Active parenting – don’t make others responsible for discipline

Anyone who works with the public and thus parents with children in tow, will probably be familiar with the following: “behave otherwise this lady will tell you off”.

I’m sorry, but when did I become responsible for instilling social etiquette into your child?

There are of course parents who don’t even give their children a warning. So when you ask them firmly but nicely to stop doing whatever it is, the parents take great offence!

Children misbehave, it’s a fact of life; if they don’t push the boundaries, how do they know where they are?

I believe in giving children boundaries right from the beginning. Without them, how do we know what is acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour? Everywhere you go in life they exist – at work, in public, at leisure. If we don’t teach children the importance of boundaries, we are doing them a massive disservice as parents.

So, in my shop, if children are misbehaving and the parent is ignoring it, I have no problem stating the boundaries. I do so in a firm but fair voice. Usually the children will stop to look at me and invariably the look on my face means instant agreement. If a parent takes umbridge at my admonishment of their children, well my response is always the same – you are on private premises and I am within my rights to ask you to leave. I can, if necessary, issue a banning notice to anyone, not that I ever have but that option is open to me.

Many activites are harder with children in tow, I know this and no one said parenting was easy. Been there, done that. As much as we want our children to like us and for us to be friends, our role is much deeper and far reaching. Sometimes we have to be the baddie because our role is to teach them the right and wrong in life so that as an adult, they will fit in to society and know how to behave within it. No group of people can live in close proximity without conflict if boundaries do not exist.

So parents, don’t be afraid to be parents; be active not passive in their upbringing. It’s always worth remembering that you are parenting two generations, not just one, so consider how you want your grandchildren to behave.







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