Sitting on a beach is a great place to observe people. It is a fabulous canvas of human interaction and behaviour. Sunglasses on and magazine open, a busy beach day affords you the sights and sounds of how others behave, relax, vent, how they handle sand……and yes, how they parent. Now I may in the past have told you that it is important to parent in a way that suits you and is based around your own core values and beliefs and that we should avoid making judgements about others decisions. However, I have to say sometimes it is really hard not to judge people or get annoyed by their actions (yes you people that on a day that is not so busy you put your whopping big tent right in front of me despite the fact that I am clearly trying to keep my eyes on children playing in sand and sea). Sometimes you just want to put your hand on their shoulder and say….”hey….I have some advice for you……”
Now of course I wouldn’t, as that would come across as arrogant. I am also aware that we are not privy to all that is going on with people, what kind of day they have had, what stresses they may encounter with their life, their children or their work. However……if I was to give some advice to a few of the parents I observed over my beach holiday it would be this…..Let it go and move on!
To the guy who berated his son for a good hour about the fact that he got sand on his wetsuit then sat in the pram…..don’t come to the beach if you don’t like sand. Tell your child that him messing up the pram with sand is annoying, but for goodness sake get over it and enjoy the rest of the day with your children. Our children need boundaries and we must be able to tell them off…but lets keep it in perspective. I dread to think what you do when they do something really bad.
If you feel yourself getting stressed about sand on towels, getting flicked with water or a stray beach ball, remember to ask yourself how important is the annoyance in the big scheme of things. And what is the worst that can happen? Remember that children don’t see things the same way we do. What is important to us is rarely as important to them. We can help teach them, we can correct them, we can tell them off when they do the wrong thing….but for goodness sake if you are lucky enough to spend the whole day at the beach with your children…then don’t waste it being angry, agitated and grumpy!
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I am so with you. We have started using the “under react rule” it works so well in our relationship and with the kids. I am with you, if you don’t like sand in everything – don’t go to the beach. From IBOT 🙂
I totally agree with this sentiment. I sometimes think the idea of a day on the beach simplifies what it actually entails. There is a lot of planning that goes into the day being hassle free and I think sometimes the combination of water and sand and children can cause a lot of people to be on edge 😉
yes there is a lot of planning but sometimes people worry too much that their best laid plans will come unstuck!
Great post Martine. I agree some people need to just chill out! Sometimes I have to remind myself how to be grateful too. The whole getting annoyed by sand thing at the beach always confuses me too.
Yes we all need a reminder sometimes 🙂
We did some camping on the beach over new year, and I was worried at first, cause I’m not the biggest fan of sand. I chose instead, to just let it go. You can’t do anything about it whilst you’re there, and it will come of when you’re home.
It was so liberating not to care, and it helped me enjoy the time so much more
Yes it certainly can be annoying but yes not caring is liberating!
Very wise words!
I got angry yesterday because the beach was empty and this family sat less than a metre away from me and I had to listen to their awful conversation the whole time!! Some people don’t have a clue! I feel there is heaps of stuff I can stress about now we are camping, but you just have to go with the flow and relax!! x Karen
Now camping would be a whole other story for me!
OMG AMEN! We sat near a family of 5 – mum, dad, 3 kids, and all the mum did was shout at each kid for one stupid thing or another – mostly over getting sand everywhere. HELLO! YOU’RE AT THE BEACH!!! *phew* glad I got that out!
lol! Feels good to get it out!
It’s taken me a bit of time to just let it go but I tell ya, I’m so much more of a nicer to be around because of it! We get sand in the house, in the car all the friggin’ time. Our car stinks of rotten fruit and food. After the first weekend of toilet training bootcamp our house smelt like a barnyard.
But I just go, oh well. I certainly wouldn’t have been like this 5 years ago.
I think “chilling out” is one of the secrets to successful parenting. Constant scolding and berating is no fun for anybody, child and parent.