Before I had children, I would often see mothers frantically trying to get control of their children with panic and some times shouting. This is not an attractive look on anyone, and so I resolved that once I was a mother, I would keep calm in every public situation, even when my child was misbehaving. Moms whom I saw keeping their cool looked more gentle, loving, and like they had more control despite whatever tantrum their child was throwing.
Now that I am a parent, I realize this is much more difficult to achieve than I once thought. However, the times when I do snap and lose my temper are the times that emphasize how much more effective staying calm is. You see, I made my pre-mom decision to “stay calm” mostly out of vanity… I didn’t want to appear frazzled or out of control in church, the supermarket, or the doctor’s office. What I’ve learned though, is that is just as important for me to keep calm behind closed doors as it is out in public.
I think some times we [parents] freak out when our child misbehaves because we believe others will see it as a poor reflection of our parenting. While that may or may not be true, responding in anger or frantically trying to spank your child so they “snap out of it” usually only intensifies any inkling of you being a less than adequate parent. I’m not saying there’s any truth to that assumption, all I know is I’m quicker to applaud the parent who keeps calm then the one who snaps [myself included]. After all, our children are their own persons. What they do doesn’t always reflect some one’s parenting style or home situation. The fact is, some times kids are naughty. Some times kids push boundaries. Some times, they do it in public so that they have an entire audience. The best way to remind people of these truths is to keep your cool, smile and nod, and some times [if necessary] throw in a vague comment like “Yeah, she’s at that age.. you know how it is!” and act like everything is completely normal…. Because the reality is, everything IS completely normal.