What is it about parents and their desire to save face in public? I'm talking about other parents, of course. Not me. I don't care what other people think about my parenting. But I'm talking about all those other parents out there. These parents want everyone to think they are in control, that their children have self-awareness, that they have been cultured in the finer ways of socially acceptable behavior. These parents never let their children play chase in and among the racks of clothes at Target. These parents strike deals with their children at the entrance of the grocery store to either stay in or out of the shopping cart, then actually use the words "breach of contract" when the children don't comply. These parents try to reason with their children, who lie prostrate on the floor of Walmart, that just because Lightning McQueen is on that can of tuna fish, it will still taste like tuna fish. Oh bless their hearts, these parents. What these parents need to understand is that this has nothing to do with their parenting. It doesn't. Conscious Discipline, Love and Logic, Dr. Spock? These are all great resources, but if you want to understand what makes children tick, you must understand how their brains are organized. You see every child has a complex database filled with every possible scenario you and your child might encounter together. Each scenario then has two possible responses: Pride and Mortification. For example, say you are eating in a restaurant and when the food is delivered to your table, it is discovered that there is something on your child's plate that he doesn't want to eat. Say, for instance, that item is green beans. Instantly, your child's brain recognizes this scenario and must choose which response to use in this instance. If the restaurant is relatively empty and no one is watching, your child's brain will send the message, "Eat some green beans and finish the food on your plate you do like." Pride. And somehow we as parents want to take credit for this. However, if the waitress happens to be at the table refilling everyone's water and a kind old lady has stopped by to tell you she has twin grandkids who are 6 and a man sees my hat and comes over to ask me how I think Virginia will do in basketball this year, the child's brain will key in on this context and send the message, "Scoop up green beans with your bare hand and throw them across the table while screaming, 'I don't like green beans!' then proceed to not eat any of your food and run around the restaurant." Mortification. And we guilt ourselves into thinking we have failed as parents, which isn't the case at all. Are you still skeptical? I promise, this is all true. I've tested it, and here is a graph of some preliminary results.
I hope this is helpful to those parents who feel the need to save face in public. Your children aren't purposely trying to act like Veruca Salt. They have just been blessed with incredibly complex cognitive abilities, and they are learning how to harness the power. I'm sure even Batman rolled over a few curbs before he perfected his Batmobile mojo; Superman probably hit a few trees in the beginning; Spiderman definitely got caught in his own web a few times. Children are constantly learning. This will continue until your children become teenagers, when the tables get suddenly turned. Until that glorious day, just roll with it.