To all you mothers, especially.
I am very well aware that as a non-mother, I have no idea how hard it is to raise a child or children. I know that I will have my own trials when that time comes. But I want to make sure you understand I'm also not saying that every kid who gets grumpy every once in a while is being raised poorly. Kids will be kids. Tantrums will happen. Whining is inevitable. I know, I used to be one.

But unfortunately, at my job, I seem to see more bratty, spoiled children than good kids who occasionally have a bad day. Maybe baby is sick, or tired, or whatever, and cries a little bit. That's ok. Maybe Johnny is hungry so he's extra irritable (that one STILL happens to me). Maybe Susie stubbed her toe in the parking lot and is feeling pouty. That's all fine; it's life.

I'm talking about the kids who yell and scream and disrespect their own parents, as well as those around them. The ones who want everything NOW and GET it every time. The ones who throw things down the aisles, push shopping carts into displays, and are basically out of control. The ones whose parents don't make them behave. Unfortunately, they're everywhere.

Some kids, like my friend Paul's, can actually play with toys from the grocery store and put them back without throwing a tantrum! They might whine a little bit, as do most kids, but they have been taught well and will stop when told. They don't scream and kick and hit and cry about it.

I also know you have to pick your battles. If you've had a long, tiring day, and Georgie wants that lollipop or there's going to be a flood, get him the dang lollipop. You don't always have to say no. But don't fight with your kid and scream with him, telling him no, only to then go back on your decision and reward him. And please, don't always say yes, either.

Something I have observed from friends that I consider good parents is the use of options. Let the child choose between two possibilities, including one they wont want. Example: "Ok Susie, you wanted to ride in the kiddy shopping cart. You can either stay in the car, or come sit up here and get buckled in." Kid chooses the cart! It's that simple. Going across the street, Johnny wants to be alone. "You can either hold my hand or I'm going to carry you." So he holds your hand. Kids do tend to choose the lesser of two evils when given options, and then everyone is happy.

Again, I'm not a mom, so I don't have all your experience. But I've babysat good, normal kids, and I've babysat brats. I know good kids when I see them, and I know obnoxious kids who have been given too much free reign. Don't get the wrong idea, because I know that not all cranky kids equals poor mothering.

Honestly, I love kids, and every time I play with [good] ones, I find myself excited for when I get to have my own. It's going to be so much fun, and I really look forward to it.


Rebecca said...

oooooh, after reading these two, I feel renewed in my parenting! You are going to sharp kiddos and make a terrrrrific mother.

Francesca said...

I was just talking about this to my friend last night. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, and really, most situations can be avoided by simple preparation (ex: feed your kids before shopping or go after nap time).

Yara said...

TOTALLY know what you mean, and so many parents today seem to think they have to let their kids do whatever they want. I always know I'm doing well as a parent when I see my kids looking horrified when they see other kids acting like jerks/brats/monsters/etc.