What This Mom Did When Her Kids Wouldn’t Say ‘Thank You’ is ‘Meanest Mom Ever’ Material—& It’s AWESOME

Mom of three Jamie Primak Sullivan (whom you may know from Bravo’s Jersey Belle) never thought she’d go viral for taking her kids out for ice cream, but that’s exactly what happened two days ago. You can judge for yourself after reading her Facebook post, but I’m in the camp that says Sullivan is AWESOME and that her action in response to her kids’ lack of manners was totally warranted. She does, however, have quite a few detractors who are raking her over the coals, as the People of the Internet are prone to doing. Here’s the story, in Sullivan’s words:

So… I am the meanest mom ever… Like… Ever.

Took the kids to Dairy Queen after dinner. They ordered their dessert choices and we waited about 5 minutes for them to call out our number. The young lady (maybe 17) handed each child their ice cream. Not one looked her in the eye. Not one said thank you. Not to her, not to me… So I waited. I counted to 10 in my head as they dug into their ice cream and the young lady just looked at me (probably because she thought I was hearing voices) and I watched as my children strolled out the door.

I followed them outside where I calmly collected their ice creams and my kids watched in horror as I deposited them into the nearby garbage can. All 3 launched into mass hysteria. I waited. Quiet. Calm. When they realized I had something to say, they quieted down.
I explained that one day, if they were lucky, they would work a job like that young lady. And I would hope that people would see them. Really see them. Look them in the eye and say thank you. We are too old at 8/7/5 to move through our days without exercising manners and honestly basic human decency.
So today, I am the meanest mom in the world.

OH, SNAP! YES SHE DID! I applaud Sullivan’s taking the time to teach her kids an important lesson: “We are too old at 8/7/5 to move through our days without exercising manners and honestly just basic human decency.” I hope that in the same situation, I’d be strong enough to do the same with my children. Obviously, it would have been easier for her to say “Now  kids, I am so disappointed that you didn’t say thank you” or to make them say thank you before leaving the ice cream shop. But she chose the hard lesson, the one her kids will remember. And from where I’m sitting, as a mom of three myself, that is way more valuable than any ice cream cone.

Jamie Privak feat

In an interview about the incident with APlus, Sullivan explained the motivation behind her decision.

“I don’t want my kids to operate in a ‘selfie’ mentality,” she said. “I want them to be inclusionists … I want them to be the ones who say ‘wanna play with me?’ I want my children to want to include kids and look back and see their mother saying ‘I’m proud of you.’ It’s not enough to say please and thank you: we have to see people … My children need to see the individual value in people.”

As a follower of Christ, I know it is also my duty to SEE people as God sees them, and to teach my kids to do so as well. They need to know that the drive-thru cashier at McDonald’s or the server at Dairy Queen, or the homeless veteran standing at the corner by our grocery store deserves their eye contact and respect just as much as their teacher at school or pastor at church does.

So I want to say “Thank you” to Jamie Primak Sullivanfor dumping her kids’ ice cream in the trash. It was a great reminder to me to be more vigilant about how my kids are treating those we encounter every day—and about what kind of example I am setting for them.

What do you think of Sullivan’s parenting decision? Spot on or over the top? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments. And for more on why she did what she did, check out the video she posted on her Facebook page below.

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.