Another day, another viral Facebook post that’s infuriating parents around the word. But this time—and maybe I’m alone here?—I don’t see what the big fuss is about.
Kim Christofi, who owns a snack bar kiosk near the seaside in Felixstowe, England is getting her 15 seconds of Internet fame after her Facebook post criticizing the parents of a child who had a massive crying tantrum, went viral.
“Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming,” she wrote. “We will give you five lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming and then we will ask the child ourselves. If that means you too having a tantrum about our having to speak to your child and hurling threats about not returning—that’s really okay with us. We have a duty to the rest of our customers.”
The firestorm her post ignited got so vicious that she had to take the post down and delete her restaurant’s Faecbook profile. According to the Daily Mail, many of the comments were from parents outraged that she had so little patience for a child.
“Why don’t you take a lenient five minutes to have a word with yourself for being hideously insensitive and condescending?” wrote Facebook user C Rachael Twoms.
“Thank you for your kind and understanding post. I’ll make sure my family (including our autistic daughter) never darken your doorway,” wrote another parent.
I feel like I’m supposed to be angry at the judgmental comments, but somehow, I don’t find them that inflammatory. I’m actually feeling sorry for Christofi, who a few days ago was scooping ice cream for beach visitors and is now having to comment to the national media on how she truly does love children and offers free Ribena and sunscreen to all who want it. She didn’t ask to be a parenting expert—she was trying to get through her day.
The commenters who take so much umbrage from one person’s musings on today’s terrible parenting are not just defending the parents in question—they are defending themselves from the times they’ve been a bad parent. Let’s be honest: We’ve all been those bad parents, at least once, and we’ve been the one judging other bad parents too.
Tantrums happen, and we don’t always react as we should. I’m sure the people who saw my daughter screaming under a bench at the dinosaur museum in Drumheller, Alta., thought I was a terrible parent. But what they didn’t know is that my daughter had a fever (unbeknownst to me), and nothing could calm her down except some Tylenol and a nap. Or perhaps they didn’t notice the tantrum at all, and I just carry that shame with me, even though it was five years ago.
But what I really want to throw a tantrum over is how people overact, and then share posts from strangers on Facebook and take offense to what is posted. I’m not sure why people get so invested in some random comments from a stranger and then participate in making that person Internet-famous.
My advice? Just as you avoid eye contact when your child is trying to manipulate you, do not give these people attention. Don’t share their post, don’t comment, don’t feed the anti-parenting beast. Just shake your head and walk away.