The story went something like this.. The writer and her daughter were standing in line at a local ice cream shop. There was a young girl and her mother in the line ahead of them. First the child was upset because her ice cream was in a cone, so the mother asked for it to be put in a bowl. Then the child was upset that the ice cream was in a bowl so the mother asked for it to be put back on the cone. The kid working seemed flustered and the mother threw a dollar at the person saying, “I give up” all the while the child threw a fit. The daughter of this leader said to her mom, “Did I ever do that?” To which my friend replied, “No, because there would be no ice cream for you.” and then she ended the post with this comment, “Parents we need to be parents”
There were multiple “Amen’s” and “likes” on her post.
So I chimed in.
It makes me sad that we automatically assume that this is a bad parent. This poor child could have just come from the hospital from seeing a dying grandparent or just lost their dog. Or they might have sensory issues. We just don’t know.
I was hoping to provide a little grace to this mother. Because we have ALL been there and it is presumptuous of us to assume that this mother was just basically a bad mother because she still let the child eat ice cream after throwing a fit.
More likes and more amens for the original poster and multiple posts disagreeing with me.
Then the writer tagged me directly, “I am just trying to teach my daughter about being a good mother and I really like what I am seeing.”
So, once again, we have the “Good” Mom vs. “Bad” Mom situation.
No grace for the exasperated mother. No consideration into what might be the underlying reason that this mother let her child have a hissy fit and STILL get ice cream. What I saw in this post is judgement. I didn’t see it as a lesson for her daughter because the comment specifically ended with “Parents, we need to be parents.
Pure judgement. Zero grace.
Maybe it was just me but I felt more than a little condemned. I took her comment personally. The truth is, I give in a little too easy sometimes. I have never left a full grocery cart in the middle of an aisle because my child was crying over a candy bar he didn’t get. I have never asked for a meal to be packed up and left a restaurant because my child was acting a fool. I accept the fact that my older ADHD, Sensory Sensitive kid will sometimes have a melt down just because he is too tired and has trouble expressing his needs when his brain is struggling to just process the normal stuff. Sometimes, he still gets the treat because he deserved it and because we don’t take away something that has already been earned.
I know there are people who will disagree with me. Who think parents these days are too soft. Parents aren’t acting like parents any longer because they are trying too hard to be “friends” with their kids. Maybe that is true but what I see from so many fellow Christians is too much “good” parent vs. “bad” parent comments and not enough grace.
Instead of publicly shaming this mother as a “teaching moment” for us, apparently inept parents, that we withhold our judgement and provide a little grace. Give that exasperated mother the “I have been there” look. Smile warmly at the child. Offer a compliment. Show love. Withhold condemnation. You just never know what is happening in that family’s life.
As the Facebook comments towards me became extremely pointed and judgmental, I chose to remove my comment and leave the conversation. Standing in the judgment seat helps no one. Showing love, kindness and grace to the exasperated parent can make all the difference in the world.
So, if you happen to see my kid get a bowl, cup, cone or all three after throwing a fit, take a minute and say hello. I will be the mother at the table that just needs a little grace.
Raising kids is hard and grace is all I have.