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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Parent vs Friend

To the people who sat behind us at the movie tonight:

I did not plunk down $25 to sit in a theatre and listen to your child loudly repeat the lines from the movie. Nor did my son appreciate continuously having his seat shook fiercely by your child. It was to the point where he actually asked to go home. This is a boy who had been dying to see Marly and Me. He had been asking since the day it came out to see it and he was so annoyed by your undisciplined child that he actually said to me, "Let's just go home!"

Why is that people feel they have the right to act however they please in public no matter what the effect is on or for other people around them? I can't tell you how many times I heard the mother say to the little boy, "That's it! I'm going to take you out of here!" and "We're leaving!" Yet not once did she actually remove the unruly child from the theatre. And as for the father - well I sure hope he enjoyed the movie! He sure was focused on it. He completely ignored the child and his inapproriate behavior, not to mention the dirty looks being shot his way! Not once did he do one thing to discipline or even attempt to stop his son's unruly behavior. Even when the boy climbed over the back of my son's chair (more than once I might add). It was to the point I was afraid he was actually going to fall on my son's head!

Here's a parenting tip for you mom and dad: if your child acts up in public you have an obligation to those around you to do something about it. That might even mean removing the child from the movie, restaurant, sporting event, etc. Yes, I know you paid good money to get into that event but so did the rest of us there. We did not pay to sit through your child's poor behavior. Sometimes part of parenting means you don't get to do what you want to do. Sometimes it means you miss out on things. And sometimes it even means you lose money on things. Sorry that's the breaks. If you don't like it then maybe you should not have had kids.

Sometimes following through on what you say you are going to do will make you unpopular with your child. It might even make them unhappy. However, following through on things will show and teach your child that you mean what you say and that poor behavior has consequences. You are the parent not a friend. It isn't your job to make sure that your child is happy at all times. In fact if that is what you are trying to do then you aren't doing a good job of parenting - you would actually be doing a crappy job of it. As a parent, it is your job to make sure that your child grows up knowing how to act appropriately in different situations and how to make good choices. If you just let them do whatever makes them happy you are truly doing your child a disservice and setting them up for failures and hardships later on in their lives.

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