This Mom Was Shamed and Video-Recorded for Literally Buckling Her Kid’s Car Seat

Her preschooler unbuckled her seat belt, so the mom pulled over to buckle her back in—and was shamed and recorded for it, according to Reddit.

car seat buckle
Photo: Odua Images/Shutterstock

Parenting is a tough gig. From the pressure of other people's opinions to the surprises that our kids pull, being a parent comes with a certain level of stress. Reddit's Mommit forum got a double-whammy post from one parent who experienced both of these things in one incident that left them feeling sour.

"I was shamed and video recorded by strangers and even though everyone says I didn't do anything wrong and not to worry, it's really bothering me," the mom wrote on Reddit. "I feel so angry, sad, and humiliated."

Redditor u/queenlilith1 shared that she and her two children (aged 8 and 4) were driving home when the younger one dropped a toy on the floor of the car and secretly unbuckled herself to get it back. "I heard the click of seat and asked what was going on and my 8-year-old told me his sister was taking her buckles off," they wrote. "I told her to stop immediately, stay sitting back in her seat."

Like any concerned parent, u/queenlilith1 pulled the car into a grocery store parking lot, got out, and put her daughter back in her seat, and explained that she can "never unbuckle while we are driving." But suddenly, passengers in a nearby car seemingly became incensed by the situation. "They began filming me on their phone and yelling at me saying I was stupid and they just kept driving around my car filming me and yelling."

It's a little unclear what these hecklers wanted, but Reddit was with the parent (and so are we). Filming someone trying their best to take care of their child is not OK.

“There was literally no way you could have made a better did the exact right thing,” commented one Reddit user. “I wonder what they thought you had done? Whatever it was, their behavior was completely unacceptable.”

"They were harassing you. You have every right to feel sad, angry and humiliated. You acted responsibly," u/laelgh noted. Another Reddit user added, "well, that will be interesting if these guys actually take their recording somewhere to try and get the OP in trouble: 'Look at this mom buckling her kid's seatbelt! LOOK AT IT!!!!!'"

There appears to be a consensus among Redditors that this parent not only made the right decision but that the people in the car circling and checking her were emphatically in the wrong.

One Redditor noted astutely, "This is the problem with society. People paying so much attention to what they perceive is wrong that they feel justified. If you decided to just drive around with her on the floor, yeah - shame on you. But you immediately stopped? You did the right thing Mom. You know that in your soul."

In 2017, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan made headlines when they published a national survey of mothers (fathers and nonbinary parents were not represented in the survey) that showed that 61% of new moms of children under the age of 5 had dealt with negatively critical feedback on their parenting skills on everything from nutrition to discipline and sleep to safety. The three main sources of that criticism came from spouses, in-laws, and parents. But an astonishing and not insignificant amount of criticism came from strangers too.

"While I feel like I did the right thing for the safety of my child, I can't help but feel super upset that they did that to me," the original poster (OP) wrote. "I have never been shamed as a mother before and I must say it really hurts. It really bothers me that this video might be on the internet for people to see."

In response to the 2017 survey, Dr. Susan Newman, Ph.D. wrote a guide on how to look at and deal with parent shaming for Psychology Today. Dr. Newman points out that most parent shaming comes from a place of insecurity from those who feel they didn't parent correctly but now feel compelled to share their ideas with others as a kind of vicarious do-over.

Another issue may simply be a case of ignorant interference.

"What you take as judgment may be ignorance," wrote Dr. Newman. "Close family members may not know your history or why, for instance, you don't breastfeed or have more children or why you discipline your children as you do."

Regardless, there is never, ever a reason to shame or heckle a parent. The Reddit post describes the despicable behavior of strangers yelling, encircling, and filming a parent in a vulnerable situation. Whether it's an inexplicable reason like an unstrapped car seat, breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding), or bedtimes, it's time to bring an end to the parent-shaming.

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