Thursday, September 25, 2008

When should you speak up?

shutup balloon
Originally uploaded by unixd0rk
When I'm at work I have the opportunity to interact with all types of people from every walk of life, many from lower socio-economic communities. Yesterday at public meeting, I witnessed a woman pour Snapple Iced Tea into a bottle and then handed it to her child, who was somewhere around 8-12 months old. There were other options available at the meeting, water and juice. I sat there and bit my tongue. I wanted so badly to point out we had other things for the baby to drink. It made me cringe to think of a little person drinking the high fructose corn syrup and caffeine in the bottle. If he was offered this once, he was probably offered it regularly.

I didn't say a word. I smiled at the mother and tried to calm myself and think through my reaction. I was basically putting my parenting choices onto this mother who's situation and knowledge is different than mine, as all mothers are different. But I wanted so badly to educate her about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and how a child that young shouldn't have caffeine. But then I thought, who am I to educate or scold this woman? Not her friend or mother or counselor or anyone with the authority or position to offer this unsolicited advice.

But where is the line when it is ok and even necessary to step in and offer an alternative to a parent? I have confronted a parent hitting her child in a public place, and was treated to a loud and nasty rebuttal. But I thought the risk was worth it. I did not, however, contact the authorities to report abuse. But when it comes to nutrition, discipline, etc. when should we stand up and say, "there's another way"? I don't know. But I hope I know it when I see it.


  1. I spoke up once to a co-worker who was giving her 18 month old Mountain Dew. That was just not something I could let slide. I probably wouldn't have felt comfortable speaking up if she had been a total stranger though.

  2. I think its nessesary to speak up when a child is being abused. No, snapple is not a good choice, but what would you accomplish telling her that? I am sure she knows. I never critisize choices unless it hurts the child (physically or mentally) or it in turn hurts my child (if their child hurts mine because of lack of discipline ect...) to each his own! I have given my 2 yr old sprite, so shoot me now! A treat once in awhile never hurt anyone, IMHO. Its when we freak out about things like this, it makes the object so much more appealing.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.