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The kids are sitting in church, quietly. Coloring in notebooks, or taking notes. They walk with the buggy at Aldi’s and use quiet voices in the library. Sometimes as parents, we get compliments on our children’s behavior. These comments, tend to make me uncomfortable. Why? Because there are a few things you don’t see in well-behaved children.
The Work it Took to Train Them
It is hard to teach children to behave. We all disobey and break the rules at some point, so we cannot expect any less of our children. Our choice is how we handle it. Sometimes, it is easier to give into our children in the moment instead of taking the time to train them. But, there is fruit in staying strong and persistent. Putting them in time out over and over again will pay off. Staying firm in teaching our children to listen in church, to pick up their toys, to not speak unless spoken too (in certain environments), to sit quietly at the doctor’s office, will pay off. Well-behaved kids do not happen overnight. It is exhausting. I encourage you that if you get frustrated with your children you are not alone if you get embarrassed sometimes you are not alone, just keep on keeping on and one day you will see the fruit of your labor.
The Misbehavior that took place RIGHT before you complimented them
I always laugh when I go to the doctor’s office because EVERY time the nurse or doctor comes in and says they can’t believe how quiet the kids are. What they don’t see is the fact that my youngest was usually climbing like a wild man right before he came in. He just runs to the chair as soon as the door opens. One time the librarian was in the middle of commenting on how polite the girls were when I heard a crash. It was my toddler, covered in dirt. He had been playing in the nice potted tree in the children’s area.
Kids will be kids, and well-behaved kids are not always that well-behaved. I have had to take children kicking and screaming out of the store before (hard work), but when we walked right back in, they were acting a lot better.
The Doubts the Mom has That She is Doing it Right
Every mom regardless of how her children act is probably wondering deep down if she is doing it right. Sometimes I think I am too hard on my kids. Yes, for the most part, they are well-behaved, but I also wonder if I don’t put too much pressure on them. I wonder if someday my kids aren’t going to rebel because I didn’t let them take an iPod to church, or because I made them sit and listen to the sermon. I wonder if they are going to get their own apartment someday and never wash a dish because I made them clean up after themselves when they were little (I really did that, my first apartment was a disaster). All moms have doubts, and all moms compare themselves, and their children to others. Whether this is right, or wrong we all do it or have done it at some point in our lives.
So, the next time you are walking through the store and you see a well-behaved child. Remember, there are also things you don’t see. That mom has put in a lot of hard work, that child has misbehaved at some point, and that mom is doubting herself. No mom is perfect, and no child is always well-behaved!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, check out the follow-up post: Three Steps to Well Behaved Children!
One tool that we have been using to help our kids in character and life training is Skill Trek! A great program to help fill in those gaps 🙂