The horror of horrors for all parents is when their
children act like twerps in public.
Kids rely on parents to be embarrassed. They hope we
let them get away with stuff in public because we’re
too embarrassed to raise our voices and keep them in
line, so they think they have the upper hand.
It doesn’t matter how good we parent at home. Kids
live in the present. And when it comes to behavior in
public, there’s no time like the present — and they go
That’s why God gave parents superpowers.
At the first sign of trouble a parent must be able to
halt a child with a glance. Now this is a very
powerful glance. One eye squints while the eyebrow
over the other eye rises very slowly. Yet, in order
for this glance to work, it requires that you first
catch your child’s attention.
To remedy this God made parents ventriloquists. When
your child won’t hold still long enough for the glance
to work, you clamp your teeth together and growl:
“Knock it off!”
Of course, most children pretend they don’t hear.
They just carry on, bobbing around in place and making
a fuss. So God gave parents heat-ray vision.
Heat-ray vision allows a parent to zero in on a child
and glare him or her into submission. It’s called
“The Look.” It’s when a parent’s eyes narrow into two
very small slits. Kids know that when they get “The
Look” they have crossed over the double line and are
headed for disaster if they keep it up.
But, knowing kids — especially my boys — danger just makes
shenanigans all the more exciting.
So I’m out in public and I’ve tried to catch my oldest
son’s attention with a glance. When that fails, I
grit my teeth and throw my voice, telling him to “Sit
down and be quiet!”
This buys me about three minutes of compliance. Then,
the antics start up again.
To the outside world parents in public don’t look as
harried as they feel when they throw their voices and
use heat vision to get their kids to settle down.
This is why most parents look clueless to certain
people who do not have kids but who think they know
better how to parent than the parents themselves.
Parents aren’t zoning, they’re using another God given
power called mind over matter. “I don’t mind because
you don’t matter.” This allows parents to cool down
and get emotional distance while they gather their
If you listen carefully, you might hear that mother
using another superpower — guilt. “I carried you for
nine-months and give birth to you and THIS is the
thanks I get?”