I have two young children, eighteen months apart. I hate taking them into stores with me because they always start whining and screaming at the checkout, demanding I buy them stupid knick knacks and candy. Recently, on a trip to Walmart, they started yelling so bad I didn’t know what to do. One of them (they are both boys) punched me hard in the thigh right where I already had a bruise from knocking into a table a week ago. This brought on an automatic reaction: I slapped my child and pushed him away. Well, it didn’t go down well with the woman in line behind me. That bitch filmed the event on her phone and then put it online where it went viral. A day later, CPS showed up at my door. They interviewed everyone who knew our family, and in the end it was okay because I’ve never had previous problems and I’m a good mother. But now my friends and neighbors look at me funny and I don’t think it’s my imagination that they’re going out of their way to avoid me. I know a lot of these hypocrite bitches get rough with their kids in similar situations, but I’m the one who’s being ostracized. Please tell me how to handle this.
Nobody’s Business, Cleveland, Ohio
Sorry to say you’re in a difficult situation where you have to regain trust for people to treat you with the respect they did before. We all suffer irritating behavior from our children, particularly when they are young and don’t yet know how to control their emotions. It’s our job as adults to teach them they can’t have everything they want. Slapping and pushing, of course, are not the right way. Perhaps you could have a discussion with them before they enter a store: Mommy is not buying you anything, but if you behave you’ll get a cookie when we get home. As for your friends and neighbors, screw ‘em. What a judgmental lot. I can assure you that every one of them has had events in their lives they’d rather no one know about. You just happened to get caught. My advice is to be very transparent about what happened. You were tired and overwrought; when your kids got rowdy, you snapped. Talk openly about that. Try to see if you can get other mothers talking. Perhaps even start a support or discussion group for mothers with young children. Point is, you’ve learned your lesson and won’t lose your temper again. In the meanwhile, don’t worry; it may be uncomfortable for a while but your friends will come round. Go about your business with your head held high. It is for outsiders to take a hard look at their own behavior rather than judge others in situations where they themselves may be just as guilty. I wish you luck. Please don’t hesitate to write with more questions.
REACTION TO DISGUSTED
Disgusted: Yuk I feel your pain brother! I’d want to fuckin’ kill the guy. Kudos on being so calm and requesting advice. — Reggie in Little Rock, AK
Dear Disgusted, I wonder about your failures as a father to make your daughter behave this way. She must have missed kindness and tenderness from you to seek out a man more than twice her age as a partner. Does the guy have money? That may be one of the attractions. Perhaps also your daughter has low self-esteem and doesn’t think a younger man would want her. The other side of the coin may be that she loved you too much in an unhealthy way and is seeking to duplicate her relationship with you. Time for some deep soul searching. I wish you luck. — Heidi in Houston
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.