Public Service Announcement: Don’t Touch My Kid

by Cate on July 26, 2010

Hands Off

I can think of very few instances where it is ok for a complete stranger to touch my kid.  Excuse me if that’s not very touchy-feely of me, but I’m ok with that.  If they are in distress, or in need of comfort or help … those are some specific instances where I think it’s ok if you don’t know me or my kids.

This weekend, I was in Whole Foods with the kids and a friend of mine.  Madeline was walking next to me, past nap time and she was tired.  She was sucking her two fingers and holding a newly acquired stuffed animal.  Namely a purple hippo.  A woman, a complete stranger, was walking down the aisle, going the opposite direction of us, and reached out and knocked Madeline’s fingers out of her mouth.

“Stop that.  Your mom is going to have to pay for braces when you get older.”

Are you kidding me?  I looked at her and said, “Don’t touch her.  We’re fine, thank you,” and steered the kids down the rest of the aisle.  I mean, seriously, are you kidding me?!

Yes, she sucks her fingers.  It’s a source of comfort for her when she’s tired.  Her go-to, if you will.  I sucked my fingers, the exact same ones, when I was her age too.  Had bumps on my fingers, as she does now, for years after.  I was fine.  Could she need braces when she gets older?  Sure.  It’s entirely possible.  Was it this woman’s business?  Absolutely, positively, unequivocally not.

Does it sound like I’m a bit angry about it?  Probably.  And rightly so.  I was ticked, though I wasn’t going to get into any confrontation about it.  I was right there when it happened.  She probably meant well.  I completely understand that.

Barring all that, she was out of line to say anything about the topic, let alone touch Madeline or knock her hand out of her mouth.  So consider this my Public Service Announcement.  Unless a kid is in obvious distress or perhaps needs comfort (and even that might be a stretch), it is completely not cool to touch them.  Period.  End of story.

Project 365
July 26, 2010, Photo #133

Wrong. So Very Wrong.

This is just wrong. So Very Wrong. On so many different levels.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron July 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

I would be angry too. It’s wrong on so many levels — apparently this woman hasn’t learned boundaries, personal space or any other elements of positive relations.


Joanne July 27, 2010 at 6:15 am

God it made me so angry just READING about that woman! You did the right thing Cate, although I might have smacked the woman’s hand if I were you. For good measure.


The Sister In-Law July 27, 2010 at 7:00 am

Heck yes – I would be extremely angry too. The nerve of her!!!



Patsy July 27, 2010 at 8:28 am

oh, yeah… I would have had a hard time not going into a confrontation – when it comes to my kids I get very protective around strangers.

People really don’t seem to understand where the line is when it comes to other people’s kids and what’s ok. Good for you for saying what you did and moving on, and I don’t blame you one bit for being angry about it.


mandy July 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

I would be angry too. I would never think of doing that to someone else’s child. I have a personal space bubble and I dont like when people cross that.


TheKitchenWitch July 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

What a meddlesome little tart! I would have wanted to smack her a good one!


Jenny July 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

You go Cate! You speak for all of us mom’s out there.
I had a little old man tweeking my son’s nose this weekend, asking him how he got ice cream on his nose as he repeatedly touched his nose. I’d have spoken up myself but the man was clearly over 80 and thought he was funny. I doubt he even realized he was doing it. But knocking a child’s hand out of their mouth – that is unacceptable.


Ramona July 27, 2010 at 9:26 am

I know you said you didn’t want a confrontation about it, but I would have told Nick to stay still with Maddie – get that woman at the end of the isle and told her off.

Obviously, she had no respect for you or your child. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for rude people.


Sherry Lee July 27, 2010 at 10:56 am

Oh my gosh, this gets my blood boiling. My daughters sucked their fingers/thumbs….one needed braces the other didn’t. I can’t imagine a complete stranger doing that! Totally wrong. You were right in the way you handled it and I commend you for it.


Karen July 27, 2010 at 11:24 am

I would never do that to a child I didn’t know. I do sometimes reach out and tickle little kids if we have been laughing and it seems like their parent wouldn’t care. Never someone I just walked by, but maybe if we were in line for awhile and we established a little bit of a relationship.


Christy July 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Totally, 100% agree! I am floored by some people’s nerve! I have had similar things happen and I had a similar reaction. That was out of line.


Maris July 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Everything about this post made me angry! People are so rude, it’s disgusting.


Jen July 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Agreed! What is wrong with some people?


Claire July 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I agree, that was totally inappropriate! I agree that she most likely was not being malicious but Madeline was not harming anyone or causing a problem. What amazes me is that the same lady probably would NOT have done anything had she seen someone yelling at their child or “spanking” them in the middle of said store! THAT really irks me. Just keep doing what your doing with Maddie…carrying a stuffed animal (even if it is a purple hippo!) and sucking her fingers will not scar her for life…please just make sure she stops before she has her own children! You’d be surprised! :-)

And that “butter”….ew!


Dana D@BoysMyJoys July 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm

AMEN… to your PSA and pic!


Carey July 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

The nerve of the lady just galls me to no end. How dare she touch your child in any way and impose her beliefs on you and Maddie. As Jen said What is wrong with some people?


Meg July 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Whoa — she totally had no right to say anything about Madeline’s finger-sucking, and even less of a right (if that’s possible!) to touch your daughter. It would never even occur to me to do something like that… but then again, I usually mind my own business!


Merry120 July 31, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Wowza! I must admit that I wasn’t sure when I saw your title. I have occasionally high fived or tickled a little kid in the grocery line (you know when they are bored & looking around for any entertainment) but I would NEVER, EVER discipline a child or correct their behavior. The nerve of some people! Yikes!


Lori August 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I found your blog via Rachacha blog. I was thumbing through the pages and read what you wrote. Good gats if someone did that to my daughter… I dont know. You handled that very well.


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