One of the biggest problems with being a mom, is that we sometimes have a blind eye to our children’s errors. Ask us what Joey’s mom is doing wrong, and we have a list! Ask us how Suzy’s mom is spoiling her brood, and we can come up with 10 examples in less than 30 seconds! Ask us what we are doing wrong in raising our own kids, and … crickets! Silence! As much as we try, it is hard to see where our own child rearing mistakes are! How can we find out what our blind eye does not tell us? How can we tell if we are raising a brat?
Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself to determine if your child is a brat!
1. Does my child get invited over for play dates with friends, or do the other parents discourage their children from inviting my child to their home?
Other parents know and talk. If your child is the child that other parents are afraid to let their kids hang around, then you can pretty much determine that your child is a brat! Think about the times you went to a friend’s house. Did you teach your child to not jump on the furniture or were they teaching your friend’s children how fun it was to jump from one couch to the next? Did you teach him to pick up the toys or did they leave the play room a huge mess? When it was time to go, did your child acquire a favorite toy that he screamed to be able to take home so much that you had to tell your friend that you would return the toy the next Sunday at church! Did you allow your child to say that they did not like the meal or beverage that was served and did you ask your hostess for chocolate to put into the milk as your child is not used to drinking milk without chocolate in it? If yes to any of the above, then your child is a brat!
2. When eating at a restaurant do the other patrons keep giving your table “the look”?
A few years ago we had some guest stay in our home whose children were about the worst children I have ever met in my life. At that time we had five children and they had two. I remember a lot of things about their stay with us … (the worst being when their daughter walked into my room and saw my son doing his Abeka video school and proceeded to walk over to him and tell him “Why do you have my videos!” and proceed to slap him across the face!) … but what struck me as absolutely mind boggling was meal time. Every single meal their two children would be screaming at the table. They would be screaming for food, for their beverage, for a napkin. To this date I can’t figure out how children can cause such a ruckuss at the table, but it was so bad that conversation was absolutely impossible. We had it planned to take them to a nice restaurant and in retrospect, that should have been cancelled. I remember the looks from the waiters, the waitresses, the restaurant manager, and the people at the other tables. I simply wanted to crawl under the table. There was no conversation, just a hurried meal to try to get out as fast as possible! Be aware! If your waitress seems to be trying to get your table in and out as fast as possible, consider the possibility that your child is a brat!
3. Does your child’s past teachers remember your child’s name years and years later even though they only had your child in their classroom for one year and the reason they remember your child is NOT because they were their star pupil?
Any teacher will tell you that on the first day of a new school year, usually within hours, they can tell you if your child is a brat or not! It usually starts during roll call. While the rest of the kids are sitting patiently at their desks with their new clothes or new uniforms, trying desperately to get on the teachers good side, trying to make a good impression and make some friends, there is always one child that just doesn’t care. This child will standup, make noises, start walking around the classroom, talk without being called upon, and within the first few hours, the teacher has had to call their name at least 5 times and usually 10. Moral of the story: If your child’s teacher knows your child by name on the first day of school… that is usually not a good thing!
Now that we have looked at three ways to determine if your child is a brat or not, ask yourself honestly… is my child a brat? All kids have potential to have a bad day. Every parent knows what it is like for a child to have a melt down at a restaurant or a store. It is how you as the parent decides to react to the situation that will determine if your child is going to be a brat or just have a bad day!
If you have realized that there are some areas that need improvement what should you do?
- Stop and pray for help from Him! God wants us to raise awesome children and many times we get so caught up in “doing” what is right, that we forget that sometimes it is a Spiritual problem that God can help us with, if we ask Him. Take the time to pray. Ask God to show you your faults as a parent. Ask God to give you wisdom on how to handle the situation. Ask God for guidance on how to make changes in your parenting life.
- Find one mom with absolutely awesome kids and ask her for help. If you don’t know who has awesome kids, call up your pastor and ask him to recommend someone to you. Tell him you are looking for a mom that has kids the same age as yours to help give you some tips and advice … to be your mommy coach! If you are humble and honestly seek help from another mom, you will be amazed and what you can learn!
- Create a Reward Chart and sit down with your kids and discuss rewards and consequences! As Baptist moms we are taught SO much about discipline. Most of the preaching we hear is all about how spanking is the cure for raising good kids. Even some would go so far as to say that having a rewards chart is likened to being liberal or compromising. What we forget is that our children need a balance! They need to know that when they break a rule, there are consequences. But life is all about rewards! We want to teach them that if they work hard to overcome their bad habits, they will have a happier, more enjoyable and successful life! Reward good behavior.
Now I want to ask you! What do you think? How can you determine if your child is a brat? How can you begin to overcome the bratty behavior? What strategies have you used to overcome bad behavior?