Can You Help Raise My Child? An Adoptee’s Views

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Last week, the internet was buzzing about a particular hot button issue that made parents and non parents argue.

What happened?

A restaurant owner in Maine yelled in the face of a toddler who had been very fussy and was throwing a long temper tantrum on a busy morning. What’s more? She wasn’t even the least bit sorry about it! This whole “controversy” made me wonder about parenting today, and whether or not the old saying is true. Does it really take a village to raise a child?

Parents (biological, foster, and adoptive al alike) today are reliant on several people in their community such as teachers, pastors, babysitters, doctors, police officers, fire fighters, etc… to help their children along the way.

What about other people? What about restaurant owners, or store clerks? What about other parents? Who should we rely on to help us raise our children, and what are the “rules”?

Both Sides of the Controversy

I have been on both sides of this controversy. I have been the annoyed customer who just can’t stand the sound of a screaming child across the aisle (come on! just give the kid a cookie!). I have also been the parent who walked quickly across the store with a screaming infant to grab a package of diapers and a bottle of wine (desperate times, desperate measures). I have seen other people’s children misbehaving on the playground and desperately wanted to say something, and I have had “concerned citizens” tell me to “take that screaming child out of here!”.

I must admit, there was a time when I saw a teenager who looked absolutely ridiculous waddling ahead of his mother with his pants sagging well below his bottom, and I looked at the kid and said, “Oopsie. Looks like your pants are falling down”. The kid just rolled his eyes, but his mother mouthed the words, “thank you” to me behind his back.

Obviously, when it comes to parenting, there are a million experts out there, and it feels like we as parents are always under a microscope. So, here is where I lie on the whole “it takes a village” thing:

  • If my kid is being a jerk, tell me.
  • If my kid is doing something incredibly stupid or dangerous (like getting ready to drive drunk) stop him!
  • If my kid is being annoying, just realize that kids in general are kind of annoying, but, I promise that I will not have my screaming kid anywhere for a long period of time.
  • If it bothers you, just calmly tell me- don’t yell at my child.

But, remember, sometimes we have to go to the store whether little junior likes it or not- and if you see us running with a screaming kid and a bottle of wine, don’t judge 🙂

Your Turn:

  • When do you feel your parenting being judged in public?
  • When is it okay for someone to help you parent?
  • When do you feel someone has crossed a boundary in assisting you?
  • How do you feel when you feel someone is judging your parenting?
  • What advice would you give the  public about helping a foster – adoptive parent with their child?

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