Social Graces and Parenting
I was happy to be quoted in the Chicago Tribune recently on a situation we have all been in....haven't we?
What do you do when a stranger tries to parent your child in public? (Photomondo / Getty Images)
Christen A. Johnson Chicago Tribune
Q: A stranger tries to parent or critique your child in public. How do you deal with the person without becoming irate?
The first inclination is to give a dirty look or nasty retort. These public put-downs can eat away at us for hours, or even days, after they’ve happened. They can make us question our capabilities as parents or the goodness of our kids.
Ask yourself if you value what this person thinks of you. There are many people you care about who give parenting feedback and whose advice you will take to heart.
The stranger in the playground or the neighborhood restaurant? Not so much. You don't know the person’s values or parenting skills. So be prepared for these situations with a set response. "Sorry he's bugging you. We were all kids once, right?" Or a simple, "I've got it, thanks."
Care about the people who do matter to you, and be able to dismiss the people who just pass through your life momentarily.
— Dr. Deborah Roth Ledley, author of “Becoming a Calm Mom: How to Manage Stress and Enjoy the First Year of Motherhood”
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I am a licensed psychologist working with kids, teens, and adults with anxiety disorders.