Parenting in Public
Imagine this. You've taken your four-year-old
to a restaurant. In a few minutes, he wriggles out of his chair and is
soon engaged in a loud argument with another little boy. You break it up
before any blood is shed, smiling apologetically at the other child's parents.
He then decides that he doesn't want to eat a burger after all, but wants
what the boy at the other table is having. You hiss at him that he cannot
waste the food and he begins to whine. You shout at him, warning him of
dire consequences if he behaves badly. But the whining soon escalates into
a full-blown tantrum and his plate is sent crashing to the floor. By now,
you are doing everything in your power to stop yourself from reaching across
and giving him a good shake. You can feel that all eyes in the restaurant
are on you and your son, judging your ability as a parent as your son continues
to scream like he's being murdered.
What will 'they' think?
Somehow children have an uncanny instinct to pick the most public places to have a screaming fit and to question your authority as a parent. Parents usually react in one of two ways. Either they let their annoyance get the better of them and yell at the child, hoping to quell the tantrum by conveying the message that they mean business; or they give in easily, just to shut the child up. However, at home, you'll probably just ignore him till he gives up, realizing that his antics won't work.
While it's only natural for you to
want people in general to think highly of you, parenting is about you and
your child, not about what looks good to the general public. Your child
will not understand why you respond to the same situation differently at
home and in public. Your anger or your indulgence will lead him into thinking
that you don't care for him any longer.
Tips for parenting in public
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