"My Parenting Skills Are Perfectly Fine, Even When My Son Is Throwing A Public Tantrum!"
Singaporean mum is shaken about how her child's actions equated to her being a 'bad mum'. Hear her story here...
More often than not, kids are expected to behave in public, and if they don’t, their parents are shot down with deadly stares, ones that clearly depict a thousand remarks like… “Why aren’t you disciplining your child?” and “Is that what you teach him to do, especially out in public?” Or “I wonder what kind of upbringing this child has.”
Kids, given their age, are prone to throwing a fit, whether in the privacy of our own homes or in public, often attracting the attention of the people around us who tend to judge us.
But since when did it become normal to question a mum’s or dad’s parenting skills when their child throws a tantrum in public? Does my child throwing a tantrum in public show that my parenting skills are not up to a reasonable standard in any way?
Felicia, a 33-year-old childcare teacher and mother of 1, shares her story on when she was blamed for her son’s less-than-appealing behaviour in public.
Last Sunday, I was taking my 6-year-old son, Aiden to his weekly piano class. He was still harping on the fact that I didn’t get him the Swensen’s ice-cream from lunch earlier and threatened not to attend his lesson unless I got him the cone.
Being a childcare teacher, this was nothing new to me- I deal with these kinds of situations every other day.
And throughout the years, experiences when dealing with Aiden and my childcare students have taught me to be patient and how not to give in so easily. It was after all part of their child development process.
So it wasn’t a matter of whether I’d get the stares, or whether my parenting skills were bad. It was a matter of disciplining my child and teaching them that throwing a tantrum wasn’t going to get him what he wanted.
I would say that Aiden is a great kid, and am not being biased. He’s always soft-spoken, kind-hearted and sleeps well. Every once in awhile he’ll decide to throw a fit because of some little reason and once he realises that I’m not going to give in (which he normally does), he’ll go back to his “well-behaved” state.
So needless to say, on that Sunday, at AMK Hub, I was taken aback when a middle-aged lady came up to me and Aiden and started questioning me on why I was letting my son “behave like that in public”. She also took a condescending tone on me and blatantly yelled in my face saying “What the hell are you teaching your child, woman? Really no manners.”
No manners? Look who’s talking, missy. I wanted to say this out to her face in defence, but I stopped myself.
Aiden was throwing a tantrum in the middle of the walkway of the shopping centre, and it being close to 2pm on a Sunday, the place was crowded and he was blocking people’s way. Sure, I get that. But so what? He’s a child for crying out loud. They do these things! Did she not ever experience something similar? Was I the only woman who’s been through this time and time again? I decided to remain calm throughout his shouts and cries, as I always did.
“Get me the ice-cream or I won’t go to piano!” he exclaimed. I wanted him to stop, just because she was right there watching and judging.
His piano class was about to begin and he was still kicking and screaming right outside the piano school. I noticed another teenager throwing me nasty stares from across the walkway. I was fuming mad. Both at Aiden and at these women.
The next thing I knew, this mum of my son’s piano classmate storms over to me and hurled a slew of questions about my parenting skills while throwing in some remarks which were totally uncalled for.
Although I did expect something like this to happen, I was still shocked at how my parenting skills were being questioned by another mother who had a kid of the same age as mine! Ridiculous, and utterly appalling!
Surely, she’d understand what I’m trying to do but no, she thought that I was a bad mum to allow Aiden to behave like this in public.
That garnered, even more, stares from people around us and thankfully, Aiden understood the heightened situation and his noise came to a stop. The mum proceeded to send her daughter to class, not saying another word to me even after she caused an even bigger scene.
I sent Aiden off to class and told him I’d be back in an hour to fetch him. Teary-eyed, he apologised for his tantrums earlier, which the mum obviously heard because she was right next to me then.
I decided not to pursue the matter further although it still baffles me. Why are parents, even those with kids that are around the same age as my child, still living on the “children are to be seen and not heard” motto?
A child is bound to throw a tantrum one way or another, anywhere he or she decides to, as long as they don’t get their needs met. And them, being kids, are still trying to figure out what is and what is not socially acceptable.
Also, let’s face it. At the end of the day, their tantrums are a way of them expressing their feelings. We, being in our 30s need to express their feelings too but as adults, we obviously result in other means of expressing and not by throwing a tantrum in public every now and then.
And no, like everyone else, I’m not enjoying having my child throwing a fit in the middle of a crowded place or the fact that I’m trying to remain calm and definitely not the stares that I’m getting from everyone around me. So let’s share the empathy together, shall we?
Lastly, as parents, we should help each other out, and not bring down the parenting skills of the other. Not everyone disciplines their child the same way and it’s only right that we respect whatever they choose to do, because it’s their job of teaching what is right and not right for their own child.
A child is bound to throw a tantrum. The least we, as parents ourselves, can do is to avoid giving icy stares and just mind our own business.
Let’s stop shaming parents for the public tantrum, shall we?
If you have any thoughts on this topic, do share them with us.
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