It's not ideal for any parent to be with their kids in public when a tantrum or meltdown comes on — but that doesn't mean that parent should resort to spanking when their child doesn't stop crying. Mum of two Mary Katherine Backstrom of Mom Babble was in a Publix grocery store with her 4-year-old son Benjamin and 2-year-old daughter Holland when both of her kids lost their cool and a stranger suggested Backstrom take her son outside and spank him. Her response, a video she dedicated to the woman with the words she couldn't think to say in the moment, outlines why spanking her children would in no way, shape, or form have helped the situation.
When the mum discovered there wasn't much food in the house, she packed up her kids and headed to Publix, where, after a few aisles of shopping, her kids began to get antsy. Giving them each a snack to keep them busy and just get through the task at hand, Backstrom cut the trip as short as possible and got the three of them into a checkout line, where both kids started to have a meltdown. A bag guy gave each of them a balloon, but Backstrom says the sweet gesture was a total mess — Holland's balloon floated to the ceiling within seconds, and Ben started to cry for his sister.
"The lady behind me in the parallel line . . . goes to the guy who's checking her out: 'I tell you what I'd do with that behaviour. I'd take him outside and I'd [smacking noise].' This is what this lady says," Backstrom explains. "My son is 4 . . . My son cannot regulate himself yet. And he wasn't even being a selfish kid; he was empathizing with his sister who lost her balloon. Why would I want to beat that out of my child? Why would I want to take something that's good about my son and punish him for it?"
Backstrom continues, bringing up the concept of "toxic masculinity" while still addressing the stranger.
"What you're recommending I do to my son is take him outside and beat the emotion out of him. You wanna know what's wrong with half the men in this world who can't express themselves; who feel ashamed to cry? THAT. The 'I'm going to beat you for crying in the grocery store' is what's wrong. Well, you know what? Screw that lady!
Children are allowed to cry in public. Children are allowed to be in public. They're allowed to melt down in public — especially a 4- and a 2-year-old. They're human beings that are learning to regulate their emotions and express themselves. And the very last thing they need is Nosy Nelly in aisle six to throw in her behaviour recommendations. No thanks, hard pass."
Backstrom then encourages all parents to take their kids out in public and to not be ashamed of the fact that they are being kids, because they still deserve respect. "They're tiny humans, but they're still humans."