I was getting gas at costco and a pickup pulled up at the next island with 2 small kids, one in a car seat, who was wailing about something. The dad (I’m assuming here), wearing a cowboy hat, whacked the crying child and yelled, quit it, and got out to pump gas.
The older child, who was probably only 3 or 4 then yelled at the crying child to quit it and whacked him lightly.
I watched this with some very strong stereotyping and suppositions, which I considered discarding, since I have no idea what happened before they pulled up, or anything about the guy other than the truck tank top, and hat. It doesn’t matter to him what I think about him, I’m just some guy at the gas pump, but it made an impression on me. I started thinking about how people see my parentoing, and how when one the kids is being an obnoxioux monster, we might not consider how people watching wouldn’t understand we’d been thrui this 35 times already today.
I also wondered how many times I’ve said something in a way that would make other parents shake their heads, and how that affected the child I was saying it to. I feel like it hasn’t been that often, but isn’t that how we all feel?
So the trick is to hold on to the lesson of the cowboy wearin’, kid whackin’, gas pumpin’, truck drivin’ guy and try not to do that to my kids, regardless of who is watching.
Composed on the blackberry