Obviously with the holidays around the corner and with the run up to Christmas your days and nights will be filled with parties and family gatherings. After Christmas as well the festivities continue till the New Year is rung in! As much as I look forward to enjoying the festivities with my friends and relatives, I also feel a little anxious about my children and their behaviour in large gatherings. On a normal given day, at home without any outsider in sight, they are models of perfect behaviour. Other than the occasional disagreement between the older two, they go about their business leaving my house in perfect harmony. Now take the same children and put them in a public setting, their behaviour takes a nosedive. Their table manners are forgotten, they will talk back and argue every request we ask of them. The older two will start a major argument, the younger one will whine and complain about something whilst being glued to my leg. I look around in bafflement and embarrassment are these my children? I find it extremely difficult when my relatives come to visit and are faced with unruly children, I can just see them thinking does she ever discipline them, can’t blame the children must be the mother’s fault is what is definitely going through their minds and I feel extremely inadequate as a parent.
Since I am in a public setting the children also know that I can’t give a good ‘mum shout’ and set them straight. It can be sometimes a power trip on their part. But I have been known to give them the scary quiet whisper which immediately quietens the whiny child or give my ‘eye-boggling mum’ look which stops any child in mid-motion. The scary threat of ‘wait till we get home’ also does work, but the children put me through hell before we actually get home. I always envy those ‘other’ people’s children who speak politely when they are spoken to, are gracious in their manners, eat all their food, behave superbly and don’t throw tantrums when we say we are leaving. Why can’t my children be like that I ask?
So as another Christmas approaches and the parties are planned I hope and pray that this year my children will do me proud. All failing which here are what the experts say on what you need to do to stop the kids misbehaving during these holidays.
1. The holiday season brings forth numerous parties, sometimes you are over-booked. Be wary of taking your child to every party you are invited especially the ones at night. Tired and grumpy kids will definitely result in misbehaved children. If possible, get childcare and leave them at home. You will definitely enjoy yourself more and the kids will have had a goodnights rest and be easier to deal with the next day.
2. If there is certain behaviour that is expected from your children, for e.g proper table manners, no rudeness etc, start with the emphasis that they display such behaviour at home first. Do not say when you go out have good manners and let their behaviour slide at home. If children learn good behaviour they will display it both at home and out.
3. Before going out for a public gathering remind your children of the behaviour that is expected of them. I know this is easier said than done. But it is best to keep following through with this until it gets home to them. If they display extremely bad behaviour then you can dole out suitable punishments accordingly, for they will know the consequences why.
4. Show the respect that you expect from them. We are always demanding respect from our children, for example use manners, don’t interrupt people. But have we stopped and analyzed whether we give them the due respect. If my husband and I are having a conversation, I know I talk over my children, I realized that and I am trying to stop myself from doing it, for it displays bad behaviour that I do not want my children to emulate. Even though they are children they are people too.
5. When at an event, be mindful of how much sugar and other calorific delights your children might indulge in. I usually restrict sugary fizzy drinks at home and when my children go out, I know my son will ingest his weight in fizzy drinks if I do not put a stop to it. This of course will result in sugar induced erratic behaviour which is often followed by mood swings as they go through sugar withdrawal, all in all it is not a pretty picture for any parent to deal with and especially in a public setting.
Some of this advice might already be steps you are taking to control your children, so keep at it for if you have disruptive kids like me you will have your ‘hallelujah’ moment when someone says how well-behaved your children are, I hope it happens this holiday season for you. Merry Chistmas and happy holidays to one and all!