Oh, where to begin. I am not AT ALL saying that good respectful behavior is impossible, especially in public spaces, when it comes to children. That is certainly the expectation I have of my kids in those circumstances. If they can’t keep it together, respect rules, etc, we leave. Believe me, we’ve done it before.

But you are making many, many assumptions about a stranger and the situation based on few facts. That’s really the main point of my piece. I am not defending these parents specifically—I don’t have any more facts than anyone else who wasn’t there! I’m also not saying that this particular incident was in fact an accident and no one is to blame, although I certainly understand that interpretation and am getting a lot of feedback similar to yours.

What I AM saying is that seemingly no one is entertaining even the slightest possibility that it might have been an accident, that all of the wrong things happened all at the same time. Everyone is so confident in their opinions and assumptions, even though none of us were there. And when it comes to parenting in this country we are told to stop helicoptering over our kids and enabling them and never letting them out of our sight but the minute something goes wrong everyone’s all “WHY DID YOU LET THAT KID OUT OF YOUR SIGHT EVEN FOR A SECOND.” There has to be a middle ground. But let’s face it, “The Middle Ground” is not exactly the Internet’s middle name.

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AMATEUR HOUR (2018) and BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY (2021) | The New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Cut | kimberlyharrington.me

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