“I’m stuck in the van with my toddler. We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because mom wouldn’t let her throw chicken strips. So she screamed, and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin.
I carried her past the bar and everyone stared at me, most of them childless, I assumed. No one with children would give me that straight faced, lip twisted, look that seems to say, ‘if you can’t control your kid, then don’t go out.’
Well… no. I can’t control her.
Not all the time.
She’s two and it’s going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public, and the only way I am ever going to teach that is to take her out and show her what’s right and wrong. By saying no a million times, letting her throw a fit, and telling her no again.
These lessons take patience, hard work, and real world experiences, and I’m sorry to those at the bar who got irritated by my child’s fit, but you are part of this practice. Your parents did the same with you, and that’s how you now know how to recognize when a child does something irritating in a restaurant. It’s how you learned to look at a situation and say, ‘That parent needs to control their kids.’
It’s how you learned to be a respectable person.
I get it. Kids are irritating when they are loud in a restaurant. I know. I’m living it. But before you get angry and judgmental, realize that what you are witnessing is not bad parenting, but rather, parents working hard to fix the situation.
You are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person.”
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