Dear Jerkass - Raising Cain
Would it be appropriate for someone to tell someone else's children to stop doing something dangerous if the parent is not around? I'm talking about kids holding scissors the wrong way or running with them, pushing others, etc.My children are in their teens now and know that such behavior is wrong. If it were the other way around, I would be grateful if someone cared enough to tell my kids that a behavior is wrong and/or dangerous. -- GLAD IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR MIDDLE OF THE PROZAK:
Within reason, yes.
A kid hurting another kid is definitely a moment to step in. Kids with edged objects, sure, go ahead. Running out into the street, by all means, interfere. Screaming bloody murder and their arm is at a weird angle, do not pass go.
Keep your interaction with kids minimal, since you are a stranger BUT they also need to know that their actions are being watched by the “rest of the world”, and they will be held accountable for their actions even when their parents aren’t around. Yelling at a strange kid for wailing on another kid, or seeing them vandalize something, gives them a reality check and hopefully lets them develop a “we’re all in this together” mentality.
A toddler that is not yours on a swing is no reason to hover, though. Especially with those newer parks that have that grassy foam stuff that wouldn’t hurt if you got body slammed on it.
Like when I take my kids to the park, they’re pretty athletic. If they fall down, they won’t die like some other kids do, according to their parents.
You standing at the bottom of the slide waiting for your six year old to come down safely? You can fuck right off with that shit, and stay away from my kids. Coming at me with a simpering “Buh buh buht I don’t want them to get hurt…?” just pisses me right off. One, getting hurt is not evil. Two, a bump or a bruise is part of learning how to navigate objects, and learning spacial relationships is key for things like balance and judging distance. Three, if it isn’t broken or they’re not bleeding, they are fine. And crying with them and babying them only teaches them to stop everything if they get mildly hurt. Treat it seriously but also teach them how to get back up and deal with the pain. As adults they are going to encounter situations where they are going to be hurt and need to be able to keep a rational mind. We don’t want our kids to grow up to become Michael from the Office, doing stupid things like burning his foot on a George Forman Grill and expecting the whole office to cater to him.
YOU GOT THAT HOVER PARENTS! Do you hate Michael from the office? You’re going to turn your kids into HIM if you keep it up.
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Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.