Anyone who has eaten at a family friendly restaurant has no doubt been seated in the vicinity of a cranky baby or an unhappy toddler. In some cases, the parents can distract the child from the behavior or may remove them from the situation to calm the child before returning to the dining room. One dad faced with an unruly 2-year-old at a restaurant had a different approach to the matter and one that he believes will shape his children into better people as a result.
Writer Clint Edwards shares his parenting stories on the blog ‘No Idea What I’m Doing’ and this particular story, involving a 2-year-old having a public tantrum, is all too relatable to moms and dads. He wrote: “I’m stuck in the van with my toddler. We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because Mom wouldn’t let her throw chicken strips. So, she screamed, and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin.”
While it caused a bit of a scene, Clint continued to carry on with his mission, noting: “I carried her past the bar and everyone stared at me, most of them childless, I assumed. No one with children would give me that straight-faced, lip-twisted, look that seems to say, ‘If you can’t control your kid, then don’t go out.’”
He continues, explaining: “Well… no. I can’t control her. Not all the time. Not yet.” Not a dig on his parenting skills, but more of a statement about the age, as he notes: “She’s 2, and it’s going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public, and the only way I am ever going to teach that is to take her out and show her what’s right and wrong. By saying ‘no’ a million times, letting her throw a fit, and telling her ‘no’ again.”’
Parenting isn’t for the weak at heart and isn’t always pretty, Clint shares, writing: “These lessons take patience, hard work, and real-world experiences, and I’m sorry to those at the bar who got irritated by my child’s fit, but you are part of this practice. Your parents did the same with you, and that’s how you now know how to recognize when a child does something irritating in a restaurant. It’s how you learned to look at a situation and say, ‘That parent needs to control their kids.’ It’s how you learned to be a respectable person.”
He continues: “I get it. Kids are irritating when they are loud in a restaurant. I know. I’m living it. But before you get angry and judgmental, realize that what you are witnessing is not bad parenting, but rather, parents working hard to fix the situation. You are looking at what it takes to turn a child into a person.”
Clint got a lot of support for his reaction to the situation, with one person remarking on his Facebook page: “I had your exact experience and did the same thing. Struggle is real but you are not alone” and another person noting: “You did great… totally nailed parenting.”