How Much Should Parents Worry About How their Kids Affect Others?
Whenever you take your kids out in public, the way your kids behave can make other people uncomfortable. It’s not always manageable, however. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable even when a child’s behavior isn’t directly affecting them.
You’ve probably apologized to people numerous times for things your child has said or done that was inappropriate. That’s just par for the course. However, should you have to constantly manage everyone’s discomfort.
Sometimes it’s important to apologize to others when your child’s behavior directly impacts them, but if you take ownership of everyone else’s feelings all the time, you’re going to burn out.
You will be judged and there’s no way around it
The only thing you can do is stop caring about maintaining any sort of image in public. When you have kids, you can forget about impressing people with your well-behaved children. You will always be judged for something, even if it’s just the clothes you let your kids wear, their haircuts, or the fact that your nine-year-old is dragging around a dirty teddy bear.
As a parent, everything you and your kids do will be judged by other people no matter what. That’s just the unfortunate reality, and there’s no way to make it stop. You could have the best-behaved child in the world and go to a restaurant where they throw the only tantrum they’ve ever had, and people in the restaurant will think you’re a pushover with a spoiled child.
Forget about managing judgment when traveling
Traveling with young kids is challenging, to say the least. Many adults can barely handle traveling, and it’s often worse for kids. When in a stressful situation, you can’t always maintain boundaries and rules. Sometimes, you need to compromise and just give your kids whatever they want to keep them happy and obedient.
It sounds contrary, but if you have kids, you know the reality of trying to get them to behave in an airport is grim. In theory, you don’t want to give in to your kids who demand candy and snacks, but in reality, you need to get to your destination without losing your mind. Just give them the candy and snacks.
Traveling with older kids isn’t so bad, but toddlers can be a handful. However, traveling with a toddler isn’t hopeless. It’s possible to keep toddlers entertained and well-behaved while traveling with a few tweaks to how you’d normally operate.
For instance, to keep a toddler entertained while walking through a busy, boring airport, get them a luggage scooter. You’ll probably get some looks from people who think you’re just giving them a free pass to have fun, but those people probably aren’t parents.
3 tips to prevent uncomfortable situations
Although you shouldn’t be responsible for managing everyone else’s feelings all the time, there are certain ways you can prevent situations that lead to problems with others in public.
- Avoid taking babies to the movies
Crying babies and screaming kids will ruin a movie for everyone in the theater. Most parents would agree that bringing a baby to see a movie is a bad idea. If you can’t get a babysitter, wait for the movie to be available for streaming.
- If your child is disruptive, don’t bring them to restaurants
When you know your child is going to be disruptive in public, don’t bring them to restaurants. This will make it hard for you to enjoy your time out, but you have a responsibility to manage a disruptive child.
If your child throws food, screams, or colors on tables violently instead of staying on the page of their coloring book, get takeout if you can’t find a sitter.
- Travel prepared with snacks
To the best of your ability, bring snacks your kids will like when you travel. Bring all their favorite candy and crackers to keep them busy. This will also prevent you from having to pay $5 for a small package of M&Ms at the airport.
Only manage the big stuff
Being a parent is exhausting. If you managed every situation that could possibly make others uncomfortable, you’d never have time for anything else. Manage the big situations that have consequences. For instance, disruptive, violent, or loud children.
However, don’t worry about what others think when you’re traveling and you give your kids every piece of candy they ask for. Let people judge you. When they have kids, they’ll find out why parents give in when traveling.