Not so much a parenting tip as a quandary in search of a tip.

The Friday ClubI have a 7 year old boy. I work very hard to get him to behave in what I would refer to as a civilised manner, paying attention to ppl around him and respecting their rights to a peaceful and pleasant life. So for example, if I go to a cafe with him, I expect him to sit quietly and talk to me, or read a book, or play on a ds.

I don’t expect him to clamber up a set of stairs, take off his shoes, and drop them over a banister into the cafe area.

And yet this is the behaviour that he sees from other boys week after week in our local leisure centre cafe during swimming lessons, other boys his age or older, and it appears to be tolerated by their parents who are busy chatting, tapping on their phones and drinking coffee. Am I being unnecessarily harsh? Is dropping your shoes on ppl’s heads a rite of passage my son requires? Should I stop channeling my mother?

“Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you can. You’re not everyone else. If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” (Aargh. One of the hundreds of things I swore I would never say that comes tripping out of my mouth way too easily!)

Be grateful for some feedback on this one. How would you handle it?

Here are the other entries in this parenting tips carnival:

Nova at Cherished by Me shares her tips in Encouraging Children to Read.

Gemma at HelloitsGemma’s Blog gives us her working mum tips in This working Mummy’s guide to life.

Maggy at Red Ted Art shows us how Baby Can Draw!

Chris at Thinly Spread gives us her Secret to Relaxed Parenting.

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family shows us how she teaches her children about other countries and cultures whilst having fun in America Day.

Helen at Cheeky Wipes gives us her tips in Fussy Eating.

Mummy Beadzoid gives us some Parenting tips for the NICU/SCBU parent.

Kelly at Domestic Goddesque shares her advice in Terrible Twos: tips for dealing with tantrums?

Ella at Notes From Home gives us her tip for encouraging children to tidy up at the end of the day.

Tiddlyompompom shares her weaning tips in her oh so helpful guide to weaning.

Mymumdom shares her tips in Parenting Tips (Me Over The Edge).

SouthoftheRiverMum tells us her plans to set up a Reward System at Home.

Not so single mum at Diary of a Not So Single Mum shares her advice on doing what you feel is best for your child and your family.

Bod for Tea shares her advice on finding a ‘helper’ to encourage your child to do things they don’t really like doing in Bunny says.

Hayley at Simply Hayley tells us about Hugs and Love.

Make Do Mum shares her stickability scale in Know Your Enemy.

Blue Sky at Looking for Blue Sky gives us some teenage tips while Merry at Patch of Puddles confesses if you are right you are almost certainly wrong.

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. I’d grab my kid and make a loud passive aggressive comment about how the parents of the other children may want to make sure their children aren’t behaving in an acceptable manner.

    Or holler at the kid myself, as if that kid were mine. 😀
    Andrea_R recently posted…Rennick Media LtdMy Profile

    • @Andrea I do occasionally direct a paddington stare at the offending children, and sometimes it even works. Might have to go for the passive aggressive comments next.

  2. hello. I’m with you. I have a 14 year old son. I think we need to set an example with our parenting and keep on, of course, with our methods, in spite of chaos around us. Our kids learn from seeing what’s right and seeing what’s wrong. I would tell my son what I thought about the rotten behavior we might witness.

    • @Zahara it’s difficult to tread a line between telling the kids what I think, and then having them go tell the other kids. But yes, I do discuss behaviours we see with them.

  3. If my ds were doing the same as other kids I would announce very loudly that it was not acceptable behaviour and people were trying to sit quietly. And that he had to stop it and come sit with me, whilst taking his hand and removing him.
    There would probably be a conversation at a later date as to why it wasn’t acceptable and why we didnt do it.
    Having said that, Seb isnt one to do what I say so it may be a bit different for us and it would probably involve removing him from the temptation he is seemingly a natural magnet too.

    • @Carol we have those moments too, and where possible, removing from the area of temptation is definitely my favoured technique. Or distraction. I admit I carry small chocolate bars in my bag – I find come and sit down and have a kinder bar is an instant distraction!

  4. I love that “because everyone else does” is one line that is never going to play in this house because the simple response is “who wants to do what everyone else does? “Everyone else” sends their kids to school!!”

    but no, I also have expectations of her behaviour, mostly based on consideration for others and if she cannot behave in that way, have no problem in removing us both from the situation.


  5. I think it’s hard when your child is behaving properly and it’s other kids who are being “naughty” especially if other kids aren’t being corrected in any way. You are in the right here though, absolutely and without any doubt at all. Dropping shoes on heads is not acceptable. I’d complain. Loudly.

  6. I would tend to say “That might be how they behave in their family but in our family we don’t hurt people by dropping shoes on their heads” as the “rules in our family” tends to help them differentiate between why other people are allowed to do something things and they aren’t when its rather an abstract concept really and can be applied to lots of different situations, swearing, fizzy drinks etc. If it was a continuing problem I’d speak to the leisure centre, its not a discussion you want to be having week after week I’m sure!

    • @SallyM yes the “in our family” is a useful part of the conversation, I will be sure to use it. And no, I am getting rather tired of this type of behaviour going on, it makes for a very unpleasant afternoon all round tbh.

  7. I don’t have many expectations of my children (getting fewer by the year as have blogged previously) BUT I do expect to be able to take them out anywhere without having to worry that they are going to be little gits. I think because it has always just been expected that they would behave well, they do. I don’t have to beat it into them, they just don’t see the need to behave in the way that they see many other children behave when out and about, and it is something that has been commented on regularly over the years by surprised members of the public. That’s a damn shame IMO, it shouldn’t be something that has to be remarked on iyswim? I certainly wouldn’t tolerate my children behaving in that way, and it drives me nuts that so many parents think it’s ok. So no, you’re not being harsh, this is the true meaning of socialisation, IMO.

  8. Just thinking about it a little more: I think that the only *thing* that I have always tried to instil in my children is that they do not have the right to hurt or harm anything or anyone – so we don’t go round damaging trees or plants; we don’t hurt people or animals (although since becoming meat eaters this is a grey area :/); we don’t drop litter. It all ties into whole harm none do what ye will, which for me ties into my pagan and anarchistic principles. Of course it isn’t always that black and white, but then the ethical debates are interesting and help everyone to work out what their own ethics are and why.

    • @Tech not harming ppl is actually a very interesting ethical debate in and of itself – and I do tend to extend it to not destroying property/ buildings etc. But we also just have the ‘benches are designed for sitting on, not for standing on’ etc, and it’s that kind of area that is particularly difficult for my children, and where I struggle wondering if actually it’s me that’s too straight-laced (sp? That looks really wrong, but I know what I mean!)

  9. Knowing Small as much as I do (as in, a bit!) I’d say that for him particularly you DO need to. Because like Maddy, he’s always going to have a tendency to follow herds a bit and lots of repetition of “we do not do that” is probably a good thing.

    In terms of the game – if it was utterly harmless and no one could possibly get hurt or harmed, I might smile indulgently. If there is any chance a shoe could land on someone, I’d be on the “no you bloody well don’t!” side.
    Merry recently posted…If you are right- you are almost certainly wrongMy Profile

    • @Merry actually Small very rarely follows the herd – you have to notice them to follow after all 😉 It’s just that you can pretty much guarantee the one moment he *will* be following is the moment you would really rather he wasn’t!

      It seems to me that these games are fraught with possibilities of disaster. They are dropping shoes over a balcony into a cafe area where there are little children, and ppl with hot drinks. So I’m definitely at the not to be done end of the scale on this one.

  10. I expect the same from my children. Teaching them how to behave appropriately in social situations is so important. good for you!

  11. My kids are by no means angels, and because there a are 4 of them, they tend to get quite excited but if we are in a cafe, where there are tables and chairs, then I expect them to sit, and eat and then draw or read or something. I wouldn’t expect them to be climbing banisters and dropping things off them.
    It’s when we are places where there is no area suitable for children that I struggle. They get louder and wilder until someone ends up hurt and crying. Arghh- I get stressed just thinking about it!

    • @Jacq sorry – didn’t mean to cause you stress. I know what you mean about the not suitable for children areas though. This society isn’t by any means as child friendly as ppl would like us to believe.

  12. I don’t think you’re being harsh at all. I would never let my children play a game like that, not in a public place and not where someone could get hurt.

    Today my 7 year old and his friends were kicking the bottom of a wall until it was starting to crumble. I was the only parent that gave my child a few harsh words, everyone else smiled indulgently saying ‘boys will be boys’. I’m afraid I don’t get that, you don’t damage things or hurt things or people. But I definitely felt like the odd one out for making my son stop what he was doing.
    ella recently posted…Parenting Tips- encouraging your children to tidy-up at the end of the dayMy Profile

    • @Ella I hate that odd one out feeling. And I don’t get “boys will be boys.” You can bet it will be the same ppl complaining when teenage boys are yobs, and not tying the two responses together. They are only going to be nice ppl as teenagers and older if decent behaviours are expected and enforced when they are young. Or that is how it seems to me.

  13. I am totally in agreement with you. I would never tolerate that kind of behaviour. I am trying to teach my children to respect others and to respect their surroundings.
    CherishedByMe recently posted…Parenting Tips- Encouraging children to readMy Profile

    • @Nova thank you. Respect is an important word, and one I don’t think we hear enough in the right situations. It’s far too easy for politicians and the media to trot it out when they want to, but they don’t tend to mean it as we do I think.

  14. This is a problem I have as I expect the same things from my two but it is difficult to teach them this when other children around them are doing exactly what I’m telling them they can’t do!

  15. I am learning that I have much higher expectations of my boys than a lot of other mothers, which scares me, as I dont think mine are that high. I often feel that people pander to their children, or just plain ignore them! There needs to be a happy balalnce

    • I know in comparison to a lot of parents around I seem to be being pretty strict, but I think I’m just wanting behaviour that makes everyone’s lives more pleasant. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

  16. My observation is that the general public have a much lower standard of expected behaviour for boys, but I have a very effective glare. I also go as far as “How dare you?” from time to time. I’m well on the way to being an interfering old biddy, in fact.

    • That’s an interesting point. There are girls at the leisure centre, but I’ve not seen them playing the shoe game. They tend to stand around and chat. Is that expectations or training, and is it good or bad?

      I’m also working on channelling Paddington 🙂

  17. I am very much on your side!! Though my kids are not yet 7, but just turned 3, I THINK I would say “They are not very well behaved and if you want to be a well behaved respected individual you don’t do those things”. I would hope, that ahem, that would work. If all else fails, I would prob also say “because I say so”…

    I am definitely one of the stricter parents around, but it is a relative thing. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Nothing wrong with manners and respectfulness and thoughtfulness!

    Good luck!

  18. Expectations lead to training, if training is the word we want here.
    Ailbhe recently posted…Five things I want my children to know about meMy Profile

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