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Musings: On Tykes & Terrible Twos…

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“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Kahlil Gibran

Musings: On Tykes & Terrible Twos… Adorable

Kids In Adult-Oriented Places…
Weekly Writing Challenge: How do you feel about children in adult-oriented places? It depends on the age, location and circumstance. For starters, children don’t belong in bars or late night adult parties; the rest is negotiable depending on their age and the reasons for the outing. We all have an occasional bad day… and the same goes for our children. If we take time to prepare ourselves and our kids for challenging situations, and determine when it is appropriate to keep them home or take them out with us, we’ve won half the battle. I titled the post On Tykes & Terrible Twos… because that happens to be a particularly difficult age for little kids and the possibility of meltdowns are higher. But if we remember to prepare ourselves for such outbursts and stay away from potentially explosive situations, we will survive that phase unscathed. Of course, things can and do change.

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”Lady Bird Johnson

Musings: On Tykes & Terrible Twos… Resilient

Several years ago, when my twins were little, we went out to eat with friends at a fairly nice restaurant that was also kid friendly. We came prepared with extra snacks and toys; every parent knows we need these extras… The kids settled down at the table with crayons and paper provided by the restaurant, and we turned to our own chit chat. Not long after we arrived, another family came in with a little boy in tow. They sat down and went through the same motion we did; provide toys, offer a snack, make promises about surprise treats for good behavior, and offer periodic hugs, kisses and answers to endless questions.

Little Tommy (let’s pretend it’s his name) seemed quite adept at playing and responding to the indulgent adults with him, nodding his head again and again as his mom promised him the moon. Suddenly, out of the blue, Tommy started whining about his seat. Before you could say boo, he had a major meltdown and his mom had to carry him out of the restaurant. You could feel the tension in the air. Some patrons looked annoyed. Others glared at us as if we were next, and we looked at them with a smile, and then at our kids with pleading eyes (or some would say with threatening eyes)… mouthing, “Please just be calm.” We all go through it and we survive. What would you have done? More below!

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss

Musings: On Tykes & Terrible Twos… Playful

One thing I know for sure is that I chose to parent differently from the way my parents raised me… I grew up in a very formal household with some of the usual rigidities, but lots of travel. My kids are from a different generation and so we incorporated things that made sense for their Gen X. However, good manners, civility, and consideration for others were part of our parenting. We traveled globally and exposed them to other cultures; this is something special my parents gave me and I wanted it for my kids. As parents, we do the best we can teaching them about boundaries and expected public decorum; we intervene when they misbehave and guide them through their teen years; then the rest is up to our kids and their individual temperament… If we establish early guidelines and teach our kids to be considerate and kind, we will find that with time, those teachings will/do kick in. What about your experiences?

What are your thoughts? What do you remember from raising your kids? Did you struggle with bad behavior? Did humor help? How differently did you parent from the way your parents raised you? Do share! Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

*Please bear with me as I catch up on your blogs and commentingโ€ฆ Thank you all for your patience! ๐Ÿ™‚

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge: How do you feel about children in adult-oriented places? Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they donโ€™t. This week, weโ€™re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that itโ€™s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?

Positive Motivation Tip: Our children depend on us for guidance and mirror what we do… Be vigilant.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Child Yolanda, Congo Child, Children reading, via Wikipedia Little boy by Tony Trason via Flickr

Until Next Timeโ€ฆ
Ask. Believe. Receive. ยฉ
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

61 Comments leave one →
  1. 24/10/2012 7:38 am

    Growing up, I got grounded a lot. But in turn, I only grounded my daughter once, I think for an hour. She is a great kid and now in college. So it worked out quite opposite from how I was raised. I love kids, but sometimes…adult only time is a little more peaceful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24/10/2012 10:23 pm

      You survived groundings and didn’t use it much with your kid; good for you! Yes, it is important to have adult time… and then we truly enjoy kid time. I’m glad my kids are grown . ๐Ÿ˜†

  2. 24/10/2012 8:26 am

    My widowed mom took us out all summer in the van, and we went everywhere you could drive to in Alaska and the lower 48. (We had to get to Hawaii on our own). She used to say, “You kids might be terrors at home, but at least I can take you out.” When it got too wild in the back of the VW van, she would make a comic book stop, or toss Hostess Twinkies or Milky Ways into the back seat. Those summers meant a lot to us, and I will always be grateful to my mom for giving us the USofA.

    I was raising two and not seven kids, and my husband and I were really consistent. We never punished, and we never had any terrible twos. First of all, we were fortunate that our kids had their dad’s even temperament. And we anticipated situations. When we went to restaurants, we brought Cheerios, art supplies and books, and included the kids in the conversation.

    They heard stories all the time at home, so when they came to performances, they were used to listening, and it wasn’t long before they were getting paid to tell stories, which was thrilling to them and inspiring to the kids in the audiences.

    Many summers we took them to Europe, and the secret to great behavior on those long trips was anticipation of trouble. In art museums, I took them around and told them the stories behind the paintings, to make them relevant to the kids. We played pretend in castles. Only once did I have to leave a place because my almost two year old just needed to leave York Minster and run in the grass outside. We also respected that need, balancing museums with parks and play equipment. In Windsor, it was a tough choice, but we opted for Legoland over Windsor Castle. But we also got to do the Albert and Victoria Museum. I raced through with my six year old son Eli, while Dad and 2 year old Bea had a snooze in the garden outside the Natural History Museum a couple of blocks away. Everyone was happy.

    We also had an emergency supply of little wrapped presents chosen for their small size and their long-lasting entertainment value–Polly Pockets for make-believe, sparkly markers and stickers and wax string sculpting funny creatures. LOTS of good books for read aloud. We got a lot of mileage out of all those things. I told the kids the reason we could go on these great trips and do special things was because they were so well behaved.

    We still love traveling together, and I am the one who has to keep up with the three of them. We still do read aloud on road trips or long train rides–only sometimes it is the kids who read to us. I know that the kids will have grownup lives and schedules to accommodate, but I just had a great trip to Turkey with my 22 year old son, in between his college graduation and his going off to Argentina on a Fulbright. Bea is at Stanford, and won’t have to report to school until the end of September–shoulder season! And when Eli was studying abroad and Bea was in Europe with her art history class, my husband and I took a practice trip, just the two of us, and we had a lovely time.

    But those shared adventures shaped my growing up, and shaped the family we have become. Oh, my gosh! I guess I accidentally just wrote my next blog post! Thank you, dear Elizabeth, for asking a thoughtful question at just the right time, to get me thinking!

    • 24/10/2012 10:23 pm

      I think you should turn this into a blog post… It is quite beautiful… Lots of wonderful memories. ๐Ÿ˜‰ TY!

  3. 24/10/2012 9:02 am

    Thank you very much for taking the time to come by our family blog, and link to it – much appreciated! Raising kids has no magic formula, no right-or-wrong… it’s an ongoing, thankless, endless, and yet, wonderful job! Greetings from our traveling family, in La Paz! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    • 24/10/2012 10:24 pm

      TY too for stopping by to comment… Kids are a blessing and raising them is hard work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 24/10/2012 10:38 am

    First I have to say I melted looking at that adorable face in the first picture. My boys weren’t twins but being 20 months apart it felt that way for the first 5 years or so. We were fortunate in that they usually were well behaved when we took them out, but we never took them to expensive restaurants. It always bothered me when we would save up for a special night out in a nice/expensive (to us) restaurant and get sat next to someone with an unruly toddler.
    I am so happy those days are long gone!

    • 24/10/2012 10:25 pm

      TY! The kids are cute and they made me smile too… Yes, mine are older now and so I’m glad to not do some of the demanding work like diaper changes. ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. 24/10/2012 11:07 am

    I find that kids’ tantrums are given far more attention and tolerance by parents of today, than they ever were when I was a child, or even when my own children were small. Children know just how far they can go, and the line needs to be drawn very early on. Just my opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24/10/2012 10:27 pm

      True. The parents have to take charge early or all bets are off… I feel for parents when their kids act out… we’ve all been there at least once. TY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 24/10/2012 1:09 pm

    I can’t remember actually and it’s not so long ago…I didn’t give in tho to sweets at the check out counters..etc…my children knew they would not get. In certain ways I am quite strict…wish it was in most ways!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • 24/10/2012 10:28 pm

      Some strictness is a good thing as I believe we all need to learn boundaries… So good for you to check those demands. ๐Ÿ˜‰ TY!

  7. 24/10/2012 8:20 pm

    Your pictures are lovely and your post spot on. As a mother of 4 little children, I find going to restaurants (and Church) they are mostly the adult places we go with children) quite scary especially the first time I had a baby. Teaching the children how they should behave helps a lot. It is not a guarantee, however, that a child will never ever fuss. One thing we do, while they are little, we bring them to more laid-back areas – like the buffet or the fast food or the grocery – and let them get used to the atmosphere. When they are older and can handle the longer wait for food – we will bring them to finer places.

    • 24/10/2012 10:29 pm

      Your approach is a good one… We can start with places that are comfortable for them and then build from there. And yes, almost all kids have a meltdown moment so we learn from it too. TY! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. 24/10/2012 10:02 pm

    I guess as parents we all try to do the best for our kids. we try to avoid the errors made by our parents and incorporate their good parenting into ours… but then again knowing or unknowing we ourselves make errors in our parenting … for things change from generation to generation … what worked for us as kids might not work for our kids…
    As you say we can only try our best and leave the rest for the kids … and just hope and pray things will go alright.
    I am always anxious about how my children will turn out as adults. The younger generation these days are just too bold and too carefree and all the influence from the media is just a bit unsettling …
    Doing my best though ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24/10/2012 10:31 pm

      TY Amira! I agree that we are doing the best we can and then e must let go and let them learn too… Giving them a clear foundation and helping them learn about boundaries and moral issues are important tools and then we bless them to move forward. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 24/10/2012 10:44 pm

    I absolutely love the photos of the children! Each one is just perfect. I love children, but there are times when I find I’m very annoyed…not at the children themselves, but the adults who bring them into adult settings. I don’t understand parents who bring children into theaters for adult movies, or restaurants that are not set up for families–that usually means later in the evening. I try to be patient…I try! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24/10/2012 10:47 pm

      I hear you! We all try Debra and then we wonder why they brought them. I have heard some say it had to do with not finding a babysitter or last minute back-outs. It’s not easy and I think they should skip the adult movie and go another day.

  10. 24/10/2012 11:34 pm

    As a baby, my son Sam was wonderfully behaved. He was chubby, happy and adored by all. When he reached age 2 it was like a switch went off in his head and he became a little monster. He was still cute but with his tantrums, i found it easier avoiding crowds or outings unless necessary.

    This lasted until he neared the age of 8. Fortunately we all survived relatively unscathed. Sam is now enjoying(?) the beginning of his teen years at age 14.

    • 24/10/2012 11:45 pm

      Age 8!!!? OMG you must have been beside yourself. My kids had the TTS too but it didn’t last beyond a couple of years. We were always aware of situations and how they’d handle them so we always had an exit plan or Strategy B. ๐Ÿ˜† We all survived it though, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. 25/10/2012 3:05 am

    We did not go out that much to public places when the girls were that age. I found myself looking after them all the time and did not enjoy the evening at all – turned out to be more work than eating at home or at someone’s place. We did visit museums and such places though; any place that had children’s activities for their age.

    • 25/10/2012 2:10 pm

      Good thing that you did do creative stuff together. Some parents just eliminate all social outings till they are older… TY for stopping in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. 25/10/2012 4:54 am

    I’m not really a fan of Kahlil Gibran so I had to bump past that quote but I loved the subject of the Blog. I used to call my girls “apple-blossoms up until about the age of eleven and thereafter “bee stings” as they got more tricky to manage. Having said that they never really gave me as much cause for concern as I did them I’m sure

    • 25/10/2012 2:09 pm

      The Teen years are difficult too and we remind ourselves that it too shall pass. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. 25/10/2012 10:16 am

    Ceratinly we are raising our kids differently from our parents. We have an atmosphere in the house where the boys feel free to say whatever is on their minds, within limits of course. Recently my last boy of 8 years told his father that he was probably getting poor grades in his exams because he was not going to church! (hubby is doing his MBA and he had a C in one of the papers) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 25/10/2012 2:08 pm

      Oh how funny! What a smart boy you have… ๐Ÿ™‚ Times have changed and so have we in terms of parenting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. 25/10/2012 12:15 pm

    I grew up in a very strict household where corporeal punishment was the norm. Raising my own kids, I struggled to find a balance between laxity and sternness. I wanted to be tolerant, but I did not want to raise spoiled brats.

    What I have found is the best parenting focuses on empathy. When I was able to see through my sons’ eyes, I could understand their frustration and act accordingly. I even try to physically empathize with them–get down to their level and put my face right next to theirs to see from their perspective.

    I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but I find this method works wonders. Even if you cannot prevent a meltdown, you create a precedent of understanding and tolerance.

    • 25/10/2012 1:27 pm

      Beautifully shared… sure empathy plays a huge role in parenting and in life too so I love your pov. TY for stopping by. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. 25/10/2012 3:14 pm

    My daughter had a doozer of a hissy fit in a shopping mall once. I calmy pushed the stroller through the door while she screamed. Inside, I died of embarrasment. And it was all over a balloon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Later, I learned to pick my battles. LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 26/10/2012 4:21 am

      Oy vey! I remember those types of situations… and especially when they were sudden tantrums; usually cos the kids were tired or hungry…. TY and Thank God it is past us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 25/10/2012 4:52 pm

    “However, good manners, civility, and consideration for others were part of our parenting. We traveled globally and exposed them to other cultures; this is something special my parents gave me and I wanted it for my kids. As parents, we do the best we can teaching them about boundaries and expected public decorum; we intervene when they misbehave and guide them through their teen years; then the rest is up to our kids and their individual temperamentโ€ฆ If we establish early guidelines and teach our kids to be considerate and kind, we will find that with time, those teachings will/do kick in.” — I could not have said it any better, eof! If only everyone followed these tenets! ~ Kat

    • 26/10/2012 4:22 am

      TY Kat… We were not perfect but did the best we could with two babies in tow. TY! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. 25/10/2012 7:57 pm

    I can’t really participate Eliz – being childless. As an observation though, kids here in Sri Lanka don’t seem to suffer the terrible twos the way they do at home in Oz – and you’ll almost never see a tantrum, even at the checkout counter when Mom says no, you can’t take the chocolate … ๐Ÿ™‚ Another observation – I’ve seen ‘grown ups’ behaving so atrociously in public places somebody should take them outside!

    • 25/10/2012 10:15 pm

      ๐Ÿ˜† I had to laugh about the boorish grown ups… I bet they do it for all the attention they never got as kids. In Oz, there is so much going on with kids and parenting that other nations don’t even have to bother with… mouthing off and excessive whining are two. It sure ain’t easy. TY for your feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 28/10/2012 2:58 am

      righto! … same. ๐Ÿ˜†

  18. 25/10/2012 9:09 pm

    Good post, E! And I love the photos you included. So precious. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • 25/10/2012 10:11 pm

      TY for checking in Nancy! The photos were very inspiring and I had a good time with this exercise. Will stop by. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. 25/10/2012 10:16 pm

    Nice Post Eliz! We actually didn’t dine out frequently with kids, not becos they were ill mannered but because they would fall asleep moments after they finished dinner, leaving us to straddle them with one hand and feed ourselves with the other! ๐Ÿ™‚ But I agree that its the parents and the child’s nature that should be the deciding factor to go out into ‘adult places’

    • 26/10/2012 4:25 am

      Oh boy, I remember the falling asleep too… that was always amusing to me; actually satisfying at times. … Yes, parents know their kids and should work with them. TY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. 26/10/2012 2:43 am

    Thought provoking post about a subject that irks me quite a bit!
    We had two noisy kids running around our table at a fancy restaurant last Sunday, while the parents were enjoying their meal, oblivious to other diners annoyed glares!
    Like you say, consideration for others is the key and was part of my daughters and my training and I am happy to see she is insisting her children learn that early. We go out to restaurants with our grandkids and they are almost always perfectly behaved or they know they will have to deal with their mother ๐Ÿ™‚ If they weren’t, (and when they were little) we would opt to eat in coffee shops and not disturb other diners in fine dining places.

    • 26/10/2012 4:28 am

      Now that is terrible when parents say/do nothing and act like their kids are at a playground. I would speak up… but carefully with the waitstaff. Parental influence is huge. We do have to intervene because kids do need boundaries… or else we will have hell to pay when they are teenagers. TY Madhu! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. 26/10/2012 4:46 am

    Whoever it is at WP conjuring up the weekly writing challenge, they’re sure looking to stir things up – I saw this the other day and laughed at the final sentence because it really echoes how we were brought up in the early 60s – very different from the child-focused parenting of today –

    • 27/10/2012 4:06 am

      TY Bleuebee! We’ve all come a long way and there is still much to learn. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. 27/10/2012 5:17 pm

    I didn’t know you had twins?!!!

    • 27/10/2012 11:39 pm

      Yes, I do… and you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • 29/10/2012 7:39 pm

        Mine are 5 and 7….almost 6 and 8 in about two weeks! I still think twins is really cool. Are they identical or fraternal? I have identical twin cousins my age and we had fun growing up together!

    • 14/11/2012 1:09 pm

      Mine are fraternal and quite different personalities… However, they sound exactly alike on the phone… so that’s tricky. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • 16/11/2012 5:39 am

        Funny! My sister and I who are three years apart sound identical on the phone and can even trick the husbands! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. 28/10/2012 6:58 am

    Disciplining children takes a lot of energy. I suspect some of the young parents don’t want go there…

    • 14/11/2012 1:09 pm

      Sure… and society expectations have shifted over the years. Parents have worked to include their kids in a lot more than they did when I was a kid. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. 28/10/2012 2:08 pm

    In answer to the what would you do question: If I happened to be the parent of the child who had the meltdown, I suppose I would have no choice but to take him outside – if he calmed down, then we would go back inside, if not, we would find something to do outside.

    I can’t help but be reminded of my own experiences growing up and how my own parents would react. It seems as though parents try hard not to make the same “mistakes” as their own parents did, but sometimes they do, and sometimes they make their own new mistakes.

    I think it’s important to try to talk to a child with respect and understanding. I always try to figure out what exactly it is that is bothering my on. Is it the uncomfortable seat, or does he really just want to participate in the conversation more than he can ? Doesn’t mean I’m always successful at this though, he still has his meltdowns, but hopefully not too many. And hopefully, he trusts that he does have an ally in his parents.

    • 14/11/2012 1:13 pm

      I like your reply and, as a stay at home dad, you are definitely in the middle of it. I’m with you on having our parents as allies. Sometimes parents think that humiliating their kids is discipline. It is NOT, it is damaging! TY for your feedback. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. 28/10/2012 3:25 pm

    I was beside myself the first time I saw a parent – at least I think she was the parent – with her young son in a bar, around 11 pm one night. I had to control myself from going over to her and telling her to take the child home. I don’t mind kids in restaurants, etc., as long as they can behave. But it’s hard for most small children to sit still for long.

    • 14/11/2012 1:15 pm

      And the late night bar hopping with children is a horrible event waiting to happen. I agree… no excuses. TY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. 29/10/2012 5:20 am

    Been there. It was one challenging phase. And nobody told me there was even the more crazy terrible three. But then, it was also a priceless phase of our children’s growth and development that makes us smile knowing we we’re there every step of the way. Love the post!

  27. 29/10/2012 10:03 am

    An excelent post! Not yet a parent myself but remembering as a kid, I side with your parenting approach.

    • 14/11/2012 1:16 pm

      TY and I remember my upbringing too… It was meant for my own good but it was stifling… TY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. 01/11/2012 6:55 pm

    I just know I made many mistakes…I believe my parents
    were better at it than me…because I was always so good!
    …ha, ha…mkg

    • 14/11/2012 1:19 pm

      Well good for you for sparing your parents the headache! I used to hear “wait till you have kids” whenever I misbehaved. ๐Ÿ˜† I hope your kids were as considerate to you. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Some People’s Kids or a Rant to My Former Self « My Cracked Pot

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