A dad has written an open letter to the strangers that got ‘angry and judgemental’ when his two-year-old daughter threw a tantrum in a restaurant, telling them ‘you are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person’.
Clint Edwards posted an open letter to Facebook, explaining the tribulations of teaching your little ones ‘right from wrong’ after removing his toddler from a restaurant when she ‘screamed and screamed and kicked and kicked’.
The dad accompanied his lengthy caption with a selfie of himself in his car, with his crying daughter in the back seat, showing what is sometimes the reality of a meal out with children.
He explained that his daughter ‘had a meltdown’ after not being allowed to ‘throw chicken strips’.
‘I’m stuck in the van with my toddler. We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because mom wouldn’t let her throw chicken strips. So she screamed, and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin’, he wrote.
The No Idea What I’m Doing blogger depicted how as he carried his child out of the restaurant, he noticed the ‘straight faced, lip twisted’ look of many of the diners who he presumed did not have children.
‘I carried her past the bar and everyone stared at me, most of them childless, I assumed. No one with children would give me that straight faced, lip twisted, look that seems to say, “if you can’t control your kid, then don’t go out”.
‘Well… no. I can’t control her. Not all the time. Not yet.’
Clint made the point that as annoying as tantrums are, being told no is what teaches a young child what is acceptable behaviour and he is trying to teach her ‘right from wrong’.
‘She’s two and it’s going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public, and the only way I am ever going to teach that is to take her out and show her what’s right and wrong. By saying no a million times, letting her throw a fit, and telling her no again.’
Recognising it can be ‘irritating’, the father reminded readers that their parents did the same thing for them.
‘These lessons take patience, hard work, and real world experiences, and I’m sorry to those at the bar who got irritated by my child’s fit, but you are part of this practice. Your parents did the same with you, and that’s how you now know how to recognize when a child does something irritating in a restaurant. It’s how you learned to look at a situation and say, “That parent needs to control their kids”.’
‘It’s how you learned to be a respectable person. I get it. Kids are irritating when they are loud in a restaurant. I know. I’m living it. But before you get angry and judgmental, realize that what you are witnessing is not bad parenting, but rather, parents working hard to fix the situation. You are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person.’
Clint’s post has attracted attention from parents all over the world, currently being liked over 350k times.
One Facebook user shared their own story of teaching their mentally disabled seven year old the same lessons, ‘Not just toddlers. We are trying to teach our mentally disabled 7 year old who is mentally 3 years old how to behave in a restaurant. I get the rude stares and the horrible comments about my parenting. Like I don’t have a hard enough time at the moment someone thinks it’s okay to put in their two cents.
‘What we all parents need is support, understanding and patients.’
Another added, ‘As a parent myself, I will applaud you for refusing to inflict your child’s bad manners on the rest of the restaurant. My kids are 13, 10, and almost 3, and ALL of them know what “Do I need to take you out to the car?” means.’