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Having dogs has dramatically affected my attitude towards the behaviour of kids and their parents.

I know what it is desperately to want my dogs not to lurch at an innocent passerby, but I’m grappling with heavy bags of groceries while they’re tugging on the leash and I Just Can’t Quite get them under control. Or what it is to know they’ve made so much progress with them on a particular behaviour and yet they’re not quite Good Enough for the person observing a situation. Or frankly, what it is to try to work with Two Dogs when there’s only One of me, and sometimes, I am too overwhelmed or frustrated to bother trying.

I also know what it is to have 2 dogs who are delightful, simply delightful, the vast majority of the time only to be seen on less-good-behaviour by someone who then judges them as if that’s the sum total of them. (and to you folks, Piss Off, I say)

So now when I see kids having a tantrum, I’m much more inclined to cast a sympathetic glance at the mom and know that she’s likely trying her best. Or when I see a dad yell at his kids, to recall the time I threw two (empty!) 2L pop bottles at my guys one time when they yapped despite my multiple “Quiet!” commands. And then feel horrible afterward and ply them with chewy rolls as apology. I get it now, or more so at any rate, that most parents are doing the best they can with their supply of inner and outer resources.


This afternoon I was at the local Co-op store. A together-looking mom was dispatching her energetic daughter to get this and that grocery item while the mom also browsed the aisles. However. The girl (six? seven?) was pushing a small cart with her brother (five?) inside it, and running – yes, energetically *running* – along this aisle and that. It was one km/hr away from careening. The store was decidedly full of shoppers and I know I was constantly on edge wondering when the girl was going to accidentally run into me (she didn’t. nor did she run into any shoppers, to my knowledge).

Question for you, readers – esp. parents: Would you have said something to the mom? Or just live and let live?

Photo Credit: Eden (ed note: and this is *not* a picture of the child in question!)

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Nope, not a word. If the kid had run into me or something near me, then definitely. But up to that point? Nope. There’s no way a conversation like that isn’t more confrontational than you want, and in all likelihood, the mother already knows what’s going on anyway.


    Oct 25, 2009
  2. Jane - the wicked witch from the West!

    When I was a kid it was “children should be seen and not heard” while the grown-up’s ruled. I knew my place and so did the kids of my generation. I grew up and I survived …. only to find that now that I’m an adult …. kids rule …. and adults have to tip toe around them. Sorry – but no!!

    And on the subject of uncontrolled kids (and their parents) in grocery stores …. probably the worst moment of my life …..

    I had JUST got back onto my feet again after recovering from a broken leg which required surgery to pin and plate it all back together … and was finally walking – albeit with the help of a shopping cart – but what the HELL – I was walking again and feeling shaky but good good good!! Right up until a little brat running and pushing a cart crashed into me from behind. I admit – the shock of fear and pain had a lot to do with what happened next – but … it was not good. I spun around and yelled at her – loudly – and in a very harsh tone – I may even have used some pretty choice language – but I was in a complete state of shock and in some pain. Next thing Mom appears (rather like a mama bear) and starts to berate me ….. BAD MOVE!! I turned on her and spat more venom that I can EVER recall spitting in my entire life ….. (for those who know me – you will attest to my mostly calm nature …) but on this occasion I literally let loose!

    After I explained (in between being squawked at by Momma) there were apologies all round … but I HAVE NEVER FORGIVEN THAT KID – AND I NEVER WILL. How’s that for horrible … I wish I could but I can’t. I took me a full year to get back to “normal” and I still feel the ache when the weather changes and the pins and plates hurt …. and sometimes when I see dreadful wild children running amok in grocery stores – I squawk at them without remorse. Too bad for Momma Bear ….. they need to control those little stinkers before they grow up to be “big stinkers” …. sorry – but that’s my take! Bring back discipline …. and stop coddling children. Enough of the trophy generation already!


    Oct 25, 2009
  3. Traciatim

    Stop being a snot, your dogs are nothing like kids.


    Oct 26, 2009
  4. I wouldn’t have said anything either. If the younger kid was in a full size shopping cart and standing up with the mother’s back turned, I would have pointed it out to the mother so she could make sure he didn’t topple over. But in a small cart I doubt the kid in the cart could get hurt. If the kid pushing the cart got particularly close to me at high speed I would speak to her directly and ask that she slow down and be careful as she’s making me nervous that I may get hit by her buggy.


    Oct 26, 2009
  5. Actually it sounds a lot like kids but on smaller scale. Just enough to give you a taste, not enough to drive you completely crazy. I know that while in general we’re very good with our kids I’ve had times where I’ve been pushed over the edge.

    As the for the kids and the cart, in situations like that I don’t talk to the parent but I might talk to the kids. Not in a chastising way but in a “Hey that looks like fun but….” way.
    .-= Paul Turnbull´s last blog ..Migration =-.


    Oct 26, 2009

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