Compliments and Criticism

I admit, I'm hard on my kids and I expect a lot out of them. I don't tolerate attitudes, mean behavior, or loud conversations in public. I make them say "yes sir" and "yes ma'am", I make them say "please", "thank you", and "I'm sorry". I make them work out disagreements on their own and I don't allow them to express their frustrations with nasty attitudes or mean looks, and I definitely don't allow talking back under any circumstances. I've had strangers (even those that aren't strangers) look at me as if my parenting style is inappropriate. It's hard to swallow because I often second guess if I'm even doing this whole "mom thing" correctly anyway.
But I'm reminded that I've had a multitude of other strangers tell me that my children better behave in public than any they've ever seen. I'm constantly told after picking them up from family, Sunday school, and Preschool, that they were "perfect" or "they're always so well behaved". Kids don't grow up being well behaved on their own, there's always someone behind them making the hard choices, enforcing discipline, and correcting them even when it's heartbreaking. There's always someone noticing when one child feels left out and needs extra attention. So for all those mom's that need reassurance today, know that when someone praises your child's behavior, they're praising your parenting skills. Make those hard decisions, expect a little more out of your kids, and don't be afraid to discipline behavior you don't want to see. It's an everyday battle, but when you see your 3-year old apologize without being told, saying thank you to strangers, or using nice verbal communication in the face of an argument, it's one of the most rewarding feelings! They'll grow up to be who you taught them to be, so teach them to be who you want them to be.

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