Tips for Parents of Young Ones

I was in a store today with lots of precious merchandise. A mother with too many children to watch came in and one young man proceeded to run his hands across all the colorful, clean, items hanging on the wall that could be damaged by dirty hands. The proprietor was involved helping the mother so I gently asked the young boy not to touch the things hanging on the wall. He didn’t rebel, but was unhappy. There is a reason I have one child. Stores are not playgrounds.
After he left the other mothers in the store shared tips about what we used to do to keep our children well behaved in public. We discussed the “one finger” rule – where things could only be touched with one finger. The use of one finger greatly decreases the chances of destroying something.
I related a great trick I was told this week by a shop keeper in Washington, who I happen to be having a discussion with about misbehaving children. He told me of some friends who were taking their two young boys on an overseas flight. The mother boarded the plane and before take off secretly gave two wrapped boxes to the flight attendant and asked her if she could give the presents to her children upon deplaning.  
Then the mother and father told the children that there was a contest on the plane with a prize for the best behaved children. “See that eye right up here?” the father said pointing to the light on the overhead panel. “That is a camera and the captain is watching all the children all over the plane. He decides who is going to win the prize.”
The children bought it, hook, link and sinker. As a boy across the row acted up, they knew they were well on their way to winning the contest. After eight hours on the overnight plane the boys, who had been practically angelic were each handed the wrapped boxes as they deplaned. “We won the contest!” they proudly announced.
It was no lie. But prizes should have been given to their parents for coming up with such a creative way to get the behaviors they wanted. Children do not naturally know how they should act. They must be taught.  
The little boy in the store today couldn’t help but be drawn to all the beautiful silky colors at his eye level. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure children understand what their place is and how they are to act. There is no shame in bribery or giving incentives to ensure compliance. Eventually they will learn and be welcome members of society.



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