PAP= Passive-Aggressive Parenting
The problem with Passive-Aggressive Parenting (PAP) is, quite simply, it just doesn't work. Normally, I try to reserve judgment (aloud, at least) for whatever parenting choice you make. Becoming a parent myself has humbled me tremendously. Back, before kids (BK), I may have had all sorts of opinions about the way you parent-- How you talk to your kid while walking down the street, what food your son has for lunch, how you listen to your iPod on the subway while riding next to your child, essentially ignoring her, how your offspring is running wildly through the aisles unchecked, the dangerous 'toy' weapon your daughter is wielding, etc.
But I have learned my lesson (mostly) about judging other parents. One never knows the full context of a situation that we may see just a quick snapshot of as outsiders. Maybe you eat only organic, vegan fare at home and your child just underwent a painful medical test so you relented to his pleas and let him try sodium-laden Lunchables for the very first time. Perhaps, your child just finished singing her version of Raffi's Greatest Hits for the eighteenth time, which you listened to patiently each time, even smiling slightly throughout her off-key Baby Beluga--yet again, and just needed a little Springsteen in your life. Maybe your little darlin' has just been cured of selective mutism, suddenly able to speak to the grocery check-out clerk, and is celebrating his remarkable breakthrough, while you stand stunned by his public words. There have certainly been moments in my parenting career that I would not want a camera turned towards me, so I have tried to abide by the 'live and let live' philosophy when seeing how others parent. I surely have learned that nearly every time I have uttered, "Well, I would never __________" in terms of parental choices, I've ended up doing many of those things (My kids eat hot dogs, for example. Gross.). Often we are all doing the best we can in the situation and parents should be supportive and understanding of others fighting the good fight.
However, there is a judging caveat here, and that has to do with PAP. You see, if you were just employing this strategy at home, then I might have nothing to say about it. The issue is that you use PAP everywhere and suddenly, my kids and I get pulled into your ineffective and blame-somebody-else way of 'disciplining.'
For example, when your child roughly tackles mine without provocation in the playground, and you say, "Now, Beulah, you know that C is very sensitive and hockey isn't a sport he likes," you have just placed the blame on my kid for getting upset by your kid's aggressiveness. When your son grabs food from F's hand as he enjoys his snack, and I decide not to force F to share, as I most definitely would have if someone asked politely, your response of "You see, Herbert, some parents have their children share their food, but they don't have to, so you can't eat F's snack," you have just told your son that his behavior wasn't bad, mine was.
Look-- call your kid out on his poor behavior. Tell him what he's done wrong. Punish him if appropriate. I will do the same for mine. Because in the end, if you continue with your PAP, don't be surprised if 1.) people stop returning your phone calls asking for a playdate, 2.) your kid gets the 'needs work' box checked for 'plays well with others' in his social skills assessment in kindergarten, or 3.) your little darling grows up to never, ever take responsibility for anything she does wrong and continually blames the world and her parents for whatever doesn't go her way.
Oh, and if you don't call him out on his bad behavior when he's hurting my kid, don't be surprised when I do.