Thursday, July 28, 2011

Train up a Child...or raise brats

Have you seen the story about the restaurant in in Pennsylvania that banned children 6 years and under from eating there?
McDains Restaurant in Monroe, PA recently issued a statement to their customers saying-

“We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

This article states that their business went up by 20% when this happened. Other media is calling this a "Brat Ban"

As a parent, how does this hit you?  Do you agree?
I think we have all been in both situations.  We have been in a restaurant with our kids when one of our kids decides this is the time to throw a huge tantrum.  It's embarrassing!
And we have been in a restaurant when other kids are throwing the fits.  This is when I am thinking that I am glad it isn't my kid...because I have been there before.
It really saddens me that restaurants feel the need to do this for two reasons.
1. It is a reflection of the lack of parenting going on.
2. It is a reflection of the worldy view of children as burdens.

When I was young, my parents made it very clear to me how to act in public, especially while eating at a restaurant.  If I threw a fit, there was no way he would take me out for a long time.  WE have tried to do the same with our kids, but it seems to be a lost value taught to children.

In the Washington Post article something was said that I agreed with.

This generation of parents is somehow more self- and kid-centered than previous generations

Ya think?

We need to get back to basics.
1. As the parent, your world should not revolve around your child.  Their world revolves around you.  My kids are extremely important to me.  They know this.  But my day doesn't revolve around them.  If I am meeting a friend for coffee and my daughter wants me to take her to the mall, she waits until I get home (unless I can drop her off on my way). I do not cancel my plans.  If my daughter chooses to get upset then when I get back from seeing my friend, my daughter doesn't go to the mall. 
If my child throws a tantrum in a restaurant or a store, we leave.  We do not make everyone around us endure the screaming & floundering on the floor.  If my child has thrown this fit because they want to leave, we go sit in the car until they are over themselves & then we go back in.  I need to go shopping, I will still go shopping.  And that child will not go with me next time I go.
The same goes for church.  I probably need to write a post on letting your children sit in church with you.  They need to be there with you.  It is so important that our kids see us worship!  They also need to learn how to act while in the service.

2.  Do not let your child interrupt you when you are talking to someone else.  I can tell you how many times I am speaking with a mom, her child walks up and begins the, "Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom" until the mom finally turns and says, "WHAT?".
I have taught my children that if they need to speak to me and I am already speaking to someone else all they have to do is stand beside me, I put my hand on their shoulder so they know that I know they are there. Then they wait until I can see what they need.  If it is really important they put their hand on my hand so I know.  These are our secret signals to each other without interrupting the conversation.  It works.  It took some kids longer than others to do, but it works. 
When Ben was about 5 years old we went to see family that were meeting at a hotel.  I was talking to some relatives when Ben walked up. I put my hand on his shoulder & he put his hand on my hand.  When my Aunt had finished her sentence I looked down at Ben and asked what he needed. "I think I'm gonna throw up".  We ran to the bathroom just in time.  I was impressed with Ben because if I had been him, I wouldn't have waited, I would have interrupted before I threw up. But even while sick, he understood that it is rude to interuppt.

3.  Teach your child to be considerate of others.  This ties in with #1 & #2.  Most of my children's bad behavior stems from selfishness.  They way their own way & they will make your life miserable until they get it.  No way!  This starts with siblings.  Teach them to put their siblings first.  This is hard & we still work on this everyday. 
Funny story...I had made a chocolate cake.  The boys were running in to get the first piece.  I reminded the boys of when Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be first will be last." I told them, "I think that if Jesus were here he would say, "let my brother have the first piece of cake, I can wait."' Austin looks at Ben and says, "You be Jesus".
It is not impossible to teach our kids to respect others.  The amazing thing is that even though it may not seem like they are doing it in the home, they do it outside the home. At least that is what I hear. :o)

4. Simple manners go a long way.  "Yes mam" "No Sir" "Thank You" "I'm sorry" Teach these as soon as they begin speaking.
Teach your boys to open doors for girls.  My boys have always seen my husband do this for me.  Now when I go somewhere with my teen boys, they open the doors for me. I love it!  I see them doing this for others also.  Sometimes they even do it for their sisters!  Baby steps... :o)
Teach your girls to say "thank you" when a boy is gentlemen like to her.  I heard girls at church make fun of a boy because he had opened a door for them. Ugh!

It is no secret that the world views children as a burden instead of a blessing.  This "brat ban" is evidence of that.  But we have brought it upon ourselves by not training our children properly.  Parents have given up I think.  It is harder than they thought. They don't know what to do.  I know!  I felt the same way...and still feel it in many ways. 
Parenting is daily!  Everyday, your child will need you to show him what is right and what is wrong.  Somewhere in the past, parents began losing site of their Biblical responsibilities as parents.  Scripture does a great job of lining out what we need to do.  But it is hard. We need to step up & do what God has given us the opportunity to do & not expect the church or school to do it.  And don't forget your children are watching you.  They really do learn more from what they see you do, than what they hear you say.

In the mean time, until your children are properly trained don't expect them to act in a way they haven't been taught to act.  Don't take them to places where they are expected to act above what they are capable.  Have mercy on your children and on others.

Train up a child in the way he should go. Proverbs 22:6