Kids, the center of our universe, our hearts on our sleeves, our little darlings…They enter the enter the world so young, innocent and sweet and almost everything they do is cute.
Then, around the later toddler kids when they start to hang around other kids and pick up certain behaviors that you didn’t teach them, or they say things that you make you ask “who did you hear that from?”
They reach a point around the time that they start school where they start to think that behaving a certain way is cool. They carelessly start to push their limits to see what they can and cannot get away with, and that’s when you have to check em! NOT check them, but “Check em”. You have to put the cute aside, get down to their level and in their face and ask…
I remember seeing kids when I was younger fall out on the ground and lose their minds and think “that won’t be my kid.” Parents responded in one of three ways.
Response #1: some parents pleaded with their child and begged them to get up.
These kids usually kicked, hit, and or yelled at their parents until the parents negotiated terms with the kid to make them get up. The kid would then proceed to behave if the parent did and the parent proceeded to walk on eggshells.
Response #2: some parents would just ignore the kid until the kid realized their parents were ignoring them.
I always felt sorry for these kids and wondered how could a parent just ignore their child like that. But, redemption can be a real B**** because these kids usually tore stuff up when they finally got up off the ground in an escalated attempt to get their parents attention.
And finally, there was Response #3: some parents would grab their child before they even had a chance to get on the ground, get in their face and say something with their teeth clenched.
I like to call this the “Who are you talking to?” method. Children met with this response usually straightened up real quick, held their parent’s hand and didn’t dare to misbehave again unless they wanted to immediately leave the store. By quickly addressing that behavior and making it clear that it was not acceptable, those parents were able to continue their shopping experience without another hiccup.
So, when I recently found myself faced with this situation, I wasn’t surprised by my response. I’ll be honest, when my girls were younger, I tried the first response a few times. But, now that they are older and as a mom of multiples, I have realized how much they learn from each other. That being said, I addressed it with all 3 immediately. We left the store, I placed them in their car seats and proceeded to exercise my right to use Response #3, and they heard me.
They now understand that going to the store is a privilege, not a right, and I can and will leave them at home or in the car with their dad or vice versa if they don’t behave. I realized that if I don’t address this now, my kids could grow up to be teenagers who think it is okay to talk back to and yell at me as if they are the parent and I am the child. Yes, kind words and gestures are best, but we can’t always be our kid’s friends, we have to be parents too and sometimes that means taking a stand, putting your foot down and reminding them that you are the parent!
Raising kids can be fun and stressful, but always worth it. I end every conversation with a hug and “I love you.”
The P.I. Mom