What kind of parent are you?
Are you too strict, too permissive or just right?
Are you worried about what kind of parent you are?
One good way to see if your parenting skills are what they should be is to see how you handle things in public and around friends and other family members.
You don't necessarily need to care about what other people think about your parenting skills, but if you are an effective parent, your techniques likely won't change much just because you aren't alone at home with your kids.
Are you afraid to discipline your kids in public because you think other people might think you are too strict? If you mainly spank you kids when they are bad, then you likely might think twice about using this method in public.
Do you usually just give in to get your kids to stop what they are doing? Other people likely won't think very highly of your parenting skills if you just buy your children whatever they want if they are having a tantrum at the store.
Or do you sit them down before going into the store or someone else's house, explain the rules and your expectations, and be prepared to follow through with a time-out, taking away a privilege, or just going home if your kids are acting up when you are out?
This last method is usually the one that is most effective.
Setting rules and reminding your children of them and what you expect of them is often one of the most useful things you can do. So tell your kids about the 'rules in the store', such as 'no running, jumping, yelling, or grabbing things.' Or the 'rules at a friends house', including 'no fighting, play nice and share the toys'.
Can you think of some 'rules at a restaurant'?
Follow the rules with an explanation of what will happen if your kids don't follow the rules, such as no TV when you get home, a time-out in front of the store or in the car, or not being able to go to the store with you next time.
And then be prepared to follow through if your child doesn't follow the rules. It can be hard to leave a shopping cart full of food at the store as you take your child out for a time-out, but if you aren't consistent and don't follow through with your punishments, every trip to the store will likely end up the same.
It can also help to keep your children distracted at the store. Maybe they could push their own cart, pick out some of their own foods or snacks, or get a treat if they are good.
Also, pick a time to go out when your child is well rested and isn't going to be too hungry, restless, tired, etc.
And be sure to give a lot of praise and positive attention when your child does well at the store, at a friend's house, or restaurant.
Take this Parenting Style Quiz to see what kind of parent you are or talk about parenting in public in our message forums to see how you and other parents handle discipline in public.