Now, I might be in denial, but for the most part my kids are pretty well-behaved in public. We are past the toddler years of throwing out-right fits, and they know by now that no matter how much they whine, cry, or bargain no means no. It took a few LONG years of staying strong for this to happen.
For example: One day when Drew was 3 years old we had a fun day planned with shopping and a trip to the museum. This little adventure was 1 hour and 15 minutes away. As we walked into the very first store, he started throwing a fit over some thing he "had" to have. I told him to stop or we were going home. Did he stop? (You all know the answer.......) He threw himself on the ground, kicked his wee little legs, and wailed.
It wasn't pretty.
I picked him up, marched his little butt back to the car, and we drove the 1 hour and 15 minutes back home. He cried for 20 minutes. That was taking a stand. The next time he threw a fit all I had to do was remind him about that day and he would stop. Was it easy? Heck no. But, after a few really strong stands on Bart and my part things eventually got easier.
I thought we had it all together. Ooooo yeah, look at me, the super mom. Let's face it..... I needed to be taken down a peg or two.
Today my boys couldn't keep their hands to themselves. "MOM! HE IS TOUCHING ME!" They crawled in and out of clothing racks, they whined, they twirled circles in the dressing rooms, and they fought with each other when my back was turned. I was the mom overwhelmed by her children and getting stares from other shoppers (all whom were kid-less.)
Looking back, I should have know better than to drag a 7 and 4 year old shopping. But in my defense, it was strangely good for them. Yes, it was not super-mondo-fun, but sometimes we have to do things that aren't. Everyday can't be filled with pools, play dough, and Chucky Cheese levels of excitement. Sometimes we have to suck it up and do something we deem "boring" in life, right?
What I have gathered from the fiasco of a day is that we as parents are never really quite done. Our kids don't have a list of lessons to learn that we can check off. "#34 No whining.....lesson learned, check!" It's much more complicated than that.
So, set backs happen. We are still learning here, but I think that is good. The important thing is not to give up. You have to keep teaching, no matter how many tries it takes. Life Lessons are never easy, but they are oh so valuable.
Plus, their wives will thank me one day. ;)