How We React To Our Kids in Public ?- Give Them a Break!
The other day I was visiting a preschool and talking with a parent whose adorable six-year-old was wearing a pirate mask and carrying a play sword. He came up to me to me and said, “I’m scaring you!” I said “Oh-h-h. I’m so scared!” He smiled appreciably. Immediately the mother apologized for her son’s rude behavior. I commented, “Oh. He’s adorable. And so scary, too!” She grinned, her embarrassment turning into laughter and confidence.
Why do parents expect their kids to behave like adults when they are in the presence of other adults? It makes no sense. Kids are supposed to be playing and expecting to delight people. This gives them confidence and is developmentally on target. Why expect anything else?
Sometimes parents are so self-doubting that they give their children the wrong messages. It’s as if they’re saying to their kids, “Stop acting like a child!” Why would they do that? Are parents confused about what other parents think of them? Is the parent world so competitive that each mother is trying to outdo the other in their child’s phony politeness? How boring and sad!
Remember the saying, “Kids Do the Darnedest Things!” Well, they do and we should allow it and appreciate the joy they bring to those around them.
After all this was a preschool. In a beautiful play space another child was building a fortress with wooden and plastic blocks. He filled it with superhero figures and green and gray plastic soldiers. They were having a grand time fighting with winners and losers.
How wonderful the child could play out his aggressive fantasies with toys instead of with other kids. Then, a mother did it again. As I watched, she apologized for his playing war. I said, “He’s playing. It’s make-believe. He knew it was pretend. It was as if she had forgotten.