stop judging

This Dad Refuses To Remove His Crying Child From Public To Appease Other Adults

“They’re not always sunshine and rainbows.”

One dad on TikTok is calling for a change when it comes to society judging parents when kids don't a...
TikTok / @owen_squires

Most every parent knows the panic-inducing middle-of-the-store toddler tantrum that triggers your fight or flight response. I know I’m not alone in that moment when you’re holding a screeching demon who you thought was your child in one hand while you feverishly scan your items at self-check with the other.

I typically avoid eye contact with others as I sprint out of the store before onlookers can get a good look at my all-star parenting and judge the ever-living sh*t out of me.

Why are we all so ashamed when our kids acts like kids? Even in the comfort of our own homes, when the in-laws are over, we’re apologizing for their “behavior” as if their meltdowns, talking back, and ever-growing and developing brain is a perfect reflection of who we are as parents.

One dad on TikTok, Owen Squires, is calling for a change when it comes to society judging parents when their kids are not perfect angels. He hopes that maybe if other adults were a bit more patient and understanding of parents during public meltdowns, that benevolence and empathy would trickle down to kids, too.

“If my child is ever crying at the grocery store, I am not removing them from the grocery store, and I'm sorry if that makes you mildly uncomfortable or brings out the controlling part of your personality, but it is not illegal for a child to have feelings,” he begins.

He then theorizes that the reason why so many parents struggle with conscious parenting (sometimes known as gentle parenting) is because society does not allow parents the time or space to slowly bring a child down from a tantrum. So instead, parents yell and threaten, and “use hands-on discipline” — like spanking or slapping.

He then retells the story of his own child having a meltdown in pubic after skipping a nap post-vacation.

“I can feel everybody in the f*cking grocery store just like staring at us, and I look around, and it's like a goddamn car wreck like, all eyeballs are on us,” he explained.

“Now I can feel my anxiety level rising ... I can feel my anger level rising like now this is affecting my ego. Everybody's looking at me and judging me for how my child is behaving and now I'm angry with my own child for being a child.”

Parents often feel judged by other adults and parents (because, as Squires put it, “They are.”), and when kids do not live up to the unrealistic behavioral standards that society sets for them, parents often resort to parenting tactics that may not be effective in the long run.

“So, I think there would be a lot more parents that would be willing to be patient with their children if society could just like f*cking relax and be a little bit more accepting of children and the fact that they're not always sunshine and rainbows.”

Squire’s video soon took off, gaining over 100k views in a day, with hundreds of other TikTok users commenting their thoughts on his interesting take.

“We’re so conditioned to make other adults comfortable. We’re teaching little people how to people. it should be a community effort,” one user wrote.

Another echoed, “Perfectly said!! As a mom when I see other moms in this I ask if they need help. I let them go ahead of me or scan items for them. I will never judge🤍”

Most provided words of support for the dad. However, some were more critical.

“Public places, and NOT GOING DURING THEIR NAPTIME. I feel like being considerate of my child feelings, doesn’t mean being inconsiderate of others,” one user wrote.

“Again, OUT OF TOWN ALL WEEK. Needed groceries before starting back to work and school…” the OP replied.

Several other commenters backed up Squires. “Kids shouldn’t have to stay home just to make you comfortable. They’re people, they need to have experiences too,” one user wrote.

“I think stores should have security that approaches the parent and asks them to leave. Kids should be taught how to act in public,” another wrote.

“This HAS to be sarcasm,” Squires responded.

Squires has some advice for parents who may find themselves in a similar grocery store meltdown scenario. “Stay confident, and remember that you’re not a bad parent,” Squires tells Scary Mommy. “The emotions your child is experiencing are healthy and natural. Other people tend to feel more comfortable when they see you’re comfortable.”

If you find yourself on the other side of the situation, watching a parent struggle with their sobbing toddler, Squires suggests an emptathic approach. “My response in that situation would probably be to give the parent an empathetic smile, or nod,” he says. “Or simply say ‘You’re doing a great job.’ Sometimes that’s all we need. That, or just mind my own business!”