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Telling a Mom to Pay Attention to Her Kids

Mommy Dearest: When To Speak Up

Mommy Dearest,

My mom and I were out at a restaurant the other night when a group of women presumably in their twenties were seated at the table next to us. A young child was also with them standing in a high chair!

During most of our dinner, my mom who is a kindergarten teacher was near hysterics imagining the babe falling out and cracking her head or breaking her neck. Trying to mind her p's and q's, my mom was finally fed up and approached the gaggle of girls. She simply told them how unsafe it was for the tot to be standing up and begged for them to be more cautious.

Not a mother myself, I have a hard time knowing when to cross the line. When do you think it's appropriate to say something?

—Freaked Out Diner

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Dear Freaked Out Diner,

I am sorry you and your mother had to endure a dinner that caused more angst than enjoyment. You should both rest easy knowing you did the right thing. If a tot's safety is at risk, I say cross the line. Always look out for the babe's best interest.

Sometimes it can be harrowing to advise a mother on how to raise her child, but in certain instances, mothers need gentle reminders of what not to do. In your case, it sounds like the mom was either unaware of the dangers involved with her child standing in a high chair or possibly too self–involved to realize it.

If you are going to approach a parent about his or her child's safety, consider how you would want someone to speak to you. Chances are you will get a better reception if you talk in a friendly, kind and offertory tone rather than preaching to the mum.

I hope this helps you with your parenting counsel should you come across a similar situation in the future. Until then, happy dining!

—Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
I wouldn't have approached the mother. It's one thing to look out for the child's well being but it's another to rudely interrupt a meal to scold the mothers parenting skills. Sure the mother was neglectful and wrong in this situation but it is her child and her business...not a strangers. I can certainly understand where your mother was coming from, my boyfriends brother is handicapped because of a head injury from his childhood and I too would be scared to death the child would fall off the high-chair. However, I still wouldn't approach a parent in this type of situation.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
my niece actually fell out of a high chair at a restaurant like this. she was being told to stop, but she kept on, and BAM! tapped that head on the floor! i'm not gonna lie, once i knew she was okay, i burst out laughing. the child is BAD. a hard head makes a soft behind. but to answer the posters question; i think maybe your mom was trying to be helpful, but in the same token she can't get mad if homechick told her off. i'm sure if it was back in the game (when you were little), and some stranger came up and told her something, she'd be p*ssed. i don't go around telling other folks what to do with their kids. if the kid is about to run in the street or stick their hand in a closing door, THEN i might jump to "rescue" them. but otherwise, i wouldn't go "you should keep your baby away from the door, they can smash their little hands." here in Southern Cal, you would get the "get the f*ck away from my baby" look. plus, there are alot of New Wave Mommies on the loose. like they feel they don't need a hat, and they try to fed the kid EVERYTHING organic, and they shouldn't watch ANY TV (even if it is the Backyardigans), and their nanny has to be a Vegan, and they should be allowed to express themselves (ie, jumping in the high chair at the restaurant). so you have to just be careful of what mommie's business you butt into.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 9 years
it wouldnt be fun to tell them but u definitely should when doing so could prevent harm to the child! i'd want to know. on a side note, it bothers me when women tell me my childs has is over his eyes when hes sleeping.... i mean whats the worst that could happen that they must bother me with this?
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I would have pointed it out to the restaurant staff as they have a real interest in that child not getting hurt on their property. I think if it came from a waitress it might seem more like rules of the restaurant over someone telling you how to parent.
Ericka Ericka 9 years
My mom is also a teacher. She's always scolding children when they misbehave, or if a parent is doing something aggregiously wrong. I think it's just hard wired in to them. I wouldn't get invloved in everything she does but when I think the child is in danger or is affecting me personally I will.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I agree with Sugarkat. There is a difference between a mom who knows how the child needs to be taken care of and is doing so and a mom who is oblivious to the situation. If I were to encounter a mom like Courtney -- who tells her child that she needs to sit down when standing in the chair -- I wouldn't bother with talking to her about it. She obviously knows how to parent. But if I encounter a mom who is not paying attention to the child and the child is in danger I would do something about it! Sometimes people can be too wrapped up in another situation or something and need to be reminded. To the OP I think your mom did the right thing! Good call! partysugar - my sis-in-law is in school for special education and she has shared many stories with me about children who have ended up handicapped b/c of falling off monkey bars or changing tables or something else.
partysugar partysugar 9 years
I have a mom just like this! She teaches special education so I totally understand this girl's mom's perspective. My mom has taught kids who ended up handicap for the rest of their lives because they fell off of a changing table or high chair when they were really little. Its better to be safe than sorry.
SugarKat SugarKat 9 years
If you don't mind being told off then go ahead and say something. For me, I'd say, "you worry about you and I'll worry about us." However, this mom seemed unaware that her daughter was in danger. In Courtney's case, I'm not sure if someone would interfere since it's obvious that you do know what's best and are trying to do something about it. If I'm just chatting and oblivious to what my daughter's doing, then maybe a reminder would be good, but if I'm clearly trying, then I would be mad and your comment would not be appreciated AT ALL!
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
This is a hard one. Because sometimes people don't like to be told what to do with their child and might get nasty. But if it is for the safety of the child, sometimes you have to do it. When my twin where just 5 month old I took them out on sunny day with out a hat. A lady come up to me in the park and said "It is none of my business but you should have a hat on the babies." I didn't like it, but I bought them at hat as soon as I got to a kids store. Sometimes we all need a helpful reminder. It is not an easy job and we forget sometimes. People are just being caring.
Courtney82 Courtney82 9 years
well having a one year old, she tends to always want to wiggly her way out of her straps and stand up. Every time she does it I tell her to sit down but it can happen over and over again. Its very frustrating to me and I try all the time to get her to sit down. she is only one and doesn't understand punishment yet. I would be very upset if someone "reminded" me how to parent my child. It is a constant challenge and i sure as heck try my hardest.
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