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All Eyes On You

We were out to dinner last week and I was facing a table with a tween and her parents. I kept glancing at them because I was curious about the girl’s behavior. I look at Sabreena and see polite, kind, sweet, chatty, happy and relaxed. I was looking at this kid and I saw grumpy, arrogant and dismissive. Her mother was chatting with her and all the girl did was roll her eyes and shrug her shoulders.

Dessert time came for the other family and mom wanted to share her sundae with the girl. The spoon came up to the girls lips and she did something that shocked me; she roughly shoved her mother’s arm out of the way and gave her a check to the body. I tried to quickly glance away but the mom caught me. Before I turned away I noticed the mom just laughed it off but when she saw that I noticed what really happened she quickly started disciplining her daughter. I could hear Mom say how disrespectful she was being and she needed to cheer up and have a good time. Tears started rolling down mom’s face. The daughter’s attitude didn’t change. This was her normal self, her normal behavior. Me noticing the interaction had no change in how she treated her family and the situation.

Rob and I are strict and we expect certain behavior and respect but we also are fun and open and talk to our kids, all of them, about almost anything. The second Shaun rolls his eyes at me we’d be having a serious conversation about it right in the restaurant. I have no problem disciplining my children wherever we are. Sometimes I’m subtle and to the point talking quietly in their ear, sometimes I’ll engage some tough love and hope embarrassment in front of others works. This mother knew her daughter was in the wrong but for whatever reason wasn’t going to deal with it until she thought she was perceived as “not in control” of her child. Maybe she was so used to the disdain and withdrawal from her kid that she didn’t know how to react differently. Maybe she was putting on a show that there was nothing wrong with her relationship and laughing it off was how she kept things calm outside the home.

Do you parent differently outside the home when all eyes are on you?

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