They’re everywhere. You’ve seen them and maybe didn’t pay much attention. But I do. Parenting is my business, so I’m on the alert with each and every scenario that I have the opportunity to watch unfold.

images-2From the wretched parents who allow their kids to rip and run through the aisles in the supermarket to the ones who are seated at a table near me in a restaurant and pay no attention to what their kids are doing that disturbs other customers – I’m watching.

Yup, there are even some eating establishments that don’t allow children — well-behaved or otherwise.

You know what I’m talking about because you, too, have observed kids who are obnoxious, because they’ve got parents who either think the darlings are too cute to correct or who condone the unacceptable behavior.


“Now, James,” Mom said in a soft tone as she attempted to encourage her young son to stop pulling on the iPad she was taking from him to put into her carry bag.

James wasn’t having it. He held tight to his prize possession, and when she refused to lessen the grip she had on it, still hanging on, he fell to the floor.

This gave Mom a superior advantage. She now had his iPad and promptly put it into her bag.

James wasn’t having it. He folded his arms in an authoritarian manner and refused to move from a sit-down position there in the hallway.

Mom proceeded to walk toward the exit door leaving him sitting there defiant with arms folded.

James wasn’t having it. He’d show her a thing or two. He stretched himself into a standing position and stomped a short distance over to the elevator door and punched the Up button.

Yeah, for Ms. Mom. She wasn’t having his nonsense and proceeded toward the exit.

Uh, James had a few afterthoughts, perhaps realizing the many floors in the building were a little much for him to contend with, so he angrily, arms folded again, trotted after her out the exit door.

“Good for her,” I said to my daughter who, with me, watched the James the Defiant episode unfold.

Outside the exit door was a bench in the shade and the young mom took a seat looking like she was trying hard to collect herself.

James the Defiant was now plopped on the far end of the bench, arms still folded, face red and eyes glaring into space.

He didn’t say it, but every gesture he made said, “Who does she think she is taking my stuff and putting it in her bag?”

I couldn’t hold back.  No, no, I didn’t have words for James, but I did have words for a mom who faced the challenge and didn’t back down.

I walked right up to the bench, smiled (I think) and held out a hand as I said, “Congratulations for Standing Your Ground.”

She had tears in her eyes as she stood up from her end of the bench to give me a hug and said, “Thank you so very much!”

James the Defiant was now glaring at me. It was a slow and steady trying-to-be-intimidating look.


Little white kids don’t fool with old Black grandmas. We tend to have that look that says “And I ain’t playin’.”

I’ve looked (in the ‘hood we call it “the look”) at some misbehaving little white kids and they immediately change their mode, and their parents then look bewildered. I’ve had some ask what I said to their kid.

Little black kids don’t fool with old Black grandmas, either.

I guess we could use a cadre of old Black grandmas as patrol agents working in places where parents show up with their kids.

Let me not give the impression that black kids are well behaved. While most of us don’t take no nonsense, we’ve got some modern-day parents who don’t understand that “No” means No, and instead wanna negotiate and hope for acceptable behavior.

James the Defiant’s mom wasn’t giving in. She called his bluff on the elevator act and she didn’t bother to help him understand whatever her reason was for keeping his I-pad in her bag.


Should kids be barred from restaurants and other public places?

What about posting standards of behavior, and that any violation will result in the customers being asked to leave?

Too harsh?

Think about the establishments that say “No Shirt, No Service.” Think about the places that say “No Smoking Within 25 Feet.”

Nasty-acting kids should not be allowed to inflict their behavior on the public.

James the Defiant’s mom should be welcome everywhere.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bill

    Dear Shirlee,

    Most kids (whom have ANY sense at all) KNOW—-that you “DON’T Mess With Black Mothers,
    Grandmothers, Fathers, Father-Figures or Authority-Figures! “The LOOK” alone means for the child… you’re gonna “get it,” or you’d better get ready to make your last requests; or which way do you wish to be placed in your coffin? These “new and ‘modern’ parents” always seem to want to “negotiate” or give a “time out” as the forms of discipline. I think NOT!

    When I was in education (for 30 years), I had a parent conference with a young Caucasian girl and HER MOTHER. In the middle of the conference, the problematic child (academically
    speaking; because I was a strict disciplinarian)—-became “distraught” and called her OWN MOTHER a “B….” Personally, I NEVER use that derogatory term regarding women. I was
    shocked, livid and incensed that the mother offered a “docile-lame-brained-excuse” for her daughter’s behavior & outburst. I made the daughter APOLOGIZE to her mother; and then to me. Then I ordered her to get OUT of my classroom, so I could talk with her mother alone.

    I asked the mother WHY she would allow such disrespectful behavior from a child…”her own child?” She responded that her child was always “emotional.” Really? Are you kidding me? I told her as respectfully as I could, that her parenting “skills” would get her an “F” if I were to have given her a grade. I suggested that she—–lay down ground rules for her daughter’s behavior; establish consequences for despicable behavior; and give her values that she expects for her daughter to follow. I told the mother that her daughter (and the rest of ALL of my students in ALL of my OTHER classes) would NEVER EXHIBIT BEHAVIOR THAT THEY KNEW THAT I WOULD NOT APPROVE OF IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. My standards applied at all times—–whether on the campus, in my room, at an assembly and especially on cultural/academic field trips…that I went out of my way to organized, get approved and in some instances Paid for (for those students whom could not afford to attend addendum theater-ticketed cultural events). I told the mother, that I would be checking on her, to see how she would be progressing.

    I suggested to the mother to write out her “new standards” for her daughter to “read” and concretely understand as to what was to be expected of her in their home;and out in public. The mother thanked me profusely. Afterward, I ushered the daughter back into the room and “read her beads.”

    The daughter left the meeting much more manner-able, respectful to her mother and much less “emotional” as her mother had previously stated.
    Let us stand up and support parents like James the Deviant’s mom…and of course Black Grandmas /Mothers EVERY WHERE! Great job as usual, Shirlee!
    —–Bill Allen, Jr.

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