Random Parenting Tips or What I Do While at Chick-Fil-A

October 6, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Wellpst, I’m hanging out in my office away from office (Chick-Fil-A) on Monday morning, and there is a family with a little girl, probably around 3.  She was uber-cute, but let’s say she was active(?), no that’s not it, loud(?), nope that’s not it, hmmm, belligerent, defiant, uh you get the point.


1) I judge no one or their parenting, I mean no one based on an incident in public.  We’ve all been there.

2) I also will not judge based on what your 2 or 3 year old does.  We’ve all been there too.  If you haven’t yet, please don’t ever look at a 2 yr old acting like Taz and say to someone, “My child will never…”  Seriously, it just keeps you from eating one more set of words.

3) There is no verse to go along with this post.  Maybe there is a verse in Proverbs I could use to justify some of this.  More than anything these are just some thoughts I have on parenting.  Since I’m the only one who has the password to post stuff on here, I write the stuff.

Anywho, this little girl, again that is very cute, is not maintaing good public decorum.  Her mom then says, “You are in big trouble, when we get home.”  Not good.  Maybe for a 10 year old.  In an hour, that kid is not going to remember at all the infamous “flinging of the chicken nuggets” or “screaming of the banshee.”  She will have moved on. There will be no connection in her mind.  Punish her then or just don’t.  If you feel like you can’t, because of where you are, then forget it.  The punishment at home will make you feel better, relieve some tension and anger (not good motivators for discipline FYI), but it will not change behavior.

Simyalarly, if the kid is acting out in public, you need to take some action.  You do not want to get into a situation where your child knows that they have the upper hand in public.  They will destroy you with that knowledge.  I know, I know, not your precious angel, but, you know, other kids do that.  Kids that age are trying to determine what the boundaries are, and in their way are trying to figure out who’s in charge.  They want it to be them.  (They are no different than any of us in that way.)  Kids need to know that you are in charge.  They need your help.  They need appropriate boundaries.  Help them by communicating to them in a healthy and firm way that they will hear and get the message.

Right after that, the kid begins running around the table screaming trying to get attention.  Then she starts saying this, “Mommy, I’m talking.”  She said this over and over and over and over with a sarcastic tone that said, “Excuse me, I’m talking.  You are interrupting.  You have to stop and focus only on me.”

Let’s forget for a second the disrespect of a kid interrupting to tell you that you shouldn’t speak when she speaks.  (After you forget, remember and don’t let your kids do that.)  Why is this kid saying that?  Why does a kid lash out like that?  I wonder if she feels like she is ever getting the full attention of her parents.  Many kids that scream, literally or figuratively, “notice me. notice me!” don’t ever feel like they get your full attention.  Ask yourself, does my kid ever get my whole attention, my face, my eyes, my heart?  If she can’t get your attention in healthy ways, expect that your kid will try in unhealthy ways.  “Sweetie, I know you are talking.  Don’t interrupt.  I will talk to you in just a second.”  Then, in just a second, do, in fact, give your undivided attention.

There is kind of a vicious cycle going here.  The kid has no boundaries, so she acts wild.  The parent doesn’t do anything about it and ignores it.  Parents start tuning out the kid.  Now the kid can’t get parents’ attention no matter what she does, and needs to lash out in incredible ways just in the hope of getting some attention.  Sometimes even then, they can’t.  If they do, it’s bad.

Break the cycle.  Give your kids boundaries.  Give them attention.

Give them what they need without giving in.


4 Responses to “Random Parenting Tips or What I Do While at Chick-Fil-A”
  1. Russ says:

    Good post. Boundaries are absolutely necessary and kids will ALWAYS test them. They are trying to find out if we are telling them the truth and determining whether they can trust our word.

    About the judging other parents comment, we actually made this mistake 10 years ago before we were parents. Whenever Sophie has one of her moments, Kristy and I look at each other and say, “I thought Patty was a good mother.”


  2. Megan says:

    You mention “dealing with it right then,” but what does that look like in public? Especially for those young ages that you are talking about?

  3. cloften says:

    Can I just take the coward’s way out and say “it depends?”

    I am mindful of a legendary story of the infamous 2 yr old version of Maylee Loften deciding that in Wal-Mart (Why is it always Wal-Mart?) that mom was not doing things just so and began to pitch an epic fit. (Legendary, infamous, epic. Gives the story some punch doesn’t it?) Heidi, after trying reason, probably a hand-spank, ultimately left a full cart of groceries and took Maylee to the van to “deal with it.”

    I was known from time to time, to swoop a 2 yr old under my arm and go to the car and “deal with it.” I have to stop what I’m doing, perhaps excuse myself, likely embarrass myself (further). It is those times when it is the least convenient that some of the worst fits can come. Either they know it and they are deliberately testing you (my theory) or it is an unfortunate coincidence.

    Whatever your predetermined punishment is for your kids, you need to execute (bad word choice) it right then somehow. I am aware that there are times that circumstances make it where you just can’t. When that’s the case, you can try and talk to them later, but kids that are young will not connect a 2pm punishment with a 10am offense.

  4. Terri says:

    I used to be one of those people who said, “I would never let my kid do that”, etc. Guess what? I now have an autistic daughter who has behaved horribly in public many times. I have felt the judgmental stares and heard rude comments from other people. This was especially true when she was younger. She was a very cute little girl (now a very cute 8 year old!) and looked like any other typical preschool age kid. But when she had a major meltdown, it looked like she was behaving like an undisciplined brat. Her behaviors and meltdown triggers aren’t always predictable. The types of discipline used on typical kids don’t always work. I try to remove her from the situation as quickly as possible, but sometimes I can’t immediately leave (e.g waiting to pay a bill at a restaurant). While I agree that many parents today could use some lessons on how to discipline their children, you never know the entire story of a stranger.

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