A Kid Trashed a Sephora Display – Why Isn’t Anyone Stating the Obvious About the Parents?

A child is said to have destroyed $1,300 worth of make-up in Sephora, but instead of being appalled at the misbehaving child’s mess, a mob is going after the woman who posted the photo of it.

That’s right: people are mad at Brittney Nelson, who posted the photo, and are calling her out for “mom-shaming.” Some commenters are saying it couldn’t be a “young child” who made the mess because the stand would be up too high, so it must be an older child (wouldn’t that make it worse since you would expect an older child to know how to behave in a store?). Some people are upset that Nelson suggested that moms should go shopping alone because many people don’t have the luxury of hiring a babysitter. But if you’re shopping at Sephora, a high-end luxury make-up store that even a childless woman like me can only afford to window-shop in, there’s a good chance you could afford to hire a babysitter for an hour. Some people are even blaming Sephora employees for not monitoring the child, even though I’m sure there was more than one customer in the store that they were attending to, and their job description does not include “babysitter.”

So instead of acknowledging the fault of the child, people are pointing fingers in all directions or saying Nelson is just “overreacting.” Sure, it might just be make-up, but it’s a LOT of make-up—over $1,000 worth of it. Could you imagine the reaction if the child had been in Best Buy and smashed up a couple of TVs? Or if they had been in the Apple store and thrown around some iPads? I bet more people would have been appalled at the child’s actions in either of those situations.

I don’t know if the child in question got in trouble once he or she got home, but you better believe if I had done anything like that when I was a child, I would have gotten in trouble AT the store. My mom might not have raised her voice in public, but she would have been very firm (and angry) and would have made me help clean up my mess and apologize profusely before punishing me further at home. But fewer and fewer children are being held accountable for their actions today, and if this trend continues, there are going to be more things than make-up displays at Sephora to worry about.

Restaurants are banning children, and I’m sure you’ve heard multiple stories from teachers about parents complaining about bad grades or not taking action when their children misbehave in school. One study showed that fifty-five percent of parents admitted to being less strict than their own parents had been, and a quarter of parents don’t discipline their children for fear of upsetting them (my parents didn’t care about that one bit and even say that their favorite word to say to us children was “No”). Over half the parents surveyed said they saw themselves as “friends” instead of parents, and said they wanted their children to have an “easy life,” even though that same generation is complaining about how easy “snowflake” Millennials have had it. So all these parents are disregarding their job of being a parent (and it is a job) and aren’t disciplining their children because they want to be liked. If people want the next generation to be tougher than these “fragile” Millennials who have compiled enough trigger words to fill a dictionary, something needs to change.

And it’s not just in restaurants or makeup stores. There isn’t a Catholic Mass that I attend without disruptive children running up and down the aisle during the homily, banging plastic toys against the wooden seats, or screaming during a prayer. Once, a child arrived with a tricycle, which he proceeded to drag and bang around the back pews throughout the service. Of course, children are energetic and many can’t sit still and focus for an hour, so I understand them having toys (soft or quiet ones, please) or coloring books during services or concerts. But what shocks me most is the parents’ reactions to their misbehaving children. Instead of keeping their children in the pew, they watch as their children run around the church. Occasionally, if children get too close to the front, the parents will grab them, only to take them to the back to let them continue to run around and yell. Not only does the misbehaving child get away with his or her actions, but it disrupts the Mass for the entire congregation. There have been more times than I can count where I couldn’t hear a single word of the homily. But God forbid if I dare try to discipline someone else’s child; the parents would suddenly be acutely aware of their children—to defend them against criticism.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but here it is: Disruptive and destructive children can be annoying to the people around them. It’s sad (and a little scary) to see what the next generation is going to turn into if the makeup-destroying child at Sephora is any guide. If you think Millennials are entitled and fragile, just wait a few years; avocado toast and trigger words will be the least of your worries.

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  • SheRa

    Here’s the problem: we expect children to present adult behavior when the situation calls for it. We can’t expect a child to be dragged through a store (or multiple stores) and not touch anything. Most people are not in and out of any store unless they know exactly what they want and are not making any side trips. I know from experience that my “I just need mascara” trips to Sephora end up with me popping from display to display and looking at all the products.

    Children have a shelf life and get bored easily without something to do. It’s little wonder one would play with fun looking and colorful eyeshadows. If indeed it even was a child who caused that damage. I have seen grown adults be very sloppy borderline destructive with makeup sample displays.

    Be that as it may, the issue of not allowing children into certain establishments is a valid one. If you are trying to cultivate a certain environment, a child’s behavior could impact that perception. I think in general society has become very relaxed when it comes to when and where it is appropriate to include children. A lot of this is about selfish necessity.

  • Alicia Westberry

    Children should be taught what is appropriate behavior and disciplined when they don’t show it. Some, however, are too young to know any better. Children too young to act appropriately need to be left at home. That a young child, if it was indeed a young child, was even anywhere high-end baffles me.