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Public Parenting

When do you chose to correct your child’s behavior? This is an interesting question. We are often told a quick consistent response is the key to training children. I am in favor of the quick consistent response as long as you protect their privacy. It would be beneficial for parents to remember that having a QUIET, quick and consistent response can protect a child’s spirit. We need to focus on training disobedience or ignorance without belittling people.

Now that nice weather is upon us, public parenting is striking fear into many parents. I often question the motivation of parents when they share their fear of parenting in public with me. Are you concerned about your child’s behavior or how your family will look to people? Pride can be a huge deterrent to effective parenting. If I am worried about earning the “most together family” award at the local pool or park, my heart might need to change.

We can let pride pull us away from our first responsibility of parenting. Training children to become what God desires them to be is an everyday job. There will be good and bad days. I have seen many parents, including myself, resort to verbal abuse when their kids misbehave in public. This can take a few forms:

  • Attacking a child’s character instead of dealing with their behavior – “You’re a brat!  Why do you have to be a brat!”
  • Shaming your child publicly by yelling across the playground – “Stop being a bully or I’ll come over there!”
  • Disrespecting your child to draw attention away from yourself – “No wonder I’m crazy! Wouldn’t you be if you had him as a kid?”

We do not have to crush spirits in order to maintain obedience in our families. It is helpful to remove ourselves from the public eye to correct and comment on behavior. Think how embarrassing it is to be corrected in front of people. Do we give that same consideration to our children? A quiet kind word of instruction can bring about a quicker change than shining a spotlight on bad behavior. We need to protect our children and give them quiet, quick and consistent correction. It is important to prep them ahead of time to insure good behavior. Talking about expectations and consequences before hand can stop many bad behaviors. Quietly correcting behavior can assure our kids of dignity in an adverse situation. Our children will respect us more if we show them respect.

Books we like: Families Where Grace Is In Place by Jeff VanVonderen

Parenting Tip: Take your children aside and use a quiet voice to correct their behavior instead of yelling instructions across the park or pool. It shows them they are respected and acknowledged as people. This will encourage the same behavior from them. “Beck and Call” is for animals not people in my opinion.