Parenting is difficult at any time, but parenting in public or in front of a critical audience could be especially difficult.
Not only do we need to be extra inventive in order to assist our child to adapt in a way that does not infringe on the rights of others, but we also need to be extra patient.
We get a feeling that the audience is judging us as horrible parents. It doesn’t matter if we’re seen as Permissive and Spoiling by our grandparents or as Lazy or Mean by grocery cashiers. Our child would not be acting up in the first place if we were excellent parents. Right?
Would being a more authoritarian parent make your child behave better in public? Maybe. However, we know that this parenting style does not promote healthy growth and that it only lasts as long as you have physical control over your child.
Of course, whether it’s leaping on Grandma’s sofa or racing through a restaurant, you must set limits with your child. You may, however, set boundaries without resorting to punishment.
Why not assist your child to become the sort of person who knows what behavior is proper and wants to behave that way instead of scaring them with repercussions if they don’t behave?
See also: 17 Positive Discipline Tools You Need
Tips For Parenting In Public
Meet the Basic Needs
Prepare ahead of time. Take a tired, hungry child somewhere else. Even if you’re going to dinner, expect your child to be hungry before the meal arrives and pack snacks. If you’re shopping at the grocery store, start with the items you’ll let her to consume and pick something for her to munch on as you shop.
Allow your child to run about and roughhouse outside for a few minutes before entering Grandma’s house, and pour your love into him as he laughs. Even when he’s overstimulated by all the family, the closer he feels to you, the calmer he’ll be.
Prepare Before Hand
Even a newborn should be able to understand what is going to happen. Describe what you’ll do and any behavioral expectations you have for your child.
“We clasp hands and recite a blessing like this at Grandma’s. Only the one who is giving the blessing speaks during the blessing. The rest of us will remain silent and attentive.”
Let Your Child Know How They Can Help
Describe the issue to your child and discuss what sorts of contributions might be beneficial.
“The servers at the restaurant are running about balancing meals. How can we assist them in doing a good job while avoiding spilling things?”
Practice hellos and goodbyes while you talk about visiting relatives or friends so your child is more comfortable with those often-confusing greetings.
When kids “act out” in public or when visiting relatives, it’s usually because they think we’re paying attention to something else. That makes them feel insecure, so they act out in order to receive confirmation that we’re still paying attention to them. For example, if you want to relax on an aircraft journey, you may anticipate your child to need to engage with you frequently. The more we can connect with a child, the less likely he is to act out.
Involve The Child
It’s simply not developmentally appropriate for a small child to sit quietly in the hardware store while you shop. His work description includes hands-on exploration to learn about the world. So, when you can, let him touch you and ask him questions:
“Take a look at the various screw sizes… What might this little screw possibly be useful for?”
Allow him to assist you in locating and testing the screwdriver you want, as well as paying the cashier. This will always take longer than dragging him along, but you’ll end up with a happier — and more intellectually interested — child at the end of the errand.
Notice The Restlessness
Most of us become more agitated and want to move more quickly. “We’re almost done shopping… please wait a few minutes,” we say.
A young child, on the other hand, is incapable of doing so. She requires your assistance in regaining her equilibrium so that she does not collapse. Instead of speeding up, begin by calming down and inhaling deeply.
Then take a moment to reconnect with her by hugging her, making eye contact with her, singing gently to her, or twirling her around. That could be enough to change your children’s mood and allow you enough time to finish your errand while both of you are happy!
“You want to leave! Since you’ve been sitting in the car, let’s go back outside the store for a few minutes to run. Let’s walk THIS way when we get back into the store!”
To make your child laugh, exaggerate your goofy, sluggish stroll. Laughter relieves anxiety and boosts one’s mood.
A kid is more likely to be able to relax once she feels acknowledged and understood.
“You appear to be rather mad… What exactly is going on? … So you’re annoyed because someone said…. This is a difficult situation…. You desire X, but your cousin desires Y…. I’m not sure how we’re going to fix this, what do you think?”
When your kid cries out, “But I WANT the candy, I NEED it!” you must acknowledge her need. But it doesn’t imply you should buy it every time unless you want to. Instead, you empathize with her and guide her desire toward a meal that you approve of her eating. She may screech the first four times or maybe have a good weep, forcing you to leave the store. She’ll eventually figure out that you don’t buy the sweets, but rather any fruit she wants.
However, an aeroplane, or any scenario in which you are unable to escape, is clearly not the moment to allow her to weep. So forget about long-term growth (which is why you should avoid circumstances like flights and restaurants in the early years) and opt for diversion. Empathize with her if she wants to get up and run during takeoff:
“You want up! It’s hard to wait.”
Tell her when she can obtain what she wants: “You may get up as soon as the plane is in the air!”
Tell her what she can accomplish with her impulsive behavior: “Your body is itching to move! Is it possible for you to wriggle in your seat like this?”
Involve her in the proceedings: “Look! We’re about to take off! The plane is about to take off!”
Then divert your attention. Take out a little treat, a tiny wrapped book, or a toy you brought specifically for this occasion “Look, a pleasant surprise! What’s in it, exactly?”
Get To A Private Place
It’s hard to attend to your child while simultaneously doing your shopping if he has a meltdown. Simply pick him up and take him out of the situation. Maybe you can go back to your car or to a quiet corner of the mall where you won’t bother anyone. Also, you won’t be tempted to parent the way others think you should, allowing you to trust your own parenting instincts.
Empathize with his distress, as you always should:
“You want to run around the aisles, but you must remain in the cart. I know staying in the cart is difficult, but you can do it. Let us make it enjoyable for you.”
Children are generally calmed when they feel understood. Hold him and console him when he’s finished weeping. If he’s still awake, consider if the two of you are willing to try again, and if so, how you can make it work for both of you.
“Perhaps for the remaining portion of shopping, you might stroll beside me and assist me in finding items, then return to your seat in the cart at the checkout.”
It is natural for children to behave in a childlike manner. There’s nothing wrong with your children’s needs colliding with the family’s need for food. The only way to avoid humiliation is to react to the conflict by being the parent you don’t want to be. Stop, take a deep breath, and shift gears if you see this occurring. Use a mantra, such as
“This isn’t a life or death situation…. She’s behaving as if she’s a child because she is… She requires my assistance in order to cope.”
Responding To Comments
You can usually ignore other people and just transfer your child to a less visible location. However, every now and then, a store clerk or your mother-in-law would try to divert your child.
So it’s great to be prepared with a typical response that convinces that person that, despite your crying child, it’s not an emergency and that you don’t require their assistance in any way. “He’ll be OK… We just need some alone time,” she said.
Your Child Is First Priority
When your child is crying on a plane and all eyes are on you, it’s normal to want to control her to keep her quiet, even if that’s not your typical method. Yes, the other passengers on the plane have a right to a flight free of your little devil.
Focusing on them, on the other hand, will just increase your anxiety and impair your capacity to aid your child. She’ll undoubtedly remain screaming until you help her with whatever problem is causing her to cry, so it’s best to disregard everything except keeping calm and bonding with your child. The fact is that the other people are more concerned with enjoying a calm trip than with passing judgement on you.