Friday, September 8, 2006

Childrearing 101

So I'm sitting in a restaurant the other night with my kids, enjoying a leisurely dinner before football practice. Halfway through our meal, two women walk in with four children between them. The oldest is probably twelve, the youngest...maybe two years old. Naturally, the moment he's strapped into the restaurant's high chair, the toddler begins to throw a tantrum. He screams, he whines, he throws his toys.

I can tell the mom's just not handling his behavior well at all. Perhaps he's been like this all day (in which case, why would anyone take him out to a restaurant?) or perhaps he's normally an angel and she's never had to deal with a meltdown before (which I seriously doubt). She tries giving the child some crayons. Thunk, thunk, thunk! They wind up soaring point-first into the wall. She offers him a bottle, he throws it on the floor. No matter what distraction she dreams up, this kid is having none of it.

Now I don't know about the rest of you, but when my kids were that age and pulled that sort of nonsense, I would pick them up and leave the restaurant (leaving the "good" kids with the second adult). We'd go outside or to the car and I would try to get the child to calm down. If (s)he decided to behave, we would return inside and enjoy our meal together. If not, there was no way I'd subject other people to my child's tantrum. But what did this mom do?

She waited until the waiter arrived to take their orders and then told the child, "If you don't stop that right now, the waiter's going to yell at you."

Nice. Make some innocent stranger out to be the Bogeyman. And I'll bet the poor guy didn't even get a decent tip.