Other People’s Kids: What Bugs You the Most?

Posted April 15, 2008 by

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The other day I was in a big box store that sells things cheaply (I won’t name it, but I’ll let you guess where I was–lots of smiley faces everywhere) when I witnessed a mom in the act of “negotiating” with her kids. “Mom, I want this soda,” one whined, while the other shoved a Polly Pockets in her face. “No, now I told you we’re not going to get anything today…well maybe if you’re good…well, you look like you really want that. OK, Honey.” Her cart was full of stuff that kids crave: candy, soda, toys, and plastic junk. One lone gallon of laundry detergent sat at the bottom of the heap, and I guessed that was her original reason for coming to the store.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Believe me, it’s not that I’ve never caved in to my child’s demands, but I really try not to because I’ve realized that he’ll never be satisfied, no matter how many toys/candy bars/comic books we buy him (and because we can’t afford it, even if we wanted to!) Anyway, I left the scene of the mother-child shopping crime and then ran into them again at checkout (how does it always happen that the person you’re trying to avoid most in a huge store is always in your checkout line?) The woman had racked up a $100 shopping bill buying all that stuff for her kids–stuff that that they probably didn’t really need and would likely forget about the next day. The whole thing was a nightmare, but I have to confess–it was the whining and pressuring that got to me the most.

Now it’s your turn to rant. What bugs you the most about other people’s kids? And what parenting response sets your teeth on edge? Tell us your biggest pet peeve here…


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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  1. Elisabeth Wilkins Report

    Ramona »

    Very well said. I really admire your commitment to helping your son–you inspire me. Taking the time to teach our kids how to behave is so crucial. I think we parents could all do the same, whether our kids have ADD or not. (And I’m definitely including myself here! Blog post to follow soon…)

  2. Ramona Report

    My son has ADD and is constantly speaking out without thinking. It is something we work on daily. I work with his teachers at school and what he is struggling to learn. I have a tutor that comes and reinforces and helps him with his subjects. He is a teacher and knows how to deal with an ADD student and his has helped my sons grades immensely. When he misbehaves we DO correct him in front of family and friends. We work very hard on his social skills and work closely with the school to make sure he does the best that he can do. I think if every parent just took the time to help his or her children in appropriate behavior society would most assuredly be a better place. Parents just do not take the time anymore with their kids because they themselves just dont have the time.

  3. Meissa Report

    What bugs me the most is to see kids out there screaming at their parents or us (other adults) because they don’t like what you said and the child’s parents responding with “that’s my girl/boy, and their temper” or they disrespect everything and everyone and the parents will say “that’s kids” but we turn around and expect respect from our kids and their friends as well as obedience and because of this, I am frowned on, I am “black balled” so to speak and people think something is bad about me because I told my kids “no” or there are consequences for their behaviors.

  4. Linda Report

    What bothers me the most while raising my children, especially when the parents are around, is when children of all ages bully, put down, and are just mean to other kids and it is not corrected. You get to know your neighborhood kids and relatives and it is looked at as just kids being kids. I was raised in a generation of manners and treat others the way you want to be treated. A smile, a hello, sharing, and polite conversation doesn’t seem to occur in society like it used to. I am afraid for future generations.

  5. A frustrated mom Report

    What bugs me most is kids blaming others for their own actions. It’s always someone elses fault. Parents don’t seem to make kids “own” their mistakes. (For that matter, I don’t see many parents owning their mistakes either.) Parents can’t seem to sepparate themselves from thier kids. They take their kid’s grades personally or the parents try to get the kid’s grade changed or blame the teacher. Parents aren’t sticking up for authority figures anymore and kids and parents alike blame everyone else. These kids are going to grow up very unhappy and rely on everyone else to cater to their needs. I have two boys, 8 and 10 years old, and they have been made to spend their own money to replace other people’s items that they broke. They have had to look directly at school administration and them they damaged something. And I don’t blame the teacher’s if my child does poorly in school. Boys who are not made to “own” their actions are the same boys who grow up, hit their wife and blame the wife for their actions. I work in a school and have had it with kids and parents who blame others for everything.

  6. Nalani Report

    I just want to congratulate the Mom who had the courage to stand up to her two kids’ whining. Many parents are very defensive when told that their child has a behavior issue. (I am a teacher, so I see a lot of interesting behaviors)
    Personally, I dislike children who can’t be civil to an adult. I’ve seen teenagers at family parties who will literally put their head down on the table so they don’t have to look at the adults in the room! When did children get to the point that they feel they are “better than” their parents or other adults?
    We don’t do children any favors by making them into little demi-gods.

  7. Jean Report

    I’ll admit, I was one of those guilty single moms with a 6 year old with adhd and a 3 year old and to keep the peace I would often bribe them at the store..negotiate esentially and half the time I didn’t even think about it. It just seemed to make things easier. Then my boyfriend pointed out that I was letting them make all the decisions. I never saw that I was making my life harder and teaching really bad habits to the kids.

    So now…they have chores (age appropriate) where they can earn their weekly allowance and buy their own items. And they know (I remind them every time) that just because they behave (like they are supposed to) doesn’t mean that I’m going to buy them something.

  8. Anthony F. Visco, Jr. Report

    Undisciplined and disrespectful children,
    particularly where the parents accept and
    tolerate such conduct.

  9. Cathy Report

    I don’t know if this is a kid or parent issue, but I can’t believe how many parents blame teachers for their kids problems and misbehaviors. I know teachers can’t handle every child and situation perfectly – but all these threats about lawsuits every time a kid is disciplined are ridiculous. How can people complain about teachers, yet yell “Lawsuit” every time a teacher trys to deal with a disruptive student. I’ve can’t believe how shocked teachers are when I say “Yep, he screwed up and that’s not acceptable. We’ll deal with it and let us know if he doesn’t shape up”. Anyone out there know how to empower these poor teachers!

  10. Sarah Report

    I think what bugs me most is when the parents attitude comes through in their child. When a parent is rude and gossipy and then their child turns to be that way. I have a daughter who is in fourth grade and she has 3 girls in her class who are rude and mean to her, they give her a really hard time. The mothers are the same way towards me, because I am a single mother, because I live in an apartment. What they have said about me to or in front of their children is causing them to not like and even be cruel to my daughter. I don’t want her to be friends with people like this, but I think these parents need to realize what they are doing and realize that their children are hurting people.

  11. julia zaitz Report

    The biggest dilemma I face today are the parents who are involved in everything the little kids do. I have 3 boys of which 2 are teenagers but my youngest is 8. I find that the parents of this age group want to control everything their kids do right down to which yard they play in to what games they play. My son loves to just be a boy and plays things like army and plays with guns. He also is part of a Roller hockey team and plays video games. He of course is not “normal” as I have been told by these other parents,because he plays with alot of imagination as I call it. I think that kids need to play and enjoy life. They should be able to work things out amongest themselves. NO children are perfect!!!My other boys grew up playing wild and crazy, and guess what, they have turned into fine young men!

  12. Linda Report

    What bugs me the most is when kids won’t look at me (the adult) and say, “hello.” I usually introduce myself to the kids and let them know what they can call me….after that……
    My son has friends who have come to our home many times and when they walk in, they hang their heads and don’t say hello….
    and no “thank you, good bye” when they leave.
    I have told them the rule at our house is to say hello when you enter and good bye when you leave…some get this…many do not.

  13. Shirley Report

    I can’t stand it when kids interrupt you when you’re trying to talk to another adult. My friend’s kids do this all the time and it drives me nuts! I wish she’d at least teach her kids to say “excuse me” before they interrupt us.



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