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Parental "Lapses" Other Parents Don't Forgive

8 Parental "Lapses" Other Parents Don't Forgive

"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?

Join The Conversation
OlympiaMays OlympiaMays 3 years

I had the situation as you, I had my kids hang on to my blouse or help me open the stroller, or whatever I was doinh to keep them busy, and me happy that I could see them where it was safe. Just an idea. Little kids love to help anyway and what better way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. They continue to like to help, and it sticks with them as they grow, and you get to build a bond and keep them safe :-)

OlympiaMays OlympiaMays 3 years

I am a parent of 4 and never had a leash...well, for the dog I do. I will yell or snatch my kid in public and you can look at me crazy for that if you want to but, it's better thab you looking at me crazy because they're running rampid all over the store or restaraunt terrozing people. My kids may be dirty but, their faces will stay clean. As a teacher myself, I can't stand parents that always want their kids to stay clean because they will have a hard time painting, gluing, etc. Because they are too afraid to get dirty. One of the BIGGEST pet peeve is when parents get their kids out of the car street side instead of the dang sidewalk side. It takes 2 seconds to walk around the stupid car and get your kid out of the car. Or why would you let them get out street side to cross the street by them cross alone while they sit their lazy behinds in the car and watch. Manners are a must in my house, from the time they can speak to now, and 1 is 18. Ill mannered children make me want to take them home and show them how to be respectful by drilling manners into them. They wouldn't be recognized when they went back home.

AutumnWalkerDuncan AutumnWalkerDuncan 3 years

I disagree with #6 I had my kids in daycare and I was threatened of losing my spot there if on a day when I didnt need the daycare, wanted to keep them home. They were expected for a certain amount of hours and unless they were sick (2 week max.) or they'd be unwelcome back

KateBaxter31240 KateBaxter31240 3 years

You need to be more cautious about vocalizing your pet peeves. Not everything you see is cut and dry. I have two kids with two different personalities. One requires more intense redirection than the other. I just posted about this on FB. If a harness is needed for safety 1st then a parent should use it if their child will not listen. If my child is being disrespectful in public and a discreet correction does not work then I deal with him how he dealt with me then explain why we don't treat each other that was AFTER he's experienced it himself. I am tired of being judged by other parents BECAUSE I 'make' my children behave...that's my pet peeve. Where will you be when he decides it's easier to steal than work? I'm not being ugly but ALL possibilities should be considered when judging what you see for a brief moment in time.

CoMMember137056602425531370566524 CoMMember137056602425531370566524 3 years

Thankyou michelle I was sure I was going to get a verbal ear bashing for my conment glad there are other mums out that that feel the same :)

MichelleKirste MichelleKirste 3 years

Very well said. It's one thing to have an opinion....we all do, but it's another to be RIGHT! What makes your opinion (just another word for pet peeve!) right or better than mine. Mind your own business and maybe even help when and where you can :)

Kimberly24916 Kimberly24916 3 years

This whole article is my pet peeve. As moms we shouldn't be judging eachother. I totally welcome advice and constructive critisim but just watching other mothers parent and saying negative things about them to yourself and others is not welcomed. Even if it may be something that looks wrong. Unless your there help that mother and know the FULL background on why that mom might be feeding her kid McDonald's at that moment or why she might have "lost her cool"

ShaynaWarnick ShaynaWarnick 3 years

Until you have a toddler that bolts, you have no place to judge people that use the harness. It literally saved my daughters life. My mother in law and I were both holding tight to my daughters hand walking down the busy road (main drag at a popular beach) and my daughter bolted from our hands straight towards the traffic. Thank God I had that harness on her because there would have been nothing any of us could have done. She was the master escape artist and runner. She could get herself out of your hand or even you holding her so fast and run that you didn't know what happened. I only used them for busy areas like the beach or if we were on a trip and there were alot of crowds but I can tell you they saved us many times. I had two 21 months apart and it was impossible to keep handle on both alone sometimes so it was what I had to do or just not go anywhere.

Judging people and saying they are lazy parents for using a safety precaution is pure ignorance. You don't know the situation and you don't know what has led up to the situation. I guess most of these moms are perfect moms with perfect children because in the real world moms lose their tempers, say things we shouldn't, or just give them whatever to get through the moment. I agree with the safety issues there is no excuse to slack on the safety of your child. I see too many without seat belts or car seats and it makes me cringe. But we have got to stop judging each other all the time. Its ridiculous!

CoMMember137056602425531370566524 CoMMember137056602425531370566524 3 years

My biggest pet peave is the fact that other mums, who obviously know what it is like raising kid, feel the need to bring down every single thing other mums do. Everyone has their own parenting style and not everyone will agree with it but as long as they have happy, healthy well cared for children then just let them be! I used to joke that kids didnt come with a manual but these days im amazed they havent actually done one full of do's and dont's!

VeronicaTamayo VeronicaTamayo 3 years

While I believe in discipline I don't believe in all the points made above. I do want to chime in on the all time favorite of the "leash" topic. I never used one on my children when they were young but I do see the advantage of them now. The leash (which is not an appropriate term) is the safer way to go. When you are walking with a toddler pulling on their arm is not safe for them or if you are slightly bending then it is not good for you either. I had many back problems because of this. My nephew is a toddler and we use the harness on him all the time. I can't begin to tell you how great it is. Toddlers have a sense of pride when they are walking on their own. I don't have to yell at him to stop, I don't have to tug on his arm when he trips, my back doesn't hurt, nor do I have to run after him if he decides to dart. As a matter of fact we have a better relationship because I explain things to him without having to react and shout them out as they are happening. For my next child I am definitely buying one regardless of the criticism.

LaRienaRalph1383320594 LaRienaRalph1383320594 3 years

The leash comment is absurd. I live in a city. I'm pregnant and have a toddler. I don't have a leash for my son but I am always wishing for one. My child wants to walk and deserves that opportunity and independence but when there are cars zipping by and bicycles and crowds it's impossible. I have a little boy. He's a good boy and follows directions but he's still a baby with natural impulse control issues. If he sees a ball or a squirrel and gets excited all he thinks is ball he doesn't think car. If I'm popping up the stroller it takes a minute and I can't be expected to hold his hand, the stroller and a bag on the parents who think this is cruel, put them in my position. A child on a leash is safer.

CoMMember13611589264819 CoMMember13611589264819 3 years

People judging me because I used a leash or harness. My number one concern was their safety. My oldest and youngest were runners. Pretty scary when in a crowd. When my oldest was just 3 we went to a Fourth of July fireworks display. It was near water, but we were well away from the water's edge. As we walked through the area we got a lot of "Oh I wish we'd thought of that", and "what a good idea". Never thought there was a problem until my youngest needed a little more control. Mind you there's 9 years difference in age of the two. We moved from a small town to a small city and oh my what a difference in attitude. When we needed to use the harness we got yelled at, insulted, accused of being lazy bad parents. We continued to use it because our daughter's safety was more important to us than what small minded people thought of us. She has since outgrown the need for it and is as free spirited now as she was then. As is my DS who was the first to benefit from our protection. Our oldest DD didn't need the harness or leash, she was very happy to hold hands and stay nearby. Such a variety in temperments in our household. LOL!

PreetiDixit PreetiDixit 4 years
very judgemental article! Total Rubbish! Pls write something more useful to parents.
AdelaAragon AdelaAragon 4 years
I agree with many moms on here. I have 2 toddler boys(4 & 2 years old). They have different personalities. 4 yr old has always been calm & 2 yr old has always been strong willed. I know many other mothers look at me because for one they assume I'm a teen mom & two assume I'm unmarried (I'm 26 & married-together 5 1/2 yrs, but have been told many times I look no older than 18). I know this has nothing to do with these pet peeves, but it actually does because many times people want to assume things. Have I seen a child screaming at the top of their lungs in public? Yes. Have I thought omg!? Yes. But I also immediately tell myself "don't judge them because that could be [my son] today." My mother in law and I even joke and say "thank goodness it's not him today" and I've even gone up to the mother and said don't worry about it, it happens and smile. It actually always makes the other mom smile and you can tell they have a sense of relief. Also I notice the people starring usually take that judgmental look off their face. As moms we should encourage each other, every single one of our kids are different and we have different opinions on parenting. Unless the child is being abused don't judge.
EstherRoot EstherRoot 5 years
as a parent that has used child back pack and leash I find it give the child freedom to explore while still safely near me. In a national park recently I found my 5 year old wanted to slip out of holding my or my husbands hand and kept trying to run ahead of us. when we got to one of the more dangeriously areas I put her stuffed animal backpack with leash she carried her water in the pack part and was able to explore without my having to worry she would get hurt. so yes i think that with the varity of packs avialable today there is nothing wrong with using this tool .
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