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After Toddler’s Public Meltdown, Dad Writes Open Letter to the Strangers Who Stared

Writer and Dad of the Internet, Clint Edwards, went viral recently for his real take on parenthood. As the author behind the hilarious book on parenting, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, and the blog No Idea What I’m Doing, Edwards is known for his humor and heartfelt parenting stories that we can all relate to — and his recent Facebook confession was no different.

In it, Edwards describes a story we’ve all lived through — the tale of the epic toddler meltdown. In public. Edwards’ 2-year-old daughter had been misbehaving in a restaurant because, as he writes, “Mom wouldn’t let her throw chicken strips.” So she reacted as many toddlers would: “She screamed and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin,” wrote Edwards.

Edwards goes on to say that he noticed the irritated glares of nearby childless patrons, whose faces appeared to be contorted in that If you can’t control your kid, then don’t go out expression. Once he had his child safely restrained in her car seat, he snapped an exhausted selfie and penned his now-viral post, which has since been shared almost 130,000 times.

As a former waiter who worked in restaurants for years to pay his way through college, Edwards recalls being annoyed with parents and kids years ago. Clint tells Babble he wishes he could go back and say to his former self, “Listen, dude. This is what we are up against.”

And he also wishes to address those who gave him and his toddler dirty looks. “No, I can’t control her,” he writes in his post. “Not all the time. Not yet. She’s two and it’s going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public.”

The reason Clint’s words resonate so deeply with his readers is because he tells the truth. There are days his kids irritate him, challenge his patience, and frankly, make him long for his pre-fatherhood days. But there are far more days he sees their joy and feels a bond with them as he and his wife raise them up to be good humans.

You are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person.
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But, raising good humans takes work. The lessons we must teach our kids “take patience, hard work, and real world experiences,” Edwards says. We can’t teach them how to behave in restaurants if we don’t take them to restaurants. He says to those annoyed patrons at Red Robin that what they are seeing is “not bad parenting, but rather, a parent working hard to fix the situation.”

Edwards tells Babble he’s surprised that his post has gone viral, as it was just a story we’ve all experienced. A story penned on his phone, while sitting in his mini-van. But maybe that’s why it’s been so widely shared. How many of us have been there, sitting in our mini-vans, with an angry child screaming in the backseat, unsure of our parenting but doing the best we can?

Clint ends his post with, “You are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person.” He’s a dad putting in the work so that the person she turns into will be kind and respectful and compassionate to others when they are working hard to parent their kids.

“In these moments, it feels like it’s us against them,” Edwards tells Babble. But when he sees how many fellow parents appreciate his post, he adds, “It’s good to know I’m not the only parent with a crazy 2-year-old in a restaurant.”

No, Clint, you’re certainly aren’t the only one. And thank you for helping us know we aren’t either.

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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