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!