Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t like your children.
It’s nothing personal. I’m sure they’re really sweet, cute kids; it’s just that the only children I really like are my own. And even that’s true only half of the time.
Yesterday I was swimming with my daughter and another little girl became quite attached to us. She told me all about her favorite iPad game and what she was having for lunch that afternoon (grilled cheese, sweet peppers, and maaaaaybe an Oreo). After about ten minutes of her begging me to throw her into the air like I was doing with my own daughter, I looked around frantically for her parents. Turns out her mother was sitting in a chair next to the pool having a very heated conversation on her cell phone, completely oblivious to my desperation to escape her daughter’s incessant ramblings. I can barely sit through my own daughter’s detailed recounting of the latest episode of Paw Patrol, and I carried her for nine months and pushed her out of my own body. Again, don’t get me wrong, she was a very sweet kid, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s not mine, and I am therefore not obligated to entertain her.
I am not one of those people who finds all children charming. If a newly-walking toddler hobbles toward me at story time with a huge grin and a face full of apple sauce, I will politely smile back, but in my head, I am praying that his mother will quickly scoop him up before he shoves a board book in my face and I am forced to read it against my will.
Children in general are annoying, my own included.
They whine, sneeze without covering their mouths, and spend 80% of the day asking for snacks. As the mom of two (soon to be three) children, I’ve discovered that children seem to gravitate towards the people who are the least kid-friendly. They’re like dogs in that way. This is why I make it a point to teach my children to respect others’ personal space. I also don’t ever use park time or pool time or story time to catch up on my email or shop online. I try to always be aware of where my children are and who they are bothering. I don’t allow them to ask other kids to share their snacks or ask another mom to push them on the swings. I just assume that every mom feels the same way I do about other people’s children, which means that in general, they want little to do with mine.
Of course, I realize that it takes a village, which is why I never hesitate to offer to watch someone’s children while she runs to the bathroom or grabs something from her car. I would never ignore a child who needed help down a slide or asked me to throw a ring for her at the pool. We have also met many of our closest friends through random encounters in public places. It goes something like this: another child comes up to my own and asks her to play. The mom and I start talking. I realize that our children are playing happily together and I genuinely like the mom, so we plan to meet up again the following week.
I’m not completely closed off to other children or their parents, I just don’t appreciate it when other parents assume that I find it cute when their kid follows me around and asks me if I know how to say random words in Spanish.
Children aren’t very good at reading social cues. They don’t understand the body language associated with annoyance or that “we’re going to go play over here” may mean that someone needs space. It is your job as the parent or caregiver to be aware and redirect accordingly.