"Why do some people let their kids run wild in restaurants, or scream at [their] kids in public?" wonders Hope B. aloud. I've heard this commentary before . . . only not from someone like Hope. She's not mouthing off about the wild ways of children without having raised any kids herself. She's a mom, and as it turns out, she's far from the only one with pet peeves about the shortcomings of other parents.
While new parents typically learn to give others in the same boat the benefit of the doubt, the daily stresses we all face in raising kids make the occasional letting-off-of-steam inevitable. Here, Hope and other readers do just that, enumerating the parenting lapses that most raise their hackles. Still, I can't help but point out that many of us are — at least occasionally — guilty as charged.
1. Parents Who Expect Kids to Stay Clean
"I can't stand parents who look down on you for not keeping your kid immaculately clean all the time," says Sarah M. "They get bathed once a day so they are clean. Sorry, I want my kids to love life and live it, not have to run around with a pack of baby wipes," she asserts.
2. Parents Who Let Their Kids Loose in Restaurants
Topping many a mom's list of annoyances are parents who let their kids run around undisciplined in restaurants or stores. Hope is annoyed in particular by parents who allow their children to crawl all over the floor in these public places "like wild animals." In her family, "You don't move from the table unless you ask to be excused."
3. Parents Who Put Kids in Safety Harnesses
For Sarah M. and Paula T., what really gets their goat is parents who put their children on leashes. "Kids' leashes are horrible," declares Sarah, and Paula asks, "What, are they dogs? If you can't watch your children better than that you have a problem."
(For additional perspectives on leashes for kids, see 10 Things I Never Thought I'd Do . . . Then I Became a Mom and Kids on a Leash: They Don't Bark but They Do Run.)
4. Parents Who Disregard Safety
Some moms get really irritated when they see other parents blatantly disregarding their child's safety. Trish D. cites parents who "don't strap their children into their car seats, let them sit loose in the car with the windows open and the child hanging out the window," explaining that her own girls know that "if the car is moving and they undo their belt, the car will stop till it's back on."
Jane H. also cringes at the sight of unsupervised kids. "I see kids playing on the road. It's a quiet road but nonetheless, it's a road. . . . These kids could easily get knocked down by a car, or taken by someone and their moms wouldn't know where they are until it is too late."
5. Parents Who Let Their Kids Overeat
Witnessing other parents letting their kids stuff their faces with junk food is a mega pet peeve for moms like Lindsey S. "I can't stand parents who let their kids eat what ever they want in any amounts. They end up being like two years old and 100 lbs. They give them anything they want, like if they want chips and ice cream for breakfast they'll give it to them."
6. Parents Who Take Their Kids For Granted
Joy B. and Kinsey H. get peeved at parents who drop their kids off at daycare on their days off. As Joy explains, "I know mothers who have their kids in daycare fifty hours a week and they only work 20-40 hours a week. It just seems unfair to the child and I don't understand how the moms don't realize that they are seriously missing out."
Kinsey, a working mom herself, offers a more personal take on this peeve: "I hate that I have to have my son in daycare so much, I would much rather spend time with him and take him to the park, etc. I wish other moms would see how precious this time is when they are young and not take it for granted. It really ticks me off."
7. Parents Who Publicly Hit or Berate Their Kids
Morag S. and Rachel D. cringe at public displays of discipline that take a menacing turn, whether physical or verbal. Morag describes a public incident in which "a mom viciously grabbed her kids' arms, told them off and then smacked them in public."
Rachel's "all time favorite peeve" is hearing parents say, "Shut up or I'll give you something to cry about" to their children. "These parents need to be given something to cry about," she castigates.
Angie B. hates hearing other parents yell at their children in public. "Sometimes, I want to go get the child and give them a hug," she confides.
8. Parents Who Don't Insist on Manners
Parents who make no effort to teach their kids how to say "please" and "thank you" are a pet peeve of many moms. "My pet peeve lately is with kids not saying thank you when given a gift," says Kelly R. "I [am] really having an issue with nieces and nephews not saying 'thank you' for gifts they receive for birthdays or Christmas. . . . what's up with the parents not holding them responsible?"
What's your biggest parenting pet peeve?