Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

Each time I go to a grocery store, a restaurant, a park, etc., I hear back and forth arguing between children--as young as two to three--and their parents. Then, my own two children, same age, say exactly the same words to me. What in the heck is going on with today's kids and parents? Are parents afraid to tell these bratty kids to shut up?

I noticed that my two kids started arguing with my husband and I quite a bit and searched for a reason why. It didn't take long because I quickly became aware that my husband and I seemed to argue frequently about bills and money. When I pointed this out to him, we changed the way we talked to each other and started to become more civil in all of our discussions. It wasn't something we could change over night, but it certainly made a big difference with our kids as well as in our household. - T. B. in San Diego, CA

Today's kids seem to be more verbal perhaps because they are simply exposed to much more at an earlier age. Most go to a mother's day out program, preschool and/or play groups where they are encouraged to participate in group discussions and to share their thoughts. Many have already been using some type of digital device which in many cases provides instant gratification for the correct choices. This provides positive reinforcement for their actions and a platform to have an opinion of their own. They think it's perfectly fine to express how they feel and most of the time, it is, if it's done in a non-confrontational manner. But at this age, in many instances, they lack the ability to know when to comment on something and how to do it. So to answer your question, yes, many parents are apprehensive to tell their children to be quiet in public for fear of a temper tantrum from the child. Also, many parents who have kids this age may be young themselves and either want to avoid a full blown confrontation or maybe lack the parenting skills to turn the situation around and handle it in an appropriate manner. However, keep in mind that young children are like little parrots and pretty much just repeat things that they hear or have recently heard either at home, on TV, in movies, from others, etc. That's why even when we think they're not paying attention, they are. They're very much aware of the tone of voice or mood in whatever is going on around them, even if we're only talking on the phone. Parents need to always keep this in mind and not only monitor what they're saying and how it's being said, but to also strive to be a good role model. It takes a little time, but is certainly worth it.

My husband's sister has a babysitting business in her house. She is licensed to watch five kids and offers to watch our two kids every other week while we go on job interviews. We both have part-time jobs and are looking for full time work, so money is a little tight. Should we pay her what she charges her regular customers or what we can afford at this time?

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