Oh Behave.

It always astonishes me to watch how people parent.  I like to think that I’m a fairly good father.  My wife does a pretty darn good job in her role as mother also.  We don’t spoil our children with buying stuff while we are out shopping.  Nor do we shut them up with electronic devices in public.  We also don’t brush them off when they are talking to us, but rather engage them in conversation.  We don’t condone interrupting when some else is talking, but rather wait for their turn to speak.  On top of it all, they each have chores to help out around the house without expecting an allowance.  

We also discipline them if needed- this can vary depending on the situation.  We have grounded them, put them in a corner, even cancelled play dates.  Last year our daughter lied about doing her schoolwork and even though she passed the class, we still put her in summer school to teach her that laziness has consequences.  Parenting sometimes means tough love and sticking to the punishment you enforce.

The other day, I was watching a very pregnant woman while she was dealing her two daughters at Costco, both of whom were under the age of three.  She sat them at a table for lunch and proceeded to cut the food for them.  The entire time, her girls sat quietly and politely.  They used manners and didn’t squirm or fuss.  The pregnant mother didn’t look worn out or stressed.  I got up from my table to leave and I walked over to her to tell her how her girls are beautiful and well behaved.  She looked up at me and smiled thanking me.  

I love seeing good parenting out in the wild.  I think more parents need to be complimented for a job well done.  As a society oftentimes we take for granted a well behaved child.  It is easier to point out the mistakes and errors of parents in public than to acknowledge a child’s good behavior.  

When I was a manager at Chuck E. Cheese’s I saw a multitude of parenting styles and children’s behavior.  Some good, some bad.  It was hard to tell if these children always behaved in a certain way, or it was the atmosphere of the restaurant that influenced them.  I used what I say and experienced in how I would raise our children at home.

When I brought my children there, they always used manners and respected other people.  Sure, they got to go to The Chuck’s a couple times per week, but they were always well behaved.  After leaving that job, my children never asked to go back- they were as done with the place as I was.

Being a good parent takes patience.  Next time you see a parent with a well behaved child, let them know that they’re doing a good job.  The joy of parenting can start with a compliment from a complete stranger.