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Child-Free Man Calls Out A Mom Who Was On Her Phone And Ignoring Her Son At A Park — 'Can't Give 'Em The Time Of Day'

Photo: @mariomirante / TikTok
Mario Mirante

Content creator and comedian Mario Mirante stirred a debate after criticizing parents who spend more time on their phones instead of giving their attention to their children.

In a TikTok video, Mirante ranted about seeing a young boy in the park with his mother, and while the little boy was playing, his mom was too engrossed in her phone to notice him.

He called out a mom who ignored her son and stayed on her phone while he was on the playground.

In Mirante's video, he explained that he had been walking past a park on his way home from the gym, and noticed a mom and young boy by the playground.

"The kid is just playing quietly, not being annoying. I don't hear a peep from him, just doing his thing on the playground, right? It's like a minute of me walking, I don't hear the kid yelling. I don't hear the kid being annoying," Mirante recalled. "The entire time, the mom is on her phone, staring right down at her screen. Doesn't look up one time, right? I walk right by, doesn't even notice me."



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At one point, he noticed the young boy at the top of a slide, calling down to his mom so that she could watch him go down. Mirante said that as the young boy was calling to his mom, she shrieked at the top of her lungs, "One second!"

"Stops me in my tracks. I look over [and] the kid's terrified, you can see the whites of his eyes just sitting at the top of the [slide] like, what did I do wrong?" he continued. "Then the mom never looks up from her screen as the kid goes down and goes over to the swing set."

Mirante admitted that he got negative feedback from his followers after telling the story.

He explained that this was his second time telling and uploading the story to TikTok because his first video had been removed. Before it was taken down, Mirante had gotten a horde of harsh feedback from other people. They lambasted him for criticizing a parent, and argued he had no right to do so since he didn't have kids of his own.

"Hundreds of people started commenting, 'Mama needs a break,' 'You don't understand. You don't have kids,' 'It was probably a single mom, are you really judging someone from that?' Guess what, guys. That's the whole story of what happened, and yeah, I'm judging somebody off of that," Mirante said.

He acknowledged that the young boy wasn't doing anything wrong, and was only trying to get his mother's attention. "When your kid's not doing anything wrong, or in danger, or anything like that, you probably shouldn't scream at them."

He added that if that mom had enough energy to yell at her son, then she should've had enough energy to simply look up from her phone for a second to watch him go down the slide, or tell him calmly that she needed a minute. 

"Are you guys really that attached to your phones? I see that happen all too often, and then I see parents complaining about how exhausting it is and how society and social media are ruining their children," he said. "Meanwhile, they can't look up from their phones, can't give them the time of day."

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An attachment therapist explained just how millennial parents can potentially mess their kids up because of phones.

In a TikTok video, a content creator named Steph, who is also an attachment therapist, illustrated how parents who use their phones instead of giving attention to their kids can potentially have traumatic effects on their development.

"It's called the Still Face experiment," Steph began, showing an excerpt from the research. In it, a mom is engaging with a baby, and since the baby is nonverbal, it's critical that not only is the mother paying attention, but she's also "using attunement to sync up and communicate with her baby."



At one point, the baby points off into the distance and the mom follows the movement, signaling to the baby that she is here and in the moment. "You can see the mom and daughter are really connected and in sync which is so important because babies can't self-regulate until around age two. They are completely dependent on mom's nervous system."

Eventually, the experimenters ask the mom to keep her face still so that she is not actively attuning to her baby. This signifies a rejection to the baby since the mom is no longer engaging with her.

The baby keeps trying to make bids for her mom's attention, but is only being met with a still face. "Everything she is trying to do to get Mom's attention. She's making squeals, and everything she's doing is getting rejected by her mom and that rejection is distressing."

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From that experiment, Steph explained that if parents aren't giving their children that attunement because they are too busy looking at their phones, then they are going to end up seeking it from someone else.

"You have control over this. Who do you want them to get their attunement and connection from? You or someone else?" Steph concluded.

Mirante sparked a debate around child-free adults being able to have a say in how other people parent their kids.

Many people took to Mirante's comments section with differing opinions on whether or not someone who doesn't have children is allowed to criticize and have a say in how other people parent their kids. It's both a complex and subjective matter, as there are many factors to consider.

In Mirante's case, his concern over the mom yelling at her son and ignoring him, despite him trying his hardest to get her attention, is something that can have lasting effects on a child's development, as explained by Steph. 

If the criticism is rooted in genuine concern for the well-being of the child, some argue that it may be justified. For example, if a child's safety is at risk or if their emotional needs are consistently neglected, raising awareness about such issues may be seen as a responsible action.

You also don't need to be a parent to empathize with a child's experience, especially since we were all once children under our parents' care and can probably relate to certain instances because of how they made us feel when we experienced them as kids.

Of course, there is the issue of empathy and compassion. Being a parent is hard work, and it could've been that Mirante just happened to catch this mom at her wit's end. She could've spent the time before they were at the park entertaining and giving her son all of her attention, and once she was at the park, she could've just wanted some time to herself while her son played. 

Mirante's critique brings attention to the complex dynamics between child-free people and parents. It highlights the need for nuanced conversations about parenting practices, while also considering the potential impact on children and acknowledging the very real challenges faced by parents.

At the end of the day, parents aren't perfect just as they aren't exempt from hearing healthy and constructive criticism from bystanders.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.