He refuses to remove his crying child from the grocery store and says parents—and society—should be more patient with children.
It is completely natural for kids to have sudden meltdowns as they are still learning to regulate their emotions. Moreover, babies who haven't yet started talking, often express their feelings by crying or making loud noises and it can happen in any public space. A supermarket, for instance, where it is almost impossible to calm a child down while walking around with a trolley full of groceries. So, why do parents feel so ashamed when their child is simply expressing their emotions in public?
One TikTok dad, Owen Squires—who goes by @owen_squires on the platform—has decided to make a change since he is sick of hearing parents apologize for their child's behavior.
“If my child is ever crying at the grocery store, I am not removing them from the grocery store and I am sorry if that makes you mildly uncomfortable or brings out the controlling part of your personality, but it is not illegal for a child to have feelings,” Squires states in a video. He then goes on to lay out all the reasons parents are critical and quick to use physical force to discipline their children because "society is impatient with parents."
In the video, Squires also recounts the time when his own child had a meltdown in public after skipping a nap. "I can feel everybody in the f**king grocery store just like staring at us and I look around, it's like a goddamn car wreck like, all eyeballs are on us," he shared.
"Now I can feel my anxiety level rising and I can feel my anger level rising like this is affecting my ego," he recalled. "Everybody's looking at me and judging me for how my child is behaving and now I'm angry with my child for being a child."
Parents feel judged and overwhelmed by other adults when kids do not behave as they should. "I think there would be a lot more parents willing to be patient with their children if society could just like f**king relax and be a little bit more accepting of children and the fact that they are not always sunshine and rainbows,” Squires added.
Squire’s video went viral with several parents sharing their thoughts on his take on "gentle parenting." For those unfamiliar, gentle parenting is a peaceful, positive approach to parenting, different from what most previous generations of parents opted for. Cleveland Clinic reports that gentle parenting relies on empathy, understanding and respect, focusing on improving a child’s self-awareness and understanding of their behavior. Many parents in the comments applauded Squires for letting his kids express themselves and not resorting to the conventional styles of parenting.
"Love this. I just start whispering to my kiddo and continue what I'm doing. I've got social anxiety as well and I just focus on my voice level," wrote @meowgoodsir. "You are so right. When my children have tantrums in public, I panic because of stares. Why should [we] care about other adults more than my kid's feelings?" asked @cece_larue30. "Thank you. I'm so tired of this 'children shouldn't be allowed in public' attitude people have," added @itsmealissanichole. "Agree! I don't care if people stare at me when my kid is having a tantrum at the store. It’s like yeah I hear it too," shared @momlifebestlife831. "Yep!! People are entitled to a child-free life, not a child-free world," noted @amyfromnj.