You Might Be a Pushy Parent- I Was

I am sure that none of you were the pushy parents who were so poorly behaved at Pez’s Easter Egg Hunt last week. Missed it? Check this out.  

What kind of parents bowl over toddlers for a few pieces of free candy? You might be surprised.

I think I might be guilty of this. Maybe you are too.

Parents are rushing their kids into things they aren’t ready for, because it is fun…for the parents.

It seems obvious that an Easter Egg hunt should be kids only, right? But what if you are afraid that your little one won’t get any candy or that your 2 year old can’t stake her own claim against those monster huge 4 year olds? Then it is ok for parents to help, right? Wrong! Kid focused, kid friendly events should be about kids but I think we’ve made them about us.

1 year olds do not ask for a catered birthday parties that look like prom, with smash cakes just for a great (professional) photo.

Now that mine are teens I feel like I am finally putting the brakes on- slow down please, grow slower, be just a little less independent. For so long I couldn’t wait until they hit each next milestone and so it felt reasonable to push them just a little bit.

I remember taking them to sit on Santa’s lap and having them cry. I remember taking them to see movies where we made it 20 minutes. I wanted them to go to the Science Museum long before they could be awed by dinosaur bones. I took food home from so many restaurants because by the time it got to the table I was done wrangling the kids.

A few years ago we took the boys to Disney- I learned the hard way with the first one that toddlers do not belong in the Magic Kingdom. I watched parents pay thousands of dollars for the “vacation of a lifetime” with fussy toddlers who wanted thought the best thing about the park was twirling round and round the light posts.

I follow parenting sites where people are looking for dance classes and soccer for 2 year olds- paying money to organize, schedule, structure what could be organic play.

So much of parenting stress is how do we get them to behave in places that aren’t very kid friendly. If you have been in one of my workshops you have likely heard my Target rant but…

Research says that Target and Walmart are the #1 place for PTSD triggers for combat vets. They are designed by brilliant marketing minds to increase impulsive behaviors. They are intentionally over stimulating and you know it. You stop by to grab milk and bread and pay $100 for God knows what that you didn’t know you needed. That is your naughty behavior and you decided to go there.  How are we supposed to expect 3 year olds, who are very appropriately  impulsive, emotional and intense, to “be good” at Target when we can’t be?

I know it is easy for me to say, I got to rush mine through but I think it is time that we let them be babies. We must listen to who they are and what they need and wait. Wait for them to ask for a party or a movie or to see Santa. We have to wait for them to be ready to behave at church and restaurants and Target. There are amazing moments ahead but having kids means that you become a supporting rather than leading actor in this story.

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