Parent Coach Tips: Parenting In Public
It happened again. I’m at a bagel joint minding my own business when the 2 year old at the next table hauls off and whacks mom in the face. I get that sinking feeling that I get when I know I’m about to watch 1) a woman go parental 2)a child be stripped of all dignity 3) I get a front row seat. Let the inner moan begin…
But wait, what’s that I see? Did Mom just say firmly, yet quietly, You Do Not Hit! as she moved the wee one away from her to the next seat and effectively stopped being a target? Yes! And when the toddler puts on her best face of horror and begins the crying that fully involves her bottom lip, am I mistaken that mom is unmoved and turns her attention to the other people, talking with them until the girl quiets down? No I am not! I am enthralled…
What I am witnessing is impeccable parenting, technically sound reactions and skill building lessons that this child (and her new baby brother) will benefit from for their lifetime and beyond. Hurrah! But wait there’s more…now mom turns her attention back to her calm child and asks if she is done. With a meek yes, she is scooped back up to an embrace and the loving interactions continue as if nothing happened. It was nothing short of breathtaking.
How many times have we seen nails-on-chalkboard parenting in public that has us warring inside between speaking up, getting involved and butting out? People ask all the time what to do. Emotionally, you want to respond but it may make things worse for the child later. Responsibily, you are compelled to act, yet it seems you are passing judgement if you do. Practically, it is not appropriate to offer unsolicited advice or redirect a struggling parent. In the case of extreme violence, you know what to do. If someone’s parenting style doesn’t gel with yours, the line is more blurred.
Here’s what I suggest; look for, seek out, encourage and notice the parenting marvels around you. When you see something done well, go out of your way to let them know you noticed. I went over to the table, complimented the baby, asked the sister’s name, then looked into that mom’s eyes and told her the way she handled her child just now, was just… beautiful. We both teared up in the moment.
Teacher use praise to motivate behavior we want to see more of, but it must be specific, not Good Job. In sharing exactly what was so impressive, she got valuable feedback. Find the parents like her, tell them how happy you are they are rocking it. It feels awesome!
Entry filed under: "Good" Parenting Skills, Parent Coaching Tips. Tags: child, children, crying, families, family, kid, kids, parent, parent advice, parent child, parent help, parenting, parenting skills, power struggles.