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Who Calls the Cops Because of a Toddler Meltdown?

Photograph by PacificCoastNews

One of the toughest parts of parenting little ones is the public meltdown. Nobody likes to contend with a screaming, flailing toddler, especially someplace highly visible, like the middle of Target. That’s when every mom faces a tough decision: Do you discipline your child, knowing prying eyes are watching, or do you appease your little monster with a candy bar until you can find some privacy?

Charlize Theron found herself in a similar situation Thursday while picnicking with her boyfriend Sean Penn and her 2-year-old son Jackson. Apparently, Jackson was acting up, so Charlize decided to put him in a time out, causing him to scream in protest. A female hiker in the area heard the racket and…well let’s see if you can guess what she did to “help.”

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Was it:

A) Asked if everything was okay

B) Offered assistance

C) Whipped out a video camera and starting filming

Yep, random hiker poured gasoline on the fire by trying to capture the toddler meltdown on tape. Like any good mom, Charlize protected her son, insisting that the woman cease filming. She did stop, but then she called the cops and accused Charlize and Sean of mistreating the boy. However, when police interviewed the celebrity couple, they determined that there had been no wrongdoing—just a 2-year-old having a very typical reaction to a time out.

If mom wasn’t an A-lister, would she have really started filming?

I suppose it’s possible that the hiker truly believed a young child was in jeopardy, but if mom wasn’t an A-lister, would she have really started filming? I can’t help but think this lady was just a busybody jerk who wanted to insert herself in a tabloid story. Mission accomplished.

We often envy celebrity moms for how easy they seem to have it—they’ve got nannies, chefs and drivers, not to mention beauty teams who make sure they never leave the house looking less than gorgeous. But public scrutiny does not mix well with parenting, and this incident with Charlize and her son made me glad I’m not a celebrity. I can’t imagine what it must be like to know that any time you give your child “the look,” there’s probably a paparazzo waiting to capture your “mean” face for all to see and dissect.

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I admire Charlize for staying consistent with discipline even while in public. That’s not easy for anyone, especially celebs. No mom wants footage of her child melting down to end up on TMZ. Celebrity kids don’t ask to have superstars for parents, so until they start walking a catwalk like Brooklyn Beckham or whipping their hair a la Willow Smith, we should really leave them alone.

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