Last year, I went with Hubby on an overnight trip several hours away so he could take his boiler's test while the kids stayed with his parents. The evening before his test, we went out to eat at Perkins for supper. The restaurant was pretty much empty, but our server put us at a table right next to a young couple with two small boys about the same ages as our kids.
The boys were well-behaved throughout the meal, but they did have to be told several times to sit back down in their seats instead of standing up to look over the whole restaurant. By the time Hubby and I were finished with our meal (which, sans kids, went much faster than the other couple's meal), I could see that the parents were starting to lose their patience and were getting frustrated with their children.
Now, I'm not the type to just go over and talk to a complete stranger, so Hubby was completely blown away when I stopped at the young couple's table on our way out the door to compliment them on their parenting skills, and tell them how well-behaved their boys were. The couple was surprised too, and I could see a mixture of relief and pride on their faces as they thanked me for the compliment and turned back to their kids with renewed patience.
I've had the same thing happen to me before, and it's always so uplifting and rejuvenating to hear that others think my kids are actually behaving well enough to garner compliments on their behavior. As the parent, I tend to focus more on the bad behavior than the good especially when we're out in public and the pressure to keep them quiet and still is high, and most parents I've met are the same way.
Why do we do that? How discouraging is it for our children to realize that we, as their parents, pay more attention to the one bad thing they did than the five good things?
I've been trying to make more of an effort to remember what good kids I really have even when they're driving me nuts. The compliments I get on my kids' good behavior is an eye opener for me along with watching those Nanny shows (Supernanny or Nanny 911) on tv. Yup, nothing like getting a new appreciation for your kids than watching a professional nanny tackle some of the most out-of-control kids you've ever seen. As a bonus, a lot of times, I get some tips for fine-tuning some behaviors I've seen popping up in my kids lately.
So here it is: my kids are kids. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good most of the time. And me....I'm not perfect either. I yell more than I should, lose my patience easily, and whine sometimes too. So how can I expect them to be perfect all the time?
I think this says it all:
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