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I know this sounds trivial, but it continues to be a bone of contention with my h.

We travel a lot with him on his business trips to avoid being apart.

It has many good and not so good things about it. But we do have to eat out 3 meals a day while travelling. I have a 5 yr old S and 3 yr old D who are very active. It just seems impossible to get them to sit still and behave like adults, especially when the service is slow. But that's what h expects. Since I don't know any others trying to do this, I just don't know whether to be even tougher on them or to tell him it's not realistic. He says I must not be raising them right.


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My kid was so active I wouldn't even take him into McDonald's until he was 5! He wouldn't sit at all, he just ran around the place!

I have friends with kids the same age and they take them out to eat a lot. What they do is make sure they have plenty of quiet toys with them to keep them occupied while waiting for the food. They tell them what's polite and what's not, but don't get bent out of shape if they don't display perfect manners all the time. If they can't sit still, one of them will take a child for a walk -eve if it's just to the rest room, just so the kid doesn't have to contain his energy and sit still for what seems to him to be an eternity. They're just kids. They have tons of energy and are still learning all about functioning within societal codes. Eventually they will learn 'proper decorum' when in a restaurant but it will take tons of time and patience on the part of their parents.

In answer to your question, your H is not being realistic. Eventually, the kids will learn, but it won't happen overnight. BTW, isn't he raising them, too? Why is it your fault if their behavior isn't what he wants it to be?


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schizzo,

I find if I dose my children with 5 mg of valium about an hour before, they behave just fine...

It's not impossible to get your kids to eat out, but you should go trying to make it as easy a situation as possible. McDonalds with a play pit is great---there the kids can run around like crazy, and occasionally stop for a bite. Restaurants are more difficult---you should try to find places that either will quickly serve you, or ones where you can call ahead so that you can get in and out within 20-30 minutes. It's not a reasonable expectation at ages 5 and 3. At ages 10 and 8, maybe, with lots of training and positive incentives.


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Schizzo,

It is hard. Try taking a 10 yr old, 8 yr old and a 3 yr old! LOL LOL

They aren't little adults so they can't be expected to behave like it. But now is a good time to start teaching them. Try taking along small coloring books and crayons. And try to color a little with them. Sometimes if the parent does something with them, it seems to hold their attention a little longer.

Good luck!

Mitzi


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Thanks for the replies, TS, K, Mitzi.

Actually, I do all these things suggested. Travel outside the country is not always easy to find fast food, nor do I want them to have a steady diet of it. Remember I'm talking 3 meals a day for a 1 to 3 week trip.

I'm actually getting pretty good at it. But my kids are VERY active. I just sometimes wonder when I see a calm, quiet kid sitting so quietly.

I mostly wanted to know if others also find it difficult, because I do keep telling my h they are just kids. Maybe it's his culture. That is one are he is downright rigid.

And I agree with you, TS, isn't he raising them too? He thinks it's mostly my job.

He also comes from a home where his father never lifted a finger, so while I have tried to meet his need for domestic support, I also believe he needs to understand I have one too, even if it is not as high on my list.

I know this is something a lot of couples struggle with. Even when we both worked long hours, he expected me to do all the work at home. He didn't show me that side when we were dating, that's for sure!

Now that I'm staying home, it makes sense that I pick up the larger share at home, but we have still to work this out.

For years, since I had the kids, I was busting my tail to do everything and he still wasn't happy with the results. Meanwhile, I built up resentment.

TS, in a purely practical sense, I have more influence on the kids since I spend much more time with them. On the other hand, a little discipline from him seems to go much further than a lot from me. Nor do I want to be too tough on them. I come from an abusive home and would rather err on not punishing them enough. I would rather work to set them up for success: like the toys and stuff and planning their time so they don't spend it fighting...


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Sure you can teach 'em, but it takes time and it takes them developing the attention span and inner ability to sit still.

At a young age, my kids were great at eating out, staying quiet on airplanes, etc. A close friend of mine's kids took forever to be able to sit still at a restaurant. And, I think we both did the same "right" things...(took crackers, quiet toys/coloring books, etc.). I think the difference was not the parenting skills, but differences in the kids inborn nature.

3 and 5 are pretty young to be expected to behave like grownups. They are still learning these skills. I think your H needs to be a little more realistic.

Kathi


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Here's a tip that I have found extremely helpful in reducing the kinds of behaviors you see in your kids (which are so normal).We sometimes forget the power of positive reinforcement. I have found it extremely effective to dole out positive verbal reinforcemnt in frequent increments.Say for every 3-5 minutes the kids are sitting good and behaving in a manner your H finds acceptable you praise them for it...."wow,I really like the way your are sitting so good/quietly.......you are really getting to be so grown up the way you are waiting so patiently for your meal, I really like that!.....that's really good sitting!" Our kids want to please us and when we make an extra effort to give positive reinforcement instead of reminding them to sit still,be quiet etc. it makes a huge difference.It takes a lot of time and patience for this to work and be effective and sometimes it seems silly to be praising them so often,but as they get better at the behaviors that you/H desire the reinforcement schedule can be thinned.I've learned these behavioral techniques from a specialist working with my 9 yo autistic child and the same techniques have worked wonders with my 7 yo (who you'd think is a monkey!)and my H as well.Good luck and give H the chill pill K recommended

[This message has been edited by mthrrhbard (edited September 11, 2000).]


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Thanks Kathi and mthrrbard.

I don't do near enough positive reinforcement and I've seen it work wonders when I do. Thanks for the reminder.

I think K mentioned giving my kids valium, not my h a chill pill.

Often it is my h that needs the chill pill. We were on vacation in Cozumel a few weeks ago. What a great set-up. A large outdoor restaurant by the pool served up all the meals. Since it was loud and outdoors, there was really no need to get the kids to sit(they both can swim so the pool was a big asset).

H started getting upset at the first meal. I gently pointed out to him that he was making our lives miserable and offered to eat alone with the kids at a different table. There was no reason not to let them loose there. I may have overdone it mentioning another table, but he REALLY chilled the whole week. What a difference.


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Most of the time praise works wonders. One odd thing about my son is that when he was younger, I couldn't praise him at all. As soon as I did, he would stop doing the good thing I wanted him to do. As soon as I called attention to it, it made him unucomfortable to keep doing it and would start acting out. I eventually stopped praising him and resorted to correcting the wrong behaviors instead. While this had better short-term results, the longer-term results were that he developed poor self-esteem. All the messages I gave him were negative because I was so afraid that saying something positive would have the reverse effect of what I wanted. I also had a difficult time finding those moments when he would sit still so that I could praise him for it.

He is now a senior in high school and is much better about receiving praise and he doesn't do much that I have to correct him for anymore. (He's usually a pretty good kid) He still exhibits some of that contrary behavior, though. When he gets a good progress report at school he starts to slack off and ends up failing the very subjects the teachers said he was doing good in. I haven't been able to bereak him of that habit yet. I was finally able to discuss it with him last year. He has no idea why he does it, but he is aware of it and seems to really want to stop doing that, so maybe this year as a more mature kid, he'll be able to correct it. He did good in summer school...even after the teacher said he was.


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I was blessed with three relatively calm little girls. They are all quite athletic (unlike mom) and active, but not particularly loud and been easy to manage in public and private. Still I would shudder to think of eating out with kids your ages on a regular basis.

You have been given some good practical suggestions.

Do you do take-out a lot too? On vacations, we do that as much as posssible so kids can relax in the room.

However, I think you defined part of the problem yourself. Perhaps being from the backround you experienced, you are being too permissive as a parent. And if you feel H is too tough, you might compensate for him, too. Maybe you are sending kids mixed messages.

Luckily, as I said, my kids were easy. But it also helped that my H and I had about the same expectations and did well as a team teaching them self disapline and manners.

My H and I are also kind of low key. We don't yell, we don't even speak loudly. My H is quick in his actions, but I am pretty slow paced and think that relatively "calm" atmosphere rubs off on them as well.

Now I am not knocking you or your parenting skills...the kids are obviously loved and cared for...which is by far the most important thing a parent can do.

I think my H and I successfully seperated disaplining behavior from how we felt about them as people.

The other issue might very well be your H and his culture. He needs Domestic Support big time.

I would go on to assume that he needs this domestic support for two reasons.

1. He wants you too take care of kids/household because he is busy with work AND that is how he is raised and it is basically part of his culture.

2. I would bet that he believes how well his kids behave and how well his wife provides Domestic Support reflects something about him. In other words he needs mannerly kids and supportive wife because others will think more of him...kind of a macho thing.

Of course if #2 is true, it makes this a much more complex issue.

What do you think?


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schizzo,

Sure you can get kids to behave in resturants. We took our kids all over the place at very young age, Europe, Australia, etc. But they are still children and quietly sipping a glass of wine with dinner is not going to do if for them.

One thing we found effective was to talk to the waiter. We brought coloring books, some snack food for them, etc, but it really helped if the kitchen brought the meals out rather promptly, and quite frankly once they saw our three, they decided it was prudent to get the meals to us with some efficiency.

We took them to very nice resturants all over the world, but would also hit the local McDonalds, KFC, whatever for some meals. They are children.

I will admit we didn't linger over coffee or wine when we had them with us. We saved that for our room or when they got slightly older we would put them down to sleep and order something from room service and sit an quietly have a drink or dessert, whatever.

Kids are active but as many have said it can be worked with so that things are pleasant.

I must comment on one other thing and maybe it will help you understand your H a bit better and give you something to talk about. I still travel but I used to travel alot. I had the airport drill down. I knew where to park, what time to hit the airline club to check in, when to get to the gate, how long it would take me etc. When I got there I hit the rental car place grabbed my bag and was out of the airport.

However, when traveling with the family, the drill was shot. I mean moving 5 people through security, baggage drill, you name it it was more complex. It used to really frustrate me. Finally, I realized that this was driving me crazy and I just HAD to back off and realize that with the family, I could not travel as I was used to. It took me awhile to do this.

Your H may be feeling the same frustration and not really appreciate exactly why. I mean he knows the family frustrates him when traveling but not be aware that he is just so used to his routine and having that messed up is bothering him. He will have to get a new routine and his frustration level will drop. Work with him on that. It will help all concerned.

God Bless,

JL


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I agree that it is the h's problem. He really does have inflated ideas for his kids. My "perfectionist" H who came from the age where kids were seen but not heard and a maid took care of them most of the time anyway. I really don't think he has very good parenting skills because his mother hardly ever used them on him.

H has the same problem as yours, but we don't travel on his trips, we can't afford it(though it would have nullified opp. for A!!) However, positive reinforcement works on the H's as well as the kids. You should be used to it through plan A-ing! Compliment him if you notice he is being particularly patient with the kids. Try and get him involved in amusing the kids. IE: paly patterning games with the sugar and sweetner packets, word games.

Our favorite is 1. says a word"cow," 2. takes last letter of word"water" and so on. And don't be afraid to tell the three year old that a w-word is next. They may not be able to spell, but their vocab is big.

ASK the kids to draw Something specific, not just draw, and praise their attempt, or show them one of yours!

Get Dad to tell a story of a time when he was young.

Have comment too on kids behavior--Only things he likes! No complaints, then they start to understand what DAD wants. It is normal for each parent to have different expectations and it is good for the kids to know it without being put down. I wish my H would learn!!!

Etc. These things are supportive to you(you don't have to do all the work) and to the children(getting special att from dad) and will bring him into the picture by making H feel that he is contributing to the kids and their behavior.

B


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FHL, thanks for the reply. I think both 1 and 2 are true.

JL, Sounds like we've been through some of the same life experiences! He travels a lot! In fact, he hasn't spent one little week at home since April. But we have been on most of the trips with him. We will not let the distance build up again.

He too has his routine, including arriving at the airport half hour before flight time, no luggage to check in.

Maybe he realizes in his head that the routine has to change, but he may still feel out of kilter. It is very different travelling with all of us.

He is starting to get used to it. After all, we've spent 16 weeks in hotels year to date. I haven't counted how many more weeks he went without us.

[This message has been edited by schizzo (edited September 11, 2000).]


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JL,

If you're still reading, I wanted to add that he recently passed the 2,000,000 mile mark with one of the major airlines. 2 million miles. That's like crossing the Atlantic 500 times, only many of his trips are shorter than that.

The good thing is so far we have travelled almost exclusively on frequent flyer tickets. This last month we had 3 additional tickets to Cancun and Philadelphia, another 3 to Dublin, another 3 to San Francisco. But the balance never falls below 100,000. I'm a CPA and this one does not add up for me.


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schizzo,

I don't know what doesn't add up. I haven't traveled as much as your H but I am over 1,000,000 on probably the same major airline. But it took me a few years to get there. It really isn't any fun at all to travel like that, but I know quite a few people here where I live that do travel like that.

So I say take those kids every chance you get. They will remember more than you think and they will know that the world is larger than just their friends and neighborhood.

Do speak with the waiter in the resturants. They can be very helpful, and of course if they are not, well they pay the price. Revenge is sweet, right?

Take care,

JL


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It took him a few years for the first million, but the balance has never been much over 100,000. He just seems to earn them as fast as we use them.

We do usually ask the waiter, especially in restaurants where there are few or no other children. Don't mention revenge , there are too many people right now I could fantasize about getting some. But, yeah, the waiters know real soon if their service has been good or not.


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schizzo,

For what its worth, when our kids were small we just changed our expectations. We knew that if we were hoping for a nice, orderly, quiet, sit-down dinner we were bound to be disappointed. Accepting that made everything easier.

We decided to just go with the flow. If the squirrels needed to walk, we got up and walked around outside, explored inside, whatever. I used the opportunity to tell them stories from memory. We played games. Rock,paper,scisors is one of our favorite restaurant games. I gave them spelling words and math problems.

Did I eat a lot of cold meals. Yes ma'am. But who cares. Over time they could go longer and longer without needing to be entertained. People have always been impressed with how calm and patient they are.

Bottom line: It is a temporary problem. Temporarily change your expectations (and H's if possible) and take the pressure off.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

------------------
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23


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2sad,

Thanks for posting. Haven't heard from you in so long, how are you?

I think what you said is the best answer. I don't have many expectations when it comes to dining out with them. I wonder if my h can lower his, I've been trying to get him in that direction. Funny, it's when I reduce my expectations of him and really back off that I usually see some changes in my big kid.


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schizzo,

Thanks for asking about my status.

Well, for many months we were getting nowhere and I was routinely hammered for suggesting that W wasn't putting forth much effort. Two weeks ago she admitted that she really hadn't been putting forth much effort for the last 8 months. She apologized and promised to work harder. I asked what would change. She had no answers.

I think her intentions are good. I think she WANTS to want to rebuild our marriage. But I think she is still emotionally constipated. She is unable to express love for me. She seems to be sort of going thru the motions, but the intrinsic motivation just isn't there.

I am so jealous of those WS that make such grand statements like "I want to spend the rest of my life trying to be the person you thought I was". I am very much feeling like I am being "settled for". Ouch.

We are still in counseling. Every week for well over a year now. But only now is she REALLY serious. Hmmph. (sigh)

------------------
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23


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emotionally constipated, hum, haven't heard that one LOL.

I too have recently heard that only now is he serious about meeting my needs, that he wants to.

Maybe WS are the less likely do the hard work to begin with. They often have a more "romantic" sense of love as something that just happens, so they find someone else.

I have learned so much from Dr. Harley. It takes out the magic in some ways, but the good feelings are a result of doing certain things. Yeah, you can have it for a little while the easy way with someone new, but it doesn't last.

I have debated with some WS on this site, women who want to feel first. It won't happen.

It's a good sign that she is serious but you are right to ask what will change. I do too.

Did you counsel with the Harleys? We did and she helped us step by step to implement plans to meet each other's needs. It was never how are you feeling? It was are you doing the plan?

If you haven't had this kind of help, you may want to try the phone counselling. For me, affection was big. I drew up a list, he had to give me 3 hugs, say I love you, etc. It was all a choice he made, not some gushy feelings. But still it was true, he did love me, though not in-love.

You say you are jealous of those whose WS say they want to spend their lives proving they are...Mine has now said it, but it only means something as I begin to see him DOING IT. And he is, but it has taken a lot of patience.


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