When Other Parents Freak Out

Today another adult cursed out my daughter. Full blown F-bombs and everything.

The offense?

My daughter and her three new friends from across the street stood at the end of the man’s driveway giggling. And, dare I write it, asked if they could have a stroller that had been left outside for weeks.

“GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” he yelled.

And “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOUR PARENTS?” he continued.

To a group of four girls that range in age from eight to 12.

We know this man has children, I also know he is married and that his wife is a moron, too. When I arrived at their house to have a frank discussion about 1) why adults should never verbally attack children 2) to get his side of the story and 3) to politely move on, I found no one home. I left a note asking for the man to call me, tucked it into the front door and left.

The tough guy had his wife call me.

Who let me know that because her middle school-aged child is bullied at school, her husband doing the same thing to neighborhood children was okay in her book. I was told to never tell her husband “what to do” and that I was not to disparage the “man she loved” and that this incident was all my fault because “your kid was at our driveway.” Then she hung up.

Good luck having YOUR kid make friends now.

As a new family to the neighborhood, I said–without being overly mean–that I was sure this wasn’t the kind of introduction they wanted. Couldn’t their daughters and these three girls all play together? After all, my daughter is new to the neighborhood too.

Judging by the response I received, what was more important to them was being “right” even though they were absolutely, 100% wrong.

And then came the lesson. The “teachable moment” so-to-speak for me to explain to my daughter that not all adults deserve respect, that not all of them are good people and that this particular house was to be avoided and so were the children who live inside it.

“More so than anything,” I said “we let it be known that their actions were wrong, but sometimes you can’t convince or make other people change, sometimes you have to move on and be the bigger person.”

We can’t be friends with everyone. There are some people in this life not worth knowing.

What a bummer of a lesson, but if she can understand it  now she’ll be way ahead of the curve.


Aiming Low is hosting the Non-Conference at Callaway Gardens, October 12-13, 2012. The conversation  will be hot and the drinks will be cold. Can’t wait to see you!
About Liz Henry

Liz Henry is the hellraiser behind, The Six Year Itch. She's a big deal over on Twitter because she shaves her chin. And by big deal she means she has a shirt that says "I'm kind of a big deal." Liz is from illadelph, which is Philadelphia but spelled stupid. She was just voted a BlogHer Voice of the Year. Who let that happen?!


  1. HeatherS says:

    Wow. Just Wow. It always amazes me that people like this exist in the world. Especially after hearing that they have a child being bullied in school. I would expect him to be empathetic…come introduce himself and explain why they couldn’t have the stroller. Like, be an adult. And no excuse for yelling the F-bomb at the kids. Unless something really, really heavy dropped on his toe. And then it would be in front of them, not at them. Not the most pleasing lesson for you to have to teach, but you handled it really well and now your kids know. Some people are not nice. Even grown-ups.

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  2. Dawn says:

    Hard lesson to learn at such a young age. I can’t even believe anyone, especially a married man with daughters of his own, would speak to children like that.

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  3. Robin says:

    What a louse! I feel sorry for his kids. You might want to hold off on boycotting his children… it’s possible that the parents are the reason for the fact that they’re getting bullied in school.

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  4. Rochelle says:

    Drunks, drug addicts, mentally ill, extremists and mean people of all stripe do exist. Married couples who kidnap young children and keep them locked in basements as sex slaves for decades, also exist. The sooner you children learn that lesson, the safer they will be. Teach them good instincts and they will have a set of armor protecting them for their entire lives.

    It is those exact situations that fuels my belief that sheltering kids is a really bad idea.

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    • My daughter and I are reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and we just got to the part where a girl gets into a stranger’s car and it’s so brilliant because you can feel how easy it is to get caught between what you’re not supposed to do even if people look trusting and what your gut says. That’s how I feel about this and your comment. Assholes don’t always look like assholes, they look like regular fatherly folks. Never judge a book by it’s cover and all those cliches.

      • Arnebya says:

        Thank you! I’ve been trying to remember the name of that book and it kept escaping me. Also, assholes. They’re everywhere. And the behavior of the parents make me feel horrible for their kid. Being bullied AND bullying parents? Damn.

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  5. Kim says:

    Holy cow! I;m a yeller and an f bomb dropper but not in front of my kids, their friends or random strangers kids! I feel sorry for the kids in that house and for your kids and their friends that had to learn at an early age that some adults are total assholes! Bullying aside there is no excuse for an adult to take their issues out on any kids.

  6. Respect, if not earned, is simply obedience. If you earn it, I’m in. If you don’t, you disappear from my reality.

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  7. Rose says:

    I’m afraid that this won’t end. I fear that there will be another encounter. I have to tell you that you handled this with much more tact than I would initially think of.
    Sometimes you just can’t color stupid the right colors.

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