If you have kids, chances are you’ve experienced the dreaded three-alarm meltdown in the middle of a public place, making you question if your toddler is actually human. The only thing that can make the situation worse is a good samaritan swooping in to “help” with unsolicited advice or comments. So, in the event you find yourself swooping, here are 10 things you should never say to a mom with a screaming toddler.
1. You know what I do …
Oh, do tell. Maybe you are magical and can put a spell on my child; for that is the only way possible you are able to get her to calm down.
2. My child never did that.
Oh, I’m sorry you suffer from memory loss. That must be so hard.
3. You’ve got your hands full.
Oh, I didn’t even notice this 40 lb. child wriggling with rage. I'm so glad you called it to my attention.
4. Have you considered … ?
Let me just stop you right there so you don’t waste your time. I have considered it, right after the last lady came by two seconds ago and suggested the same thing.
5. Oh, you poor thing.
Who, me? Nah, this is what we do for entertainment. I pinch her and we wait to see how many people come up to us or give us dirty looks.
6. They’ll grow out of it.
Wait, what? You mean to tell me I won't get the pleasure of watching my 17-year-old stomp her feet and scream at me over a bag of candy? Dang, I was really looking forward to that.
7. As time goes on, you’ll learn how to deal with it.
This is my third child. Should I know how to tame them by now? Oops.
8. I always got a sitter when I went out.
Hmm, why didn’t I think of paying $20 to a sitter so I could go and spend $300 on groceries?
Excuse me; can you groan a little louder? I couldn’t hear you over my screaming toddler.
10. Someone’s ready for a nap.
Yeah, I didn’t sleep well last night and pushing this screaming kid around in a cart is really taking a lot out of me.
All kidding aside, being a parent is hard. And even though your comments may be intended to help, commenting doesn’t make things any easier. You won't be offering advice the parent hasn’t already tried or heard before. Your groans of dissatisfaction won't make the toddler be quiet. Your attempt of showing pitty on the parent only makes him or her feel like more of a failure.
So, the next time you want to help the poor parent with the screaming toddler, consider offering him or her a reassuring smile or a look of understanding as if to say, “Been there, done that.” A little unity and fellowship goes a long way.
Contact Cristel Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org