When advice isn't welcome.
"That baby is spoiled," said the waitress as I rocked our fussy 3-month-old. I smiled politely and hoped our burgers would arrive soon.
"Seriously, if you pick a baby up too much, they'll never let you put them down. I KNOW what I am talking about."
Sadly, this was one of those restaurants where you order and pay before you are seated - otherwise this waitress would not have received a tip. Sites like STFU Parents may be designed to stop parents sharing too much information on Facebook, but we may need to start another site dedicated specifically to naming and shaming those parents who think they know how to parent everyone else's kids too.
Sure, we all have opinions about other peoples' parenting styles, and public discussion about these views is an important part of how we operate as a culture. Despite my observations that judge not should be the first rule of parenting, I have plenty to say about the dangers of smacking or using a firearm to discipline your child, but I would rarely if ever step in in a public place and intervene in a private interaction between parent and child unless I see something physically dangerous or illegal going on. (It is a slightly different matter when that parenting is literally being done on Facebook.)
Besides the moral imperative to respect other peoples' right to parent as they choose within the boundaries of the law, I would suggest that each of us base our actions not just on what we believe is morally justified - but on what is likely to actually work. I can see very few, if any, scenarios where my offering unsolicited advice to a stranger about how often they pick up their child; how they speak to them; or what they should be eating will result in anything other than either being ignored or a hostile response to mind my own business.
Now if you'll excuse me, I must go rock my child. She's crying again.
This post was written by Sami Grover.
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