Part of the parenting job is to teach children proper socialization and to be considerate of others in public places. These skills will help children get along harmoniously with their future teachers, friends, co-workers, bosses and in-laws. Learning the etiquette of parenting takes practice and noticing what are the norms in North American society. If you are inexperienced with children of a particular age or stage, it might be helpful to learn a bit about child development, which explains why kids do what they do.
Recently, I celebrated a ‘big’ birthday, so family and friends extended the celebrations appropriately. I returned home from one outing with girlfriends and proudly displayed my bright orange latte mug. Painted across the front is: “BFF: Brilliant, Fun-Loving Friend”. My 13-year-old daughter piped up, “Do you really consider yourself fun-loving?” Ouch.
Curled into circles, some bouncing toddlers on their hips, mothers dot the school parking lot at pickup time, laughing and talking together. I wave hello to a mom I met at a meet-and-greet the week before. She looks past me and continues with her conversation. I wonder, Does she recognize me? Maybe not. We’ve only met once. Or maybe she didn’t see me. Feeling awkward and vaguely rejected, I retreat to a spot near the school entrance and wait for my son to emerge.
No doubt, it’s scary being a parent in today’s high-tech, competitive and often violent world. “We hear stories of abductions and kids getting harmed physically and sexually,” says psychotherapist Mari Jo Rapini. “We feel a need to protect our children.” Long gone are the carefree days like when Rapini grew up in a small town, prior to cell phones, the Internet and the idea that something catastrophic could happen if she was off her parents’ radar screen. There was no feeling that if she wasn’t constantly busy with piano or soccer, she would fall behind. “My parents saw their role as providing a secure home life, plenty of sleep, good food and help with homework,” says Rapini.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child