, this reminded me of the first time my dd rode a school bus to pre-K. I knew the driver and made my dd last to get on. She was known to be “rambunctious” to put it nicely. A-holey can apply also. So whe she was finally getting on the bus, I leaned over and told her (loud enough for the driver to hear) “This driver is Miss XXX, and she’s allowed to crack your butt if you need it”.

    After 30 trips, and 3 weeks of school, the driver told me my dd was the best behaved child on the bus.

    Not always a village.

  • Everything about this is so true!! But to be completely honest, my first instinct probably would have been to apologize too out of complete fear that I “over stepped” my boundaries. But how completely messed up is that??!!! I would absolutely want someone else to step in if my child was behaving badly and certainly if safety was an issue.