It should not be a rarity when your child is well-behaved in public. Yep-I said it. For some unknown reason, we’re all terrified to call attention to this growing problem. Children act like crazies lately, and parents just stand by, cooing and complimenting them on their “individuality.” Why are you, as parents, so afraid to teach your children to behave well in public? I worked retail at a major clothing company for about three years, travel quite a bit, and, as I mentioned previously, teach high schoolers, and I am constantly appalled at the things children do that are completely acceptable to their parents. Letting them run wild, scream and yell, throw things, exhibit disrespect not only to their parents, but to others that happen to be in their way is not acceptable behavior. End of story.
As a teacher, I am also especially taken aback by parents who attempt to assume responsibility or shift blame for each and every one of their childrens’ missteps. These students, who are a mere four years (at most) from migrating away from their parents’ homes and either onto college or into the workplace, are disturbingly used to having their parents fight their battles for them. More and more news stories are surfacing that feature parents overstepping their bounds in several different venues, and it’s scary to me. When will this generation, who is so used to having someone else pick up their slack, rise to solve their own problems?
Let your kids falter. Let them make mistakes and then have to figure out a way to clean them up. Let them experience the consequences of their choices. Let them play, and get dirty, and fall, and then get back up. Most importantly, teach them how to act. Be a good example for your kids.
I want to say one important thing about a recent hot button topic: bullying. Parents—most children don’t instinctively know how to bully others. They have to learn somewhere, and you are the ones they look up to the most. Yelling at people, threatening, being rude or aggressive to others, trying to work the system—your kids see all this and internalize it. Give them a good example and they will, most likely, follow suit.