26 Jul
Is It OK to Criticize Someone’s Kid? Even If They’re a Teenager?

It’s Guest Post Thursday! Today we’re super happy to welcome the lovely Tracy from Sellabit Mum. Tracy lives in Minnesota, is the mother to three gorgeous girls and she’s also a cat person, which makes three of the four Mouthy Housewives very happy. (Let’s just say Kelcey ain’t down wif the felines.) Tracy is sweet, funny and the type of woman you’d love to go have coffee with for hours. And she’s also a wonderful writer, so please be sure to check out her blog. Thanks, Tracy!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Last week a friend of mine told me a story about a fight she had with her sister-in-law. She had asked her niece to watch her two kids(ages 14 and 17) for the weekend. Upon her return home, her niece told her that the 17 year old had been annoying all weekend. When she investigated it further, she found the following things had happened on Saturday:

1. Her niece told the 14 year old to ask the 17 year old if he wanted to go swimming, but the 14 year old neglected to do this as the 17 year old was just rolling out of bed. They left without him.

2. They called the 17 year old later in the day to see if he wanted to go to a graduation party with them. He said no since he didn’t know the person.

3. Around 8 pm, he called them and asked if they were all going to dinner. They said they had already eaten and he should just order a pizza. He tried to call a local pizza place. They did not pick up the phone. So he called them back and asked if they could bring him something and they agreed.

4. Around 10 pm, the niece, the 14 year old and the niece’s parents show up and give him McDonald’s. Most of the fries were eaten. Two bites were taken out of the sandwich. Half of the drink was gone. They said they had gotten hungry on the way to the house.

5. The next morning, the 17 year old asked his aunt and uncle if they could pick him up for church. They told him to drive himself.

When my friend found out this stuff, she was livid and then her sister-in-law told her that her son will have a hard time in college because he can’t do anything for himself. The argument got intense to say the least. My question is, when someone in your family criticizes your child (sometimes in front of him), what is the best way to handle it?


A Concerned Friend


Dear Concerned Friend,

Gosh, I miss the good old days, and by the good old days I mean the mid-80’s when my parents would just leave us for a week when we were 16 and 17 years old.  I mean, sure there may have been a few parties and all (and oh, don’t tell my dad that the ‘vodka’ he drank from his liquor cabinet from 1984-1988 was actually 90% water), but during that week we both made it to school every day as well as to any commitments and work.  But the most amazing thing we did was not starve because we could drive to the grocery store or even to the golden arches if the fries were calling our name.

I do have to say that if the 17 year old has a form of transportation, as his aunt and uncle declare, then why didn’t he just go get dinner? Or, here’s an idea, make a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal and eat an apple, because I don’t believe anyone else was required to feed a 17 year old.  Now I understand that the niece was in charge of watching her cousins – but I’m not sure watching consists of preparing three squares for a functioning 17 year old who chose not to go with them that night.  I mean, I don’t even cook a meal for my 9 year old now if I can get away with it.  Turns out even she knows how to make a bowl of cereal when I let her.

Now as far as calling someone annoying…well that is super annoying and I certainly would not want anyone criticizing any child in front of him.  But then again I don’t consider a 17 year old a child. Unless, of course, he can’t fix his own dinner. Hopefully by now your friend has cooled off and made nice with her family. Life’s too short to quibble over fries.


Tracy, Guest TMH

9 Responses to “Is It OK to Criticize Someone’s Kid? Even If They’re a Teenager?”


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I must say I completely agree with the SIL: the 17-year-old boy will have trouble in college and in later life if he expects everybody to serve him like a pampered prince.

I suppose that “someone in your family” cares about your kids, and that such criticism (especially in front of them, since the 17 y.o. is old enough to understand and learn from his mistakes) is made having their best interests at heart.
It is not criticism for its own sake, it’s a way to teach the boy how to live in a World where there migtht not be a mummy-daddy-cousin near at hand to help him out in worse difficulties than having to fix his dinner (!!!!).

If the mother saw this, too, instead of taking offence she would tell off the boy herself. But perhaps what offended her was not the criticism to the boy, but the implied (and more than just, in my opinion) criticism at her own way of raising her children.

Sorry if I sound like a judgmental bitch… 😉


Comment by Louise.

I disagree. The niece agreed to bring the OP’s son dinner, and instead brought a half eaten meal. He probably figured that they were bringing something and therefore didn’t make anything. I don’t see anything in the post that the OP’s son complained about the meal. Sure, he could’ve made his own meal, but that’s not the point because they said yes when he asked, and I’m betting if they said no he would’ve made his own. The level of disrespect by the niece is astounding, and I’m surprised Tracey didn’t address that.

Bean Reply:

I agree – and I would add that it appears that rudeness abounds in this family. Leaving him behind? Bringing him a half eaten meal? If my 16yo niece wanted to go to church, people in my family would jump for joy.

Yup, 17yo could show more initiative, but the others aren’t prizes either.

Big ol' B with a capital B Reply:

I agree as well. If the family said they were going to bring him food, then they should do it. If they didn’t want to bring him food, they should have said no.

Also, it was the nieces responsibility to ask the 17 year old if he wanted to go swimming since she was in charge and not the 14 year old’s job. And since the 14 year old didn’t do it, I would hope the niece apologized to the 17 year old for being rude and leaving him behind.

I do agree, the 17 year old needs to get some gumption and do things for himself/think for himself. But the rest of the family seems like jack asses, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if the fight started mainly because the sis-in-law is probably just as rude and went about it the wrong way.

Megan Reply:



Comment by nikkiana.

Maybe I’m just super laid back about these kind of things but since when is it a crime for a 17 year old to ask for someone who’s already out to pick them up a meal? I don’t even see anything lazy about that… it’s just common sense logistics… If you’re out and I’m not, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for me to go out if you can easily swing by and pick something up…. and if it happens to be a problem or an inconvenience or you don’t want to spend the money or whatever… there’s a two letter word that you can employ. It’s called NO!

And then the whole part about them getting home and handing him a half eaten meal? That’s just so incredibly rude. If you were hungry, you should have gotten your own damn happy meal.


Comment by N and Em's mom.

If my 17 year old (now 19) had a car and some cash, she would not be waiting around for someone to take care of her. It sounds like niece, aunt and uncle decided to teach the kid a lesson after they were called 2X. They went about it in the wrong way (a bite out of the hamburger??? really???). If they thought he should fend for himself, then they should have told him that without playing games. They are passive-aggressive jerks. But the mom needs to step back and ask herself if there is some validity to this. After all, her son was either too lazy to call the pizza place back or he wasn’t able to figure out how to get a pizza delivered to his house on a Saturday night, a skill essential for living away from home at college. A 17 year old should occasionally go to the grocery store and make a simple meal for the family, do their own laundry, take their turn cleaning the toilet, organize their own stuff (school, sports, clubs), communicate with their teachers and other adults, and let their parents know if they need help (supplies, rides, etc) because I think it’s mean to dump your kid off at a dorm with no life skills.

BTW- keep the hard liquor in the freezer. It doesn’t freeze unless it’s watered down.

Danielle Reply:

Yup. Vodka in the freezer. OR be a real bitch and fill all the vodka with water before leaving the kids home!


Comment by How Do I Reset My Mom's Angry Button? | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] a bad thing nor is it surprising. Allow me to run with that assumption for a moment. You’re a teenager and teens traditionally butt heads with parents for very valid reasons around this time. It’s […]

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