31 Days with Mama A: Please teach your child how to properly behave in public (Day 13).
Darlings, it's about to get real up in here.
I'm one of those lucky people. I am constantly around children--some that belong to me and some that are on loan to me during school hours.
Let's be clear: I adore little kids, I adore the funny things they say, and I love the funny faces they can make. They make me smile, they make me laugh, and sometimes they are so sweet they make me swoon.
And then. . .sometimes they aren't so sweet and swoony.
Sometimes I see children who I desperately want to rescue from the adults entrusted with their care. I see children who act like complete and total animals and their adults should know better! These kids have not been given boundaries nor consequences. They have no concept of patience and they have no clue how to perform basic skills.
I used to think that it was just a particular group of children (in the schools we call them "that bunch/crew" and we just survive "that bunch/crew" until they age out of our building. And then we rejoice.) But apparently this epidemic is spreading rapidly through the children all over the place. I see them in the malls, the movies, the parks, the church, the schools, the library, and always in the Wal-mart.
It's just embarrassing.
Now, let me be completely be transparent and say that my personal children have had their moments that have shamed me to no end and I've wanted to crawl into a hole and just die from the embarrassment.
I've also had moments in which I've sympathized with the animals who eat their young.
It happens to all of us.
But some children whom I have the pleasure to interact with on the frequent have proven that their "moments" are really just their status quo--and it has got. to. go. Let's identify some of these children:
1. The "Oh."--if your child answers your behavioral correction with a look and only says, "Oh"--lemme translate that for you. It means, "Oh, I totally meant to do said offense and I'm not really sorry. I'm just sorry you caught me. But I'm not going to verbalize nor apologize for the fact that I'm aware and you're aware that I'm aware of the offense, so I'm just gonna say, "Oh."
2. The Circus--we've discussed The Circus at length. It's when your children are all over the store. They are all over the aisles. They are pulling things off of the shelves. They are hiding and playing in the clothes racks. They crawl all over the counters and run through the store.
They give Mama A the absolute heebs.
3. The Tantrum--let me specify--these children are old enough to know better. And by "old enough"--I mean older than about 2 years old. These kids are screaming and crying and throwing a fit in the middle of the store because you won't buy them whatever it is that they want at that moment. They stomp feet, they fall out in the floor, and they will kick it into high gear when they know you are watching.
4. The Punk--this kid has got a mouth and he's only 6 years old. Sometimes these boys have gel in their hair. I'm just keepin' it real, folks. There are some very sweet boys with spiky hair. . . and there are some that are not so sweet. I've just happened to encounter more not-so-sweet ones with spiky hair. I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's because their mamas stand over the sink fixing Junior's hair and tell them how cute they are and it goes to their heads.
5. The Entertainer--this kid only knows how to put on a show. They dance, they strip down and streak through places, and they are oh-so-loud. They like an audience and they will command and/or demand. They do not know how to be quiet ever, and they want to be the center of attention at all times.
6. The Brat--this kid won't eat what you've ordered for them. They get angry if someone else is getting something that they want instead. They sass to their parents with some sort of sick mind games, and 9 times out of 10, the Brat wins the battle. I'm not sure if they are just smarter than the parents, or if they have just worn the parents completely down. Either way, it's just sad.
7. The Godfather--these kids give a whole new meaning to "bossy." They call all the shots in their homes. They decide what the family eats, they decide what they will or won't wear, they decide what things the family is going to do at any given moment of the day. These kids talk down to their parents and treat them like idiots. The adults quickly give into them to avoid their temper or whatever superpower they believe the kids are going to unleash upon them.
8. The Babies--these kids have been catered to their entire lives. They run up to the teacher at any moment during the day to get face time about whatever is on their minds. They cry when they feel slighted and they are not good at sharing attention with others. Their parents treat them like infants--coddling and cuddling until the child is completely unwilling to do anything they don't want to do.
9. The Selfies--these children only care about themselves. They have no empathy for others because they are only focused on what is currently happening to them. They are eager to beat their classmates in any game and always want to be first in line. They are often not good friends because they aren't good at taking turns or sharing toys.
10. The Kid we'd like to take home and train 'em up--these children just need someone to get some sense into them. They need someone to teach them how to function in life like the rest of us. They operate and behave in a way that is insane to most of us. They need someone to love them fiercely and teach them Humanity, Manners, & Basic Life Skills 101. Teachers like to talk about these kids by saying things like, "If he/she were mine. . . "
Now, before anyone gets all cross, please know that Mama A understands that sometimes children have particular reasons for acting the way they do. Perhaps they have a condition, perhaps they are somewhere on the spectrum, or perhaps they have had a rough time in recent months.
And perhaps they have never been instructed on how to properly behave in public.
There are multiple reasons as to why a child has constant meltdowns in public. But as their parent, teacher, or caregiver--you need to anticipate these moments as much as possible, and figure out how to handle them before they arise. For some of you, you might need to give your kid a quick snack or pull a favorite toy out of your bag. For others, you might need to give them a stern look or a quick reminder to get on track. And for some of you, you might just need to walk out of the store and leave the full cart behind. Whatever it is, if you find that your child is constantly out of control, then it is no longer about the child's behavior--there's an issue in regards to how you are handling this behavior.
Adults, you cannot just stand there and constantly look helpless with the kids in your care. You've got to do something--anything, to get your kid under control. Because one day, your kids are going to be too old and it's going to be too late. Besides, you're still young enough and have the energy to handle it.
So let's fix it.
Love and smooches,