Friday, April 9, 2010

Its not your kid...its you!

I sat at a restaurant with my 4 kids the other day.  (Oh wait...let me qualify that so stalkers don't get their panties in a 3 step kids who I care for 24/7/365 and my son.  3+1=4 whatever.)

So I sat at a restaurant the other day waiting for my husband and my parents to join us; and this lady I didn't know came up to me and told me "Your children are SO well behaved!  I am just so impressed!  Such wonderful young ladies, and such a precious little gentleman!"
I get that alot.  It was actually the 3rd time since Sunday morning, that I have been told that.  As always I beemed and said thank you, and the girls also said thank you (without prompting).  I know how well behaved they are.  But I rarely think about it much.  I'm always a little caught off guard when someone compliments them or us.  I often think 'What?  Did you expect them to dance on the tables and knock over waitresses?'

They're little angels!  I love this pic and totally can see their faces sitting there, praying and playing with bunnies...well, most of the time!

About that time, in walked a young couple.  Probably mid to late 20s, with a little girl, probably around 4.  They sat down and ordered drinks.  They ordered a milk for the little girl who INSTANTLY went into a fit, screaming "I HATE MILK!!!" and get this...POUNDING on the table with her fists!  POUNDING!  I don't honestly know who had a bigger look of shock on their face, the waitress, me or my kids!  The mother immediately said "Ok, Ok sweety!  You don't have to have milk.  What do you want?"

I turned around and went back to what I was doing.  Not another 5 minutes later we hear the father, "Knock it off!  I said...Knock it OFF!"  I looked over my shoulder and saw the little girl laying down on the booth next to her dad and KICKING HIM!  KICKING HIM!! K I C K I N G   H I M!!!  He said knock it off a few times and then went back to his Homes & Lands magazine & margarita and let her continue doing it while he pretended to ignore her.

I shook my head and turned back around again.  My 5 yr old (ever the voice of reason and rarely quiet about her opinions) says "What is wrong with that dad?  He should make that kid behave!"

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  The 5 year old called it!  I often used to say that kids who behaved like that were the reason I wanted my tubes tied.  When I became a stepmom to 3 kids, I had no idea what all was involved in cat had been easy to raise!
My kids are phenomenally behaved...but that wasn't always the case.  It takes a team effort to raise kids the right way; to be respectful of people and things, to be polite, to act appropriately for different types of social situations.  There was no team in the case of my step kids.  There were divided fronts.  Its hard to teach kids to behave when they hear "At mommy's house, there are no rules like at daddy's" or "You don't have to listen to stepmom, she's not your real parent".

It took time and space and patients and a kick ass counselor and a few awesome parenting books to get to where we are now.  But I do have to look at parents like the ones engrossed in their cocktails and failing miserably at not only parenting and teaching thier child how to behave but also failing miserably at making the child feel loved and appreciated because they're ignoring her; and wonder what the hell they're thinking!!

It's not the kids.  Well...I mean it IS the kids but it's not the kids' fault completely.  Parents need to step up and take control again. What happened to pleases and thank yous and sitting like a lady and asking the waitress nicely for more juice rather than just announcing that yours is empty?  Its an embarrassing statement about our generation.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Bravo! You and your husband are obviously working very hard and doing a wonderful job raising lovely, well-behaved children. While I do not have children of my own I often get together with friends who do and go out places with them and their kids. I have been at both types of tables you described - a table like yours where the children sit quietly and behave like angles, coloring on their activity sheets and participating in an age appropriate conversations. What a joy those dinners are! I have also been at a table where the kids yell, throw things, dance in the booth, crawl under the table and pretty much do what they please. It is embarrassing, and what is worse - the parents don't seem to mind. When people look at them, they just say well kids will be kids, what do you expect? I am not saying that these types of parents are bad people; they are just not doing a great job parenting which only hurts the kids in the long run. Your children are very lucky to have you and your husband as their loving parents!!