By Karen Ryce
Q: “I was in the post office last week and there was a mother with two young children, one about two and a help, and the other maybe three and a half. The children were running wild, knocking over the waste paper baskets, screaming. The mother stayed in line, but was trying to control them, scolding them; the children just ignored her. I was wondering how you might have handled this.”
H.M., Briceland, CA
A: Preparation can be very valuable. Maybe there was someone the children could have stayed with while she did errands which were boring for them. If not, maybe she could have brought something along for them to do while she waited in line.
But we are not always prepared and sometimes must make the best of what is available around us. She could have asked someone to save her place in line, then intercepted her children and got down to eye level with them. Children this young are not very skilled at obeying orders, it is better to engage their interest, to challenge them.
- They might like to hear a story while they all wait in line together.
- She might suggest that they can help her get what they need from the post office. When they are first in line she can lift them up to help, maybe only one at a time, if they are too heavy.
- If she takes out her important things, they might be entertained by looking through her purse.
- Maybe some forms and a couple of pencils would keep them busy for the necessary time.
- If a parent is determined, peaceful, mutually satisfying solutions can be found.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Ryce, the Miracle Worker of Education and Parenting, has used the Power of Respect for more than 35 years. She started a Montessori school in 1973, gives talks and workshops to parents and teachers.