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Essay About Strangers Offering Kids Food

Hey, Strangers — STOP Offering My Son Food Without Asking Me First

The other day, I was at the grocery store. As I was scanning my stuff in the self checkout, I turned around to check on my almost-2-year-old son sitting in the shopping cart and noticed the lady behind me in line was giving my son some fruit. I didn't really see what was in her basket, so I have no idea if the fruit came from the store or her purse, but I honestly didn't care. I was annoyed. I stopped and gave her a stare — the most evil stare that I think I've ever given anyone. I moved the basket my son was sitting in to the opposite side of our cart. She could tell I was irritated. "Oh, I gave him some fruit," she said. "Yeah, I noticed," I replied. I then quickly took the fruit from my son's hand and threw it away. She gave me a dirty look, but, lady, this all could have been avoided if you had just asked me first.

You could quite literally kill my child if you give him the wrong thing without asking me first.

Sadly, this wasn't an isolated incident. The very next day, I took my son to a splash pad. I was watching him run around before he stopped in front of a lady. I started making my way to him, because my gut was telling me what was next. Again, a mom was giving my son food, but this time it was homemade food. I walked over and immediately took it out of his hand and politely gave it back to her. Her response? "It's OK, he can have it." Um, what? I don't know you, lady, and I don't know what's in the sandwich you just gave my son. Also, don't you dare tell me what my son can have. I smiled and replied, "No, actually, he can't."

I'm sure some people will think I'm overreacting or being an overbearing parent, but I don't care. I'm not about to start letting my son take things from strangers, no matter how innocent the exchange may seem. First, I don't know you. Plain and simple. One of the major rules we were taught as kids (and teach our own kids) is to never take anything from strangers. So, yes, that still holds up.

Second, while I'm sure you're a nice person, I have no idea what your kitchen looks like. I don't know if you washed your hands before handling said food, if you have a cold, if your own sick child put his hands (and snot) all over this. Just back off.

Third, you have no clue if my son is allergic to whatever it is you're giving him, which is probably my most important point. Even though my son is somewhat aware of what he's allergic to, he's still young enough that he will take whatever you give him. You could quite literally kill my child if you give him the wrong thing without asking me first.

Fourth, I could be one of those parents who is very particular about what my family eats. If someone chooses not to give something to their kids, you have to respect that. It is not your right to telling a parent that their child can have "just a little bit" of something they didn't approve of.

And lastly, we don't give our son everything he wants. My son is at an age where he sees a lot of stuff he can't have. However, he needs to know when mommy and daddy say no, it means no. We aren't those parents who give him whatever he wants just because he cries or holds out his hand, so don't undermine my parenting just because you feel like it.

Are there ever situations where I would change my mind? Sure. If you ask me if my son can have something and I feel OK with him having it, I'll say yes. Respect me, and I'll respect you.

Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of POPSUGAR Inc. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.

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