Don’t Teach Your Child to People-Please



Yesterday after work I made my weekly trip to the grocery store. I grabbed a cart and my head was down while I searched for my grocery list. I heard a child crying and a mother telling her to “act nice.” I wasn’t paying attention; it was simply ambient noise. I heard the mom say, “You see, that lady’s staring at you because you’re acting so terrible.” I looked up and the mom was holding her daughter with outstretched arms and shoving her in my face! Caught off guard, I said, “No, actually I wasn’t staring at her. Kindly leave me out of it.”

This exchange annoyed me for several reasons.

  1. The mom was being openly dishonest to her daughter.
  2. The mom was attempting to use me to manipulate the child into behaving in a certain manner. I set boundaries when people attempt to use me.
  3. She shamed her child in front of a third party (me!).
  4. Worst of all in my opinion, the mom is teaching her toddler to be a people-pleaser. Even if I had been staring, who cares?

Google “People-Pleaser” and you’ll see countless articles designed to help a person stop the behavior. That must mean it’s a damaging trait (duh). Had I not been caught off guard, I might have told the mom that how her daughter behaves is between the two of them and is none of my business. I could have locked eyes with the little girl and given her a huge smile and a high-five. While I missed the moment, hopefully what I managed to choke out provided the mom with a hint that she doesn’t have to please everyone and neither does her daughter.

After all, Heaven knows the world will be a be a better place when we women gain the confidence we so richly deserve.



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2 Responses to Don’t Teach Your Child to People-Please

  1. Denise says:

    Pass the offering bucket!

  2. This irks me. We are ALLOWED to be grouchy at times.

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