It is not uncommon for children to get caught up in the excitement of being at a party and for their normal good behavior to go right out the window because of it.
If your child has been acting up or embarrassing you with their behavior at social functions, here are some things you can do.
Discuss the Party Rules Beforehand
One of the best ways to nip bad public behavior in the bud is to discuss the rules with your child before you even arrive at the occasion.
Explain what you expect of them and what the repercussions will be if they do not listen. For example, explain that when you call them that you expect them to come to you immediately without argument. If they do not, tell them that they will be punished as soon as you get home. Or, if you instruct them to calm down because they are getting a little crazy and they choose not to listen, that you will make them leave the party immediately. The message will sink in deeper if you have this discussion quietly beforehand as opposed to in the middle of chaos when they are already over-hyped.
Warn Them in Advance What Time You Will Be Leaving
Having a son of my own, it seems the biggest meltdowns always seemed to happen when I would tell him it was time to leave. I guess I really couldn’t blame him. Who does want to leave a party when they are having such a good time? I found things went much smoother when I told him in advance what time we would be leaving before we even arrived. For example, if I told him we would be leaving at 5:00 pm or that we would be taking off right after the birthday cake was served. This way he was prepared and not caught off guard. There were even times he would come up and ask me what time it was and if I told him it was 4:30, he would run and tell his friends that they had to do something they planned now because he had to leave in half an hour. This avoided many a public argument.
Practice At Home
If your child is younger, practice some “party manners” at home. For example, pretend you are an adult giving them a piece of cake they might not like. Show them how to politely say “no thank you” as opposed to “Yuck! I don’t want that!”
Turn Good Manners into a Game
Most kids loved to be included in a “secret.” So tell them that you will have Secret Signals that you will give them that only the two of you will know about. For example, if you touch the side of your nose it means that you want them to calm down. If you give the O.K. sign it means you want them to come to you, etc. Give them their own secret return signal so you know (and they know) that they got the message clearly. This will avoid a lot of chasing and yelling in pubic and will make them feel as they are involved in a special “secret” game.
Don’t Make The Argument Public
If you find your child still isn’t listening to you or is still misbehaving, pull them aside into another room and explain what they are doing wrong and exactly how you would like them to behave. Again, threaten punishment when they get home or tell them you will leave immediately if they don’t change their behavior, but do not embarrass both of you by screaming about it in public.