Don’t Be A Helpless Parent! 3 Steps to a well-behaved child; Even when you’re out and about.
Our first baby was already independent by 18 months. I had crazy fears of him running out on a busy street. It was extremely important to me, that he responded to my voice immediately. I wanted him to obey me instantly, because someday, it might save his life. I was determined to not be a helpless parent. It was important to me to work diligently to train him and teach him to listen to my voice and obey, because I loved him and I wanted the best for him. If I taught him to respond to my voice at home, he’d listen to me when we were out and about.
When I travel, I’ll see a helpless parent desperately trying to discipline their children and then give up. What happened to the olden days when children respected their parents? Little ones are acting up in public, teenagers are mouthing back and their parents look nervous, stressed out and then apathetic.
We had a great trip to Europe. In London, unfortunately, the tube was on strike, so we had find our way by catching the overcrowded city buses.
This poor, little old lady got on our bus, and she was obviously struggling to find a place to sit. No one offered her a seat! Finally she asked a woman if her 9 year old kid, would allow her to have his seat. The mom asked the kid if he’d let the lady sit down, but that child just ignored his mom and looked away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a child looking away, because having his mom talk to him wasn’t important to him! The mother looked slightly embarrassed. She said she was sorry but the he didn’t want to. Seriously?!! He didn’t want to? ‘Who’s in charge there?’
After a few minutes, she must have felt everyone’s eyes boring into her back as the old lady was almost falling down. She got her courage up and asked her kid again if he’d get up and let the lady sit down. The kid said he was tired! The mother said she was sorry; there was nothing she could do about it, because he was tired. That kid looked fine to me! Finally, for some unknown reason, the kid got up and allowed the lady to have his seat. We all breathed a sigh of relief. That mother was helpless and she had lost the respect of everyone there.
2. Consistently uphold the standards that you expect from them.
They will test you at home, but they’ll really test you in a public. You could have a super compliant little sweetheart, and the minute you’re in a restaurant, they sense that they can get away with some pranks. They think you won’t be able to do anything about it, right? It is your job is to be consistent. Public or not, they must obey you. You know what’s best for them. The most important thing for you to do, is to deal with a problem immediately. It’s for their sake that you’re training them. Don’t let them down!
Little kids everywhere are being unruly in public and they have a helpless parent. We took a chilly tour bus in Paris. Sitting in the front under the canopy with us, was a Mom, Dad and their 3 children, about 10, 8 and 5 years old.
These little darlings were running all over the bus screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean at the top of their lungs, and non-stop. I think the canopy was magnifying all their racket. Truly, I don’t mind other people’s children when they’re acting up. It’s really none of my business; it’s not my problem. Sometimes I chuckle as I watch a helpless parent. Sometimes I feel great sympathy; like ‘been there, felt that’.
It was getting really unpleasant, and David looked at me and said, ‘If they don’t stop screaming and smashing into me, I’m going to say something’. It was like a millisecond after he said it, that and he turned and hollered at them to sit down and be quiet. Normally I would have been absolutely mortified that he yelled at someone else’s kids, but he startled me so much, that I started to giggle. That poor father just rolled his eyes and looked away, like a typical helpless parent. Their mother started nodding and agreeing that they should sit still and that it was a good idea. The children were so surprised that a big stranger yelled at them, they instantly obeyed and became still and very quiet.
We fly all the way across the sea, only to find that parents in Europe had the same problems as parents in America. Children are unruly, disrespectful and they have terribly helpless parents.
(A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone – Billy Graham)
Why are parents so helpless these days? Are they uneducated or untrained? Do they lack the skills to handle their children? Are they afraid of confrontation in public? Don’t they actually care about the way their children behave?
I don’t believe for a minute that any of that is true. Parents really do care. I mean I care, and I know you care, so what’s the problem? Why are 6 and 7 year old children so blatantly disrespectful of their own parents and other adults?
When I had babies, I was untrained, too, but I was determined to do my best to care for them. I felt the weight of responsibility more and more every day. Their little lives are in your hands, and that gets you real serious. Caring for them became more than feeding, changing, hugging and kissing.
I teach my babies to learn important life skills. It is my job to raise them to become successful adults. As much as I love them, they’re not my little pets, and I need to teach them and train them about what’s right, even if they don’t like me for it.
3. Say what you say; Mean what you say. This is my motto.
Mommy’s can talk a lot; too much. Don’t babble on about what your little one is supposed to do and why they should do it and what’s going to happen to them if they do and what’s going to happen if they don’t….yadayada! You know what I mean. I’ve gone on and on myself, only to realize they’d tuned me out 10 minutes ago.
Tell them what you expect them to do, and then, expect them to do it! Let them make the choice to obey. Give them the consequence if they don’t obey, or the reward or praise if they do. Children need secure, clear boundaries and they are looking to us moms and dads to give them that security.
We moms get really tired and burned out. A lot of us moms didn’t have someone who was a great example. Some of us don’t have mentors to guide us in training our children. I can’t brag about any of my successes. I was blessed by the consistent training I received from my own mom. Trust me, she was not a helpless parent. She was a strong mom who was determined to equip us for success in life. I was also blessed by a mom in law who was a successful mom as well who only gave me encouragement, not excuses.
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P.S. I’d love to get your opinions. Are we becoming helpless as parents? Do we know what to do with our babies and how to do it?