Last week I was on a flight to DFW and had the unfortunate experience of a young child sitting behind me. I don’t blame the kid, after all kids are kids. All Id and no sense. No, it’s the dad that was the problem.
He spent so much time and energy trying to entertain his child that he was far more annoying than the kid.
People are animals. If you can’t accept that fact then you will not be able to raise a well behaved child.
Just like you take a dog to obedience school, children need to be trained from the earliest days to behave themselves in public. A well trained dog is a happy dog, and a well behaved kid is far happier than a spoiled “free range child”. A well trained dog is happier because they get to be around their pack (You) more and they get to be out in the world more often. An untrained dog (We have several, I make no claims to be perfect.) stays in the back yard and isn’t trusted to be out in the world. By training your child to behave you’re not crushing their spirit, but rather expanding their opportunities to interact in the real world.
From the moment Monkey was born we started teaching her how to behave. She was out in public, meeting people and going to restaurants, going to parties and having fun. The key was what I call the “death penalty”. The moment she started misbehaving, crying or acting up, we instantly quit whatever we were doing and went home. Monkey alway liked meeting people and going places, and the death penalty was a very effective operant conditioning tool. At home we gave her more leeway to act up and blow off steam, but in public we didn’t allow any misbehavior. Now, she’s six and gets complemented frequently on how well she behaves in public. (Children, like adults, love to be complemented. Another great reinforcement tool.) It takes discipline on the parent’s part, but like a well trained dog, a well behaved child is a joy to be around and, like the dog, much happier.