When BS18 was young, he needed very strict instructions and boundaries. There were many times that older women would criticize me or look at me odd for my rigid insistence. I assumed it was because I was so young, myself, and was overly strict.
DD7 is a much friendlier and more engaging child than BS was. She’s chatty, curious, ready to try new things. As a result, no matter where we go I am even more undermined in my parenting and it’s, frankly, p!ssing me off. When I tell my child to stay seated and not bug people at a restaurant, it’s not an invitation for the restaurant owner to invite my kid to come make her own dessert. It’s because I’m trying to teach her basic f*cking courtesy in every situation. Because in 4 years it won’t be so cute for little Helen Keller to be wandering up to strangers to strike up a conversation in the middle of their meal. Because one day my precocious little princess is going to try and befriend the stranger at the grocery store who is a child molester. But if I put my foot down with the safe people to help reinforce boundaries to keep her safe and polite, I just look like an a$$hole. It might be ok to you for her to do this stuff, but it teaches her to disregard authority and sneak around til she finds a yes man.