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All Eyes On You

We were out to dinner last week and I was facing a table with a tween and her parents. I kept glancing at them because I was curious about the girl’s behavior. I look at Sabreena and see polite, kind, sweet, chatty, happy and relaxed. I was looking at this kid and I saw grumpy, arrogant and dismissive. Her mother was chatting with her and all the girl did was roll her eyes and shrug her shoulders.

Dessert time came for the other family and mom wanted to share her sundae with the girl. The spoon came up to the girls lips and she did something that shocked me; she roughly shoved her mother’s arm out of the way and gave her a check to the body. I tried to quickly glance away but the mom caught me. Before I turned away I noticed the mom just laughed it off but when she saw that I noticed what really happened she quickly started disciplining her daughter. I could hear Mom say how disrespectful she was being and she needed to cheer up and have a good time. Tears started rolling down mom’s face. The daughter’s attitude didn’t change. This was her normal self, her normal behavior. Me noticing the interaction had no change in how she treated her family and the situation.

Rob and I are strict and we expect certain behavior and respect but we also are fun and open and talk to our kids, all of them, about almost anything. The second Shaun rolls his eyes at me we’d be having a serious conversation about it right in the restaurant. I have no problem disciplining my children wherever we are. Sometimes I’m subtle and to the point talking quietly in their ear, sometimes I’ll engage some tough love and hope embarrassment in front of others works. This mother knew her daughter was in the wrong but for whatever reason wasn’t going to deal with it until she thought she was perceived as “not in control” of her child. Maybe she was so used to the disdain and withdrawal from her kid that she didn’t know how to react differently. Maybe she was putting on a show that there was nothing wrong with her relationship and laughing it off was how she kept things calm outside the home.

Do you parent differently outside the home when all eyes are on you?

I Disclose


  1. Gosh, I feel so sorry for that mom…

    I try to avoid a scene at all costs, but I will not allow my children to continually misbehave in public just for fear of what others will think.

  2. Jennifer @ Mom Spotted says

    Our rules are the same at home as they are outside the home. They know the rules. Both are good, well behaved kids so I don’t normally have issues.

    • we don’t usually have any large issues, Shaun and Shae are the goofs so correcting them is a given. I just don’t know how this girl’s attitude got so bad, no way I would tolerate it. Then again I’ve never been in that position, there’s still time 🙂

  3. Ditto Jennifer – we have one set of rules. Granted my daughter is 2, but she is expected to behave well both in public and at home (keeping in mind that she IS 2 and is allowed to have fun as a 2 year old). Any behavior like that girl would definitely result in loss of privileges.

    • we have rules too. Shaun and Shae like to test the boundaries usually trying to get a laugh. I wonder if privileges don’t matter, maybe she needs someone to talk to instead. It was heartbreaking to watch both for the mom and the girl.

      • Yeah, I also have to wonder if there’s more going on than being a sullen tween. Those years are so hard. But still, no matter what’s going on there need to be boundaries including the pushing away of the mom’s arm – that’s just not appropriate no matter what is going on.

  4. Omg, that is unbelievable! That little brat is going to cross the wrong person one day and get a reality check. In the meantime, I wonder if she’s on drugs. What kind of child raises a hand to their parent?

  5. I expect the same behavior inside and outside of my home. I may be a little more subtle in public, but still behavior is addressed. Although I am luck (KNOCKING ON WOOD) that my kids are usually very well behaved in public and just crazy at home 😉

    • we’ve lucked out too, the behavior is definitely better than it used to be, hoping its because they are all maturing a little more each day

      • It’s my two year old that has a LOUD mouth is all, other than that I am usually VERY impressed by the kids and how well they behave even at a Chinese Buffet where we have to get out of our seats to pick food dishes.

  6. I had a look and if I shot my kids the look, they knew instantly to stop whatever they were doing. I really didn’t have any follow-thru discipline (like spanking) for which they ought be worried about or anything, but I was consistent, never wishy washy about rules, etc. When I said something, they knew there wasn’t any way around it so they just did it.

    I absolutely would never have tolerated that kind of disrespect from my children, either in or out of the home.

    • my “look” doesn’t always work, I get a eyelash batting, smirking tot looking right back at me LOL

      • LOL. The eyelash batting is hard to over come sometimes. She makes us feel like we are the ones who did something wrong. We are suckers. LOL. At least I am!

  7. well you know my story about Saturday morning! Usually I discipline the same way no matter where we are at..but I do tend to yell more in the home. Marco & Dulce are for the most part behaved kids but they push the boundaries too. Oh..and your three are just GREAT!!

  8. No, I don’t discipline differently outside the home. Unfortunately, that daughter could have been mine. I have 4 kids and parent them all pretty much the same. I mean, we live in the same house everyone has the same rules, but my 2nd daughter… I can’t say much, but it hasn’t been easy.

  9. I discipline almost the same out as when we are at home. Not easy to put them in the corner or give them a swat in public. But if it comes to that, I’ll do it. If you don’t show consistency, you wont get results.

    • I agree 100% with that. You need to be consistant in order to get the results you want even though that is very hard sometimes. LOL.

  10. That is too bad. But you NEVER know what a family is going through without being in their shoes.

    • I can agree with you on that but I feel no matter what is going on a child should never raise a hand or check an adult. They need to show respect. If they want to be grumpy not much you can do about that but when it gets physical that is just wrong at least in my opinion.

  11. Lauralee Hensley says

    I wonder if it was a mother-daughter thing, or a step-mother-step-daughter thing.
    I know I got grief from my step-son when he was a teenager. He was disciplined,
    but didn’t matter. He knew the expectations from us, still didn’t matter. We finally
    had to do tough love with him when he was always ditching out of school part
    way into his school day. So, when I see things like that I wonder if the kid is acting
    out so he/she can go and live with the other biological parent.

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