Tonight, after what felt like a very long day, I stopped for some groceries. On my way out of the store I passed their little Starbucks café and saw a woman with two small children. She turned to one of them and, in an exceptionally bitchy tone, said, “I thought I was being nice to you but apparently you don’t think I’m being nice.” I had to fight the urge to tell her that, to anyone with ears, it was apparent she was not being nice.

I’m sure that someone is going to get all bent out of shape over me judging this woman on one sentence, so allow me to explain further. It was nearly 7pm, a time when most children that age would be having dinner, not Starbucks. And the only one who seemed to be making anything remotely resembling a scene was the woman herself. Some of you may also argue that the kids could have been misbehaving before I walked by; that’s true.

Here are a few more things that are true:

As adults, we are responsible for how we react to things; we are responsible for the things we feel. We are also responsible for the feelings of our children. It is not their job to make sure that we don’t get our feelings hurt; it is our job to protect their feelings. We should not make children feel guilty when we don’t get what we want from them. Children are new. They don’t comprehend all the nuances of human interaction. It is our duty to teach them and to make sure that, by the time they are adults, they understand the rules and they behave with kindness and respect.

So be nice when you talk to children. Listen to what they have to say and treat them like the new, tiny humans that they are. They’re not less than you, they’re just smaller.