When Parents Get It Right

Being childless, I cannot claim to know how difficult being a parent is, but I have found on many occasions that I have become agitated by the lack of consideration and discipline that children and young teenagers demonstrate when are out in public, and working with teenagers for nearly ten years, I have witnessed numerous examples where parents have made excuses for their children, rather than addressing poor behaviour that the child should have been made accountable for. While I don’t believe that any children are bad, I have judgements in the past, whether rightly or wrongly, when I have observed parents making these excuses. One of my biggest annoyances is the disruption that is frequently caused by children and teenagers when attempting to watch a movie at the cinema, and I have written about this on several occasions.

However, a story appeared on my Facebook feed this morning that made me want to punch the air and shout a resounding ‘yes!’ when I read it.

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Image: Rebecca Boyd

On Friday night, Rebecca Boyd took her 12 year-old daughter to see the new Cinderella movie. Her husband had just been made redundant from his job and this would be the last film that they would be able to see for a while, and they were hoping for an enjoyable time.

Unfortunately, (as I have personally experienced on many occasions), their evening was repeatedly disrupted by two teenage girls who were misbehaving throughout – kicking the seats, talking, giggling – and this continued even when Boyd asked them to stop. At the end of the movie, Boyd sent her daughter to the car and spoke to the teens outside the cinema, explaining how their behaviour affects others and her husband’s situation.

In an interview given with Yahoo!Parenting, Boyd explained that she didn’t blame the teens parents, despite being annoyed by the girls behaviour.

However, the teens mother was furious… at her children. The girls were at the movie with their brother, who told their mom everything. Kyesha Smith Wood, whose daughter and step-daughter were the teens who has caused the trouble posted this to Facebook:

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Image: Kyesha Smith Wood/ Facebook

The post went viral, and the comments that Wood received were hugely positive for making her children accountable for their actions.

The post eventually made it to Boyd, who was touched by the response and after connecting over Facebook they hit it off. Since then, both women have been interviewed on numerous occasions, and have demonstrated the upmost respect for each other. Wood told AL.com “A lot of times people get nervous about saying something to a stranger’s kids. We as a community need to hear this, that there are parents out there who still believe in old-fashioned methods.”

And the teens? In an interview with ABC 33/40, Wood explained that they were embarrassed.”They’re humiliated, but that’s ok. I told them, ‘you know what? You’re never going to do it again.’ ”

Both women should be absolutely applauded for their handling of the situation, for supporting each other as parents and for making the girls accountable for their actions. With parents like these, I’m sure that all of their children will grow up to be outstanding young people.

Bravo!

What do you think? As a parent, would you react in the same way?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

45 thoughts on “When Parents Get It Right

  1. I’m not sure that publicly shaming your children (even when their behaviour is this awful) is ever the right thing to do but that said, bravo indeed for the reaction of the mother. I too would be mortified if I found out that my teenagers behaved in this way and would definitely want to put it right but maybe without the viral shaming πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much for the comment! I think that this sort of thing is quite a divisive topic, but as the girls names and pictures aren’t mentioned, I don’t have a major issue with it. I remember a post not long ago in which a man discovered that his son was a bully and posted pictures of him online with signs that told everyone what he had done. He was vilified for it, but I understand both sides.

  2. Glad you shared this. Kudos to Rebecca and Kyesha! I just don’t know if I would have taken those kids aside to tell them like it is, but now that my kids are grown and I have a granddaughter, I’m seeing “parenting” in a whole different light. I would have, at least, explained to my granddaughter about the impact of actions on others and get her engaged in the conversation.

    • Thanks Judy! I’ve been in a similar situation before where Ive spoken to kids about their behaviour, but their parents have backed them up and the kids just stood there and smirked…

  3. So funny to have read this post! On Saturday I’d taken my 10 year old daughter and two of her girlfriends to see Cinderella, and had a similar experience with rude teens, who’d sat behind us. Because I was not in the company of another adult, had other people’s children, and have general concern about teens becoming violent and or aggressive, I simply moved seats. I thought it best given the situation to avoid any confrontation. I commend Kyesha for holding the girls accountable and offering to pay for Rebecca’s family’s next movie outing. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I don’t know if I have the guts to call another person’s kids out personally (I would have had management kick them out of the movie after the third interruption) but I am totally behind what the girls’ mother did. My kid isn’t perfect and that’ll teach him not to listen to me when someone else calls him out on something.

    I love that the brother seemed to behave and told on them πŸ˜€

    • That made me smile too – what a little star he is! I think because I’ve been a teacher for so long I feel less awkward about confronting other people’s children, but I’ve never had any back up from parents. I suppose that’s why the kids behaved like little assholes in the first place – they knew their parents would support them

  5. I saw this article this morning & loved it. What a great mom! Hopefully those girls learned a lesson & will think twice before exhibiting that kind of behavior again. Parenting: you’re doing it right.

  6. I can only say, my son would not do this. I don’t know if it’s a result of how he was raised or simply not in his nature, but he wouldn’t do it. If he did, however, I likely wouldn’t shame him publicly, but I would certainly lay down the law. Whenever I have had to lay down the law about anything, it was the first and last time, since he is a logical person, and I had always been able to appeal to his sense of logic. There are many ways to parent, but we always have to take responsibility for our kids. I think it was great that the two mothers didn’t become angry or competitive with one another but wanted to do the right thing. Great share. Thanks!

    • Thanks for your comment! I agree with you – it was fabulous that the two parents could work together! I’m not sure it was public shaming – the girls names and pictures aren’t used, but I have seen examples of quite extreme public shaming that some parents have done. It sounds like you’ve got a wonderful son!

  7. The women did the right thing. Young people are rude here too and need a swift smack in the face and to learn some respect. It’s not politically correct to dicipline your child today.

    • I always like to hear people’s opinions John, and I agree that discipline is poor in some cases, but as someone who regularly received ‘a smack in the face’ and far more from my father on a regular basis, despite being a good kid and a straight A student, I will never advocate putting your hands on a child. I didnt respect him, I feared him, and it took me years to come to terms with what I had to experienced. I know plenty of balanced, educated and respectful teenagers who have never been hit in their lives.

  8. I was so happy to read about this story. I feel like lately, I hear lots of stories involving parents saying, “She can’t tell my kid what to do!” Those parents seem to get offended when their kids are told off, as if this is questioning the parents’ abilities (It’s not.).

    I’ve had experience volunteering and working with kids, so I’m used to expecting kids in my presence to behave. In the places I’ve worked, teachers and employees back each other up just like these women did. I think there should be more stories like this, because it’s a good example for kids. If kids know that they have expectations in society, even when their parents aren’t around, I think that’s great.

    • Thanks Rebecca – I totally agree with you! We do the same at work – we always give the students the opportunity to put their side across but we support each other when it is needed…

      • Exactly. It’s all about supporting each other when needed. I think that it’s a good example for kids if more parents would support each other like that.

      • I agree that it’s good for us to support each other when needed. I think it would be a great example for kids if more parents supported each other the way these parents did in this story. I think it helps to show kids that even strangers want them to be respectful in public and that expectations aren’t gone the moment their parents are gone.

  9. That was brilliant to read. I think the mother of the two girls sent out the right message. And yes, they might have been humiliated but will never forget it and hopefully will remember it forever.

    I think it is important as parents to do the right things, and sometimes that might mean having to take steps like these. It sets the right example for the kids. I loved the way both the women were so supportive of each other as well. It’s a great story, thank you for sharing .

  10. As a mother, my true test of friendship is if I feel I can correct their child, or if they can correct mine. It takes a village to raise a child, and common courtesy, decency & good manners are free. Everyone can have them. Use them liberally. I am generally a little wary about confronting teenagers, I’m tiny, but my husband happily takes them on if they are behaving like little sh*ts.

    The other day, my 9 year old was part of a group that were pushing each other down the slide, and everyone was joining in except one little ‘un, sister to one of the bigger ones. One of the other mums told off the lot of them for shoving the little ‘un down the slide, and my daughter came over and said, Why didn’t you say something? I said to my shocked child, She said it all. My daughter couldn’t believe I let someone else tell her off, but I would have done it anyway. That woman just got in quicker! I have zero tolerance for stuff like that and would hope my daughter learnt her lesson.

    • That’s brilliant – it’s great that you allowed your daughter to experience consequences from someone else… She’ll be much better for it!

      Me and The Bloke are the opposites – if anyone is going to say anything, it will be me… I’m used to being in a classroom with teenagers most days!

  11. I remember going to parents night at my children’s schools. Most of the time, their teachers had very positive things to say. One teacher lamented that the parents who came to parents night were usually not the ones who should be coming there. You can tell who the loving, caring, involved parents are because they’re the ones who don’t deny there’s a problem.

    Parenting is 24/7 until the children move away. That’s a minimum of 18 years of commitment. Mistakes are going to be made. I love the way those 2 women handled it. They showed that disagreements can be calmly resolved. Sometimes the best examples are the ones you don’t know you’re giving your children, simply because the actions are heartfelt.

    • As a teacher Ive said this myself on many occasions – the parents that show up to parents evenings are never the ones we want to see. I do understand that some parents work in the evenings, so I try and avoid judgements on that, but in the years I have worked at my current school there are still some parents that refuse to come in, even though I know that they don’t work. They just can’t be bothered – Ive even had some tell me that it isn’t their job to check their kids homework… Unbelievable.

      • I’m not sure if I did something right or if my children simply raised themselves well. πŸ™‚

        Kudos go to their aunt and grandmother, who were there for us when their father died (when the kids were 5 and 7).

        As to the present: My daughter has a master’s degree and is a sales manager for a large company and my son is a up for full professor soon.

  12. As a parent to hairy babies I don’t let them go to the cinema unaccompanied but i see myself how kids have bad role models these days. Parents are to quick to blame everyone else but their kids. I’d have got the belt and learned that way – done me no harm. Good on these two ladies!

  13. I have run into a surprising number of teenagers at the movies. The last time I went for a movie we saw the latest Hobbit film, there were these annoying kids who spent the entire time giggling and hitting one another. My parents brought me up to respect others and behave myself especially in public. Word to all parents: make sure your kids can handle their shit in public before you leave them alone for 2 hours. Dont just drop them off so they’ll shut up and dont just drop them off because you’re sick of them. No one pays money to listen to them play around at the movies.

    I applaud the woman for saying something to those kids. You know what, they’re never going to repeat it again. And to the mother of those teenage girls, glad you stood up for another mother.

  14. An excellent point very well made. In a perfect world, a good parent would not even need to tell off their offspring in the first place. They would behave well as a matter of course. Unfortunately, the majority of parents should have started with a supermarket trolley to look after, and then worked their way, very slowly, up from there.

  15. Though it’s great that the parents have even reacted, I’m not sure social media is the way to do it… Taking priviledges away, most definitely but not via social media. That said, we never truly know how we’ll react/proactive (!) until we’re faced with it, do we?

    • I think that that is a subject that causes lots of debate amongst parents – some see social media is the wrong way to embarrass kids, while others think it’s the best way of punishing them. I think, for me, so many kids are used to social media and exploit it to their advantage, using it to mock others and send abusive comments, but when they have been subjected to it themselves it has far more impact than a telling off at home. As I don’t have kids, I can’t say how I would react…

  16. The two women are fantastic! My Mum and Dad remember a time where, if someones kids or teens were being disrespectful you’d say to them “Your mother will here about this!” etc. They new they would automatically have the backing of the parent. Nowadays it’s common for the parents to just be aggressive or dismissive or two be so astonished that the adult has said anything in the first place that the paren finds it amusing.

    It’s so nice to hear about a parent behaving like an adult and being responsible and setting a fantastic example to their kids.

  17. I really commend both sets of parents. They handled everything really well. I feel like this could have easily turned into someone yelling at the 2 kids at the movie theater or the mother defending her children’s actions and asking how DARE the other family say anything about that. Too often lately, I feel like people get so offended easily and are easy to anger instead of using the experience to humble themselves and learn to become better people.

    I hope I can be a good example to my children and also put them in their place when they are being disrespectful which is part of the whole growing up experience anyway.

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