Recently, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about threatening to call the police after a car pulled up next to her in a parking lot with an adult female passenger holding a baby on her lap. I read through the comments, which indicated that my friend told the woman she should be using a car seat and that the woman told my friend to mind her own business, and the general consensus was that the baby’s life was potentially in danger so calling the police would have been warranted. My friend did not call the police after all was said and done, but the discussion made me think about the various STFU, Parents submissions I have that revolve around parents, kids, and cars.
To say that people judge other people’s parenting these days would be an understatement, but how does that attitude extend to vehicle-specific issues? I think each case has its own potential dangers (the statistics of which I’m not exactly familiar), but then again, we are living in an era where a child could be 10 or 12 years old before he can ride in a car without a booster seat. Even I think that sounds a little extreme, but what can I say, I’m a child of the 80s. Back then, kids would cruise around with their parents in what would surely be deemed “an unsafe manner” by today’s standards, especially since I don’t recall ever singing the Pointer Sisters while sitting backwards in my mom’s rusty Volvo. In some ways, the heightened concerns parents have are justified. And I like to think that parents looking out for one another’s kids is a good thing, something that leads to more open communication and harmonious interaction. But instead, there’s a lot of knee-jerking and finger-pointing, and the acronym “CPS” gets tossed out over even the most minor of parent “fails.” Like I said, I know that every situation — much like every child — is different, but personally, I prefer to proceed with caution than call the police or file a report with CPS.
Here are a couple of examples of car-related scenarios that I don’t think should’ve been discussed on Facebook for totally different reasons. They may be completely different situations, but they both have one thing in common: hysteria.
1. Accidentally Locking A Baby In The Car
Personally, if I ever made a mistake as controversial as Suzanne’s (with the same positive outcome), you couldn’t pay me to mention it on Facebook. Aside from opening yourself up to criticism, you put yourself in an awkward position with other parents whose kids you might currently or one day babysit. Plus, the reactions are inevitably going to range from sympathetic to hostile, and it doesn’t seem worth it to me to put the information out there for everyone to judge.
But, on the other hand, this submission made me realize how much parents are discouraged from admitting that they’re human and capable of making bad (accidental) decisions. Parents are always happy to share their babies’ dirty diapers on Facebook, but they’re not as inclined to admit to screwing up. If anything, they want to look like heroes. Sure, Suzanne revealed something shocking that doesn’t paint her in the best light, but she got some decent feedback from the few friends who didn’t scold her, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad move to discuss it on Facebook after all. It’s a sensitive subject, and I’m on the fence over whether it’s sharing too much, but ultimately it was Suzanne’s information to share.