Managing Troublesome Kids in Public Places

We all know how kids especially babies and toddlers can be “oh so adorable”!There are many instances of strangers bonding right away with babies by pulling their cheeks, cooing to them, or making funny faces to make them laugh.But, there’s the other side of this universe that very few talk about. Troublesome kids. Kids creating a nuisance. Kids being rude and nasty. However, what’s even worse than the kids’ behaviors is the fact that their parents are completely oblivious to them. It’s like they are in denial or they just don’t care.There was this lady from the neighborhood who used to visit a friend’s home with her pair of twins. While the mother sat down to a cup of tea and the latest gossip, the kids ran amok around the house, upsetting furniture, squeezing out toothpaste from the tube and smearing it on walls, breaking crayons into pieces, and more. Their mother, when confronted with their annoying behavior, would shrug it off with a giggle saying they were “just being little boys”. Many such incidents happen in public places too - parks, museums, public transport, supermarkets, and more.Consider a simple shopping trip to the supermarket. You go out to buy some groceries and essentials. You encounter a bratty kid throwing items off the aisles, punching the chips packets, and toppling the stacked bottles. Unable to see the mess, you try to set things right and attempt to rearrange some of the items but get poked in the eye by the grinning kid. Exasperated, you come face to face with the kid’s parents and what do you see? They are sweetly coddling their bratty son. Surely, they can see the awful mess the kid has made? But, no they don’t. They just sidestep it and exit the supermarket.This isn’t an isolated instance. There are many. It is understandable that raising kids isn’t easy and is quite a daunting task. Yet that’s no excuse to let your child get away with bad manners or behavior in public.Children may be born with a number of inherent abilities, but to behave nicely is not one of them. It is up to you as parents to teach your little boy or girl how to behave in public.There are several ways in which you can get your child to mind you and be on their best behavior when they go out. 1. Start early Cultivate good manners in them from a young age. Kids begin to realize that other people around them have feelings just like them by around 18 months. So that is when you should start grooming your child towards becoming a polite human being. This will lay the foundation for your child’s entire life.2. Teach them table manners and etiquette Right from when the child is a two or three year old, teach them the right and wrong way of eating food. No throwing of food on the floor. No spitting out on plate. No grabbing food from others’ plates. If guests are eating with you, be extra mindful of manners. Encourage them to use words like “please”, “sorry”, and “thank you” as and when the need arises.


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3. Talk to other parents to learn how they do it Seeing a really well-behaved child? Compliment the parent on the child’s behavior and get the parent to share their tips on how they achieved it. You may also, if needed, read books, websites, and watch videos to gain insights on how to bring out good behavior in your children.4. Lead by exampleRemember you are their forever role model. They emulate your actions subconsciously. So if you are polite, well-behaved, and kind, they will follow in your footsteps.  5. Be patientThe process of cultivating good manners is long and will need patience. It also takes lots of practice and reinforcement, so make sure that you and your spouse/your partner (and other family members including in-laws if you stay with them) are consistent in what you encourage and discourage in the children. If you are strict in enforcing good etiquette, but your inlaws are lenient, the kids will get away with it and not sustain their learnings from you. You all need to be on the same page.