Guest Post: Parenting in Public

Parenting in Public by Cerebral Tickle
The other day, I took my 3 year old and 4 year old sons with me to do the food shopping.   They began doing what they always do:  run around, touching everything, climbing on anything, etc..  It lasted for all of 2 seconds.  While I am a firm believer in allowing children the freedom to play, explore, satisfy their curiosity, etc. I am an equally firm believer that there is a time and place for everything, and the market is not the place to climb onto tables and shelves, touching eggs and other produce.  I did what I always do:  have them ‘freeze’, place their hands on their heads, distribute their weight evenly on their feet, stand still while I finish what I am doing, then walk in a straight line  to the next stop.  That apparently amused a group of older women who decided to make such a scene that it attracted a bunch of onlookers.  I felt like I was the star of a freak show.
I could not help but wonder what I had done to warrant that much attention.  I later learned that these ladies were impressed that I controlled my children’s behaviour, but simultaneously amused at the ‘put your hands on your head’ technique.  It got me to wondering, what do other parents do which works?  I have seen parents who let their children run amuck without so much as attempting to correct them, and I have also seen those who try to talk their children into good behaviour, sometimes with results, but many times without.  Regardless of the scenario, I usually just mind my own business and go about doing my thing.  Do I agree with every parenting technique I’ve seen outside?  No.  Would I comment whether I agreed with or disliked the way a parent dealt with her child?  No.  So why do other people feel the need to comment on what I do?  I know that everyone will have an opinion about anything he/she witnesses, but I do not expect complete strangers to voice them to me, even when they are about me.

At the end of the day, I have been left feeling very self conscious about what I can say or do in public, to keep my children’s behaviour in check, not just out of the fear of being critiqued, but out of the fear of me becoming the centre of attention.  Am I the only one afraid to parent her children in public?Photobucket

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  • That sounds like a great way to control your children's behaviour! I have a 2 year old who likes to run around like crazy wherever we go and I would love for something like this to work for her. The freeze technique works so well for my class at school (i'm a teacher) so maybe when she gets a bit older and 'gets' it, this will work for my daughter too.

    I do get embarrassed in public, like once she was having a tantrum and wouldn't get off the floor so I moved her to a spot out of the way and sat down on the floor with her until she decided to stop. There was no convincing her otherwise. And loads of people came up to me to say it was wrong to let her lay on the ground like that etc. If I tried picking her up she would just kick and thrash around. She did stop after a few minutes and we carried on with our outing but I was embarrassed and wanted to cry because I felt like people were judging me.

  • I think I would have found it strange watching children walk with their hands on their head! But I would have been very impressed that you kept them in control! So many kids run riot outside it would be nice to see disciplined children more often!

  • assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu!!!

    masha'Allah to this idea!!! i dont have kids but i want them so i can try this technique lol!! and of course i want kids insha'Allah!!!!

    i really want to know how you did that!!!!??
    btw great blog Muslim Mummy!!!! cute name too!
    Khadijah @