Most parents would agree that unsolicited parenting advice is unwanted and rather annoying. It's happened to all of us at one point - while the baby screams at the grocery store the nosy grandma walks over to tell you (1) how to soothe a crying baby or (2) why you shouldn't have a baby at the store. Or the toddler is having a meltdown in the middle of Target and the grumpy old man walks past, stopping just long enough to tell you in his day kids weren't so spoiled.
And today, I received unsolicited parenting advice. From a teenage boy.
Each Monday afternoon we have to visit the allergist's office for Olivia's weekly allergy shots. We're normally in the waiting room for 30 minutes. That's it. And, the girls are always well-behaved, even if they get a little antsy after a while. I'll be the first to admit that those 30 minutes often feel like three hours. But I digress.
Just like any other Monday, the waiting room was a flurry of activity today. Lots of kids and adults getting shots, a few people talking, and this braces-wearing-Algebra-doing teenager. He's there every week. Looking smugly at everyone as he punches numbers in his calculator, working on his math homework.
As we waited the requisite 15 minutes after Olivia's shots, Emma walked around the waiting room a few times, sampling the chairs a la Goldilocks. But she was quiet. Once or twice I had to remind her that she WAS wearing a dress and she needed to "sit like a girl"...but no one was being loud or obnoxious. Olivia sat quietly, telling me about her day at school.
And the nosy teenage boy worked on his homework.
Just before our waiting time was up, he stood up, packed up his backpack, checked his TWO watches, and walked over to me. And said this: "Um, ma'am..can I make a suggestion? Perhaps if you would bring crayons and paper for your kids they wouldn't be so bored."
OK. First of all. I despise being called ma'am. It's one of those words that just makes my skin crawl. But I digress. Secondly, who in the HELL do you think you are, you snot-nosed little brat? How dare YOU tell me how to parent? What in the world do YOU, a 14 year old little boy, know about parenting?
I'll tell you what you know.
Not a damn thing.
My response to his "suggestion"? I said, "Thank. I don't need your help." I wanted to say more, but I feared the accidental release of an F-bomb (or three) on his poor, impressionable youth. And then, he would have called his mom and well...it would have ended badly on all accounts. So, I held my tongue and tweeted out my frustration instead.
But in all seriousness, what in the world is wrong with people? Why would anyone think it's OK to tell someone else how to parent? Yeah, I see people all the time that cause me to think "holy crap, some people should be required to get a license before having kids"...but I wouldn't go up to them and tell them how they should parent. Why? Because 99.99% of the time it's none of my business. (Granted, if I saw someone harming their kids, I'd step in. Or report them).
For all intents and purposes though, don't give other people parenting advice.
Unless they ask for it.
And to the teenage kid at the doctor's office?
Mind your own damn business.