While most of us are confident enough with ourselves as parents, it’s amazing how simple interactions with strangers can still either nag at us or build us up.
A friend of mine was speaking with a stranger today and the person said, of my friend’s four year old daughter, “Hey, she sure is determined to be a rude and interruptive little thing isn’t she?”
I know this family well enough to know that the daughter is not habitually rude, and I know four year olds well enough to know that they don’t quite yet have the social mores of adults. My friend had the grace to say “this conversation is over” and walk away. I’m not sure how I would have handled the same situation, but I know I’d still be fuming over it.
I had the exact opposite random stranger experience this week at the grocery store.
Finished shopping, my daughter and I were loading the groceries into the car when a man driving past us stopped his car, rolled down his window, and told my daughter what a pleasant and well behaved girl she was in the store.
This, of course, made our day.
I don’t really have a point to make other than if you have something nice to say about a stranger’s child, go ahead and say it. It makes the parent feel better, and reinforces that good behavior in the child. If you have something rude to say about or in front of a stranger’s kid, don’t. It really serves no constructive purpose. It, in fact, makes you look like a jerk.