Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Parenting Tips: Embarrassed Moms

Hey y'all.  Y'know, one of the reasons why it's so important to have a father figure is because fathers seem to understand how to act better in public.  They might not be such good fathers in private, but when I see a parent acting up in public, it's almost never a male.  In fact, I can't directly remember any bad male parents off the top of my head in public.

I feel the need to get ranty today because I saw one of the worst mothers ever at work today.  While she didn't threaten to kill her child like another mom I saw, she just lost it.  Her cute little daughter was being naughty by banging on one of the drums we have at work.  I went to the child and was like, "don't bang on that, Sweetie."  The instant the mom hears me, she runs up and grabs the child, saying something like, "I told you not to do that!"  She then proceeds to yell at the child and go on a long tirade about acting right while the little girl cries and says, "I wanna get down!"

Seriously.  That is not how you talk to a child.  Would yelling work if you made a mistake?  No?  Then don't use it on a child. 

But what should be obvious from my story is that the mom was embarrassed.  She didn't want to be known as a bad parent.  Ironically, her defensive behavior is what caused me to call her a bad parent.  Children are grabby by nature because they don't understand personal property.  I don't think someone is a bad parent because their child is acting like a child.  That's normal, unless the child is around ten and really is old enough to know better (kids can't read your dang mind!). 

However, grabbing a child and yelling at her is the exact way you'll get me to think you're a bad parent.  Surely the bad mothers must realize they look stupid when they yell.  Honestly, it doesn't work and moms look bad when they do it.  So why do they constantly persist in overreacting?

Another time, back when I worked at a cafe, a little child grabbed some lollipops after his mom told him not to.  I saw him and told him to leave them alone, but I really should have prefaced this with "Mommy said".  Unlike the first mother I mentioned, this second one merely pulled the child away and said little.  However, she did call my manager and tell her that I was yelling at her child and that I'm a bad worker.

First of all, I'm a former nursery worker.  I don't yell at children.  Secondly, I'm trying to help YOU out, mothers, when I reinforce what you tell your kids.  Third, I'm responsible for my cafe, and if a kid is messing it up, I'm going to stop them.  I won't hurt them or yell at them, and I won't touch them unless I have to pull their hand from something.  Sure, parents won't know that right off, but it should be a given that employees are responsible for their jobs.  Do you really expect me to just stand there and let your little kid tear up my candies until you notice them?  Do you really want to pay for all that opened candy?

So let's go over a few takeaways here.

1. Don't take it personally when your kid does something rude or insensible.  Children push boundaries by nature, and when they get grabby, all you have to do is let them know this is wrong.  If you don't care about looking bad in public, your child won't care about you looking bad in public either and rebel against you without concern.

2. Children learn by example.  If their parents freak out easily, they'll freak out easily.

3. When children do something that embarrasses you, don't let it.  Okay, so the little child was banging on the drum when she really shouldn't have.  Should the parent feel bad?  No.  The child should feel bad.  Not horribly bad, but just bad enough to realize banging on a drum that doesn't belong to you is rude.  Don't be emotional about it, just let the child know she was in the wrong.  If you yell, your kid will just assume you're a crazy person and continue to rebel.

4. It is okay for other authorities to speak to your child.  If someone says a child was behaving improperly, don't assume that your child is a perfect little angel and the person in question is a jerk for trying to rationally tell your child he is behaving improperly.  Other people can tell you things to help you with your kid, and if you think you're the only one who can tell your child anything, well, then your child is probably going to be hell on wheels to his teachers because he know you'll always take his side.

5. Always remember: you are not a bad parent if your child is less than perfect.  You are a bad parent if your embarrassment turns to anger.  If you feel yourself starting to get mad, calm down and say very little.  I know it's embarrassing when people tell your kid not to do something, but don't feel the need to control your little one to the point where you can't stand them doing the slightest thing wrong. 

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