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Why do we, as parents, sometimes feel entitled? Why don’t we know where to and where not to take our kids, especially toddlers and younger children, along?
Before I begin, I’d like to apologize because I guess I’m going to offend the sensibilities of some people, especially exhausted young parents. Trust me, I get you. That’s perfectly alright. I understand it’s a touchy topic.
Recently, I went out to a movie with my best friend. We were able to catch up and sneak in the time for ourselves after weeks of planning and adjusting our busy work schedules. The movie was good, but the whole experience wasn’t. We missed out on dialogues and continuity.
The young couple next to us had a one-year-old with them, who was constantly screaming, crying, and getting restless in the dark theatre. And being a parent myself, I completely get that. There was nothing in there for the child.
The parents were having a tough time. But not that I had any sympathy or empathy for them. Rather, I was distraught and angry at them for having spoiled a good three hours for us, and many others too!
And add to it the fact that they kept feeding him nachos and soda to mellow the child down and keep him occupied, is another story altogether! That’s exactly how unhealthy eating patterns are built and reinforced. Well, that’s a topic for another time.
I was torn with deep self-doubt that was I being insensitive? Well, I guess the answer is NO. I had every right to have a good peaceful time, I deserved it and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
Why do we, as parents, sometimes feel entitled? Why don’t we know where to and where not to take our kids, especially toddlers and younger children, along? Why are we just assuming that everyone else will be happy and open to adjusting?
Raising a child is a learning process, and so is parenting. Being a parent does not and must not stop us from being responsible for others’ sensitivities, comforts and needs.
I am not an expert at parenting, I’ve made, and I will still make many more mistakes in future! My share of parenting faux pas’, but with time I’ve learned a thing or two, which I believe sharing with other parents might help them in a way or two.
When my twins were younger, we took them along only under specific conditions and to specific places, and at specific times.
The simple thumb rule was to avoid closed spaces that could make the children claustrophobic, crowded places that could make a child anxious, and places where people value their time and privacy.
There are many places we didn’t go to; the spa, movie theatre, fine dining restaurants, and places of worship, for a long time because putting the kids and others through a harrowing time wasn’t exactly our idea of fun. Also, we’d never plan anything around their sleep time.
If leaving them wasn’t an option, the next best was not to go at all. And all the while we were mindful of the fact that it’s a small parenting sacrifice, and it’s a temporary one. As parents, we were supposed to sacrifice for our child and not expect the rest of the world to comply.
However, we were more than happy to take them along to play dates at my friends’ places, amusement parks, lunches, and dinners hosted by very close friends and extended family, and sometimes at my workplace. Hospital lobbies, trains, and airports are of course sometimes not avoidable.
As young parents of infants and toddlers, you need to understand that ‘sometimes’ sacrificing some ‘fun-stuff’ too is a part of parenting. It’s just a matter of time before the children are grown up enough to be left behind by themselves, or with a caretaker or friends or extended family, and you can once again have all the fun you missed out on.
And no, not everyone will love having to put up with your howling child in a movie theatre! It may sound brutal and insensitive, and you may hate me for telling this to you, but honey, it’s true.
Image Source: Clip Image from Best of Luck Niki on Hotsatr via Canva Pro
I am a 37-year-young mother, writer, dreamer, fitness enthusiast and...oh yes, an Economist too. Like any average woman my age, I juggle between caring for my kids, running a house and a read more...
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