The other day I was in a restaurant and I overheard someone say to a kid, “Stop pushing your sister. You’re a horrible boy. If you don’t start behaving the devil will come and snatch you away. You’re evil and mean.”
I about fell out of my chair and I glared in the direction of the other table. The child was hanging his head and the adult was continuing the tirade, now sounding even more incoherent. I held my tongue, long ago realizing that comments to others in public places rarely help and often make things worse—so I didn’t jump up and give the adult a quick lesson in child management. But, I was tempted and as always shocked that people are still saying things like that to kids.