Saturday, September 6, 2014

An Open Letter to Helpful Strangers

Dear Stranger,

I know you see my son in the midst of a melt-down and your heart bleeds for him.  You see his sweet, red face, his big, crocodile tears and you hear his blood-curdling screams.   You scan the crowd frantically for me, his mother, and without words you ask me to "fix" it. 

As I turn around and realize that it is my child creating this scene, I help my son pick up the pieces of his damaged little craft project and try to keep him moving in the direction of our car so we can escape.  He is three.  He is tired.  And he just broke his precious little foam bumble bee.  What this kid needs is some lunch and a nap.  What this mom needs is a sympathetic audience that understands kids sometimes scream.  Occasionally their outbursts seem out of proportion to whatever "wrong" they are experiencing.  That's what being three is all about. 

What this mom doesn't need is a stranger kindly suggesting that I just take him back to the craft area so he can make another one.  Bringing my kid (mid-meltdown) back to the craft area would extend our time in the hot sun, further frustrate mom and child alike, and postpone nap time at least another 20 minutes.  Bad news all around. Luckily my son didn't hear your suggestion, because then I would have had to tell him, "No, sorry honey.  We are going home."  And then you would have seen what a REAL tantrum looks like. 

I know you mean well, kind strangers of the world. But please don't assume the scene of a melt-down is the perfect opportunity to dole out some friendly advice.  When the melt-down starts, kid and mom are in survival mode.  Unless you're shaking a martini for the mom, or quickly twisting an animal balloon for the kid, your intervention is probably not helpful. 

He's going to be fine.  We've got glue at home. 

Moms Everywhere

No comments:

Post a Comment