Mom Refusing to Punish 7-Year-Old Son for His Comments to Classmate Dragged

A mother has been voted the a****** on Reddit for refusing to "shut down" her seven-year-old son for calling a class mate's "traditional lunch weird."

In the post, a 32-year-old mother explains that she received a text message from the mother of her son's classmate explaining that his comments about her daughter's lunch were making her feel uncomfortable and insecure. She asked the mother to speak to her son "about being more sensitive and respectful so her daughter doesn't feel excluded."

Explaining that she feels for this woman as "a fellow mother" she also said that "overcoming insecurities is a big part of growing up. Additionally, I thought it was ridiculous of her to criticize my son, a 7 year old, for making relatively innocuous and curious comments about food that is not familiar to him."

The mother explains that she told the mother that she "was sorry her daughter was struggling with insecurities, and I found some online parenting articles about building your child's confidence to send to her so she could use some tips to help her daughter out."

The female classmate's mother replied telling her not to message her anymore and that she acted "shamelessly and disgracefully."

Children eating lunch at school
A file photo of children eating lunch at school. A mother has been criticized for her reaction to her son calling a classmate's "traditional" lunch "weird." monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Newsweek spoke to Ruth E. Freeman, founder and president of parenting support organization Peace at Home Parenting Solutions.

"It's common for young children to say things that are different from their own experience are 'weird'. There is considerable research to suggest that punishment would not be the best solution in this situation however, this is an important teaching opportunity. This mom may want to offer her son foods from different cultures as a fun way of teaching him about the world and the people in it. He may benefit from exposure to different cultures through experiences, books, visiting different neighborhoods or meeting new people.

"Most importantly, mom may want to help her son recognize that words hurt people's feelings and without shaming, just gently discuss the difference between kindness and criticism. Mom may want to point out the importance of treating everyone with kindness and helping them feel included and like they belong. Calling someone's food an unkind name is the opposite of that. It is also the opposite of treating everyone with dignity and respect.

"It is important to point out that this child is not expressing his feelings, he is expressing ideas about different people not being accepted, and "weird," which is just criticism and reveals his discomfort with differences which some people don't outgrow without the right handling, and this is a source of a lot of discord and aggression in the world right now.

"Not everyone grew up in families that taught those ideas and sometimes even parents need some support to recognize the importance of inclusion and compassion for others."

Critical Reactions

Users were critical of the mother's handling of the situation.

"Teaching your kid to be respectful of other's choices is NOT "shutting him down," it's literally part of your job as the parent to....y'know....parent," said user notlucyintheskye, with over 59,700 likes.

Mindful-bed-slug agreed that this is a teachable moment: "Yeah, like where does OP think kids are going to learn to have the emotional sensitivity of an adult? By being taught in these teachable moments."

Anacarols2d pointed out a potential double standard: "While he shouldn't have "emotional sensitivity of an adult," the 7yo girl should learn how to deal with insecurities. How curious... YTA."

Newsweek has reached out to user throwawaymomlunch for comment. We couldn't verify the details of the case.

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