Author Topic: Children showing off to guests.  (Read 4339 times)

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mechtilde

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Children showing off to guests.
« on: March 21, 2011, 10:21:30 AM »
I have two sons, aged seven, and almost nine. Most of the time they are fairly well behaved, and if we ever go to visit someone their behaviour is almost always impeccable.

My problem is that when we have people come to visit us, they tend to show off and misbehave, which makes me feel very uncomfortable. I also feel awkward telling them off in front of guests. Does anyone else have the same problem, and does anyone have any tips?
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artk2002

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 10:24:42 AM »
First off, set expectations before the guests arrive.  Establish consequences if those expectations aren't met.  Remember, too, that it's not really "telling off" to say "Fritz, company manners, please" or "Englebert, please sit down" to remind them of what behaviors you expect.
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SamiHami

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 10:24:45 AM »
I don't have kids, but I used to be one! Your kids are old enough to understand instructions given ahead of time.  Perhaps before a visit you could sit down with them and tell them that they are to be using "company manners" and that means no showing off, misbehaving or otherwise being bothersome.  You could even come up with a code word or look to let them know that they are treading on thin ice.  

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bopper

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 10:39:26 AM »
EVERYONE has the same problem! 

I think the thing to do is anticipate this problem and come up with strategies.

Issue 1:  They want to show off for the visitor.  Have them come up with something they would like to show off.
Do they have a favorite toy? Book? Game?  Do they like to sing? Dance?  Discuss this ahead of time with them.

Issue 2: Your attention is not on them but on the visitor and they don't like it.   Same thing happens when you are on the phone, I bet.  If the kids can't be integrated into the visit, can you come up with a special activity that they only get to do when someone visits?  Like a special DVD or video game? Can you arrange for playdates for them at that time?  Possibly have a teen babysitter come over if necessary?

Thipu1

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 11:02:08 AM »
Ooh yes, I remember this sort of thing. 

Every time we visited a neighbor family for a meal their daughter had to show off her tap-dancing skills with full make-up and Shirley Temple curls.   

Evey time we visited a family member we were treated to an accordion concert by his two little boys.

Neither of those was conducive to a pleasant gathering. 

Children may present things to adult guests but the adults should not become a captive audience.   


Arrynne

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 11:42:44 AM »
POD to the previous posters.  Explain your expectations before the guests arrive, and be prepared to address misbehavior if it comes up.  I like the suggestion that the kids be given a chance to show one skill or possession, assuming a proper audience (Grandparents, aunts & uncles, yes.  Your husband's boss, probably not so much.)  As for addressing the misbehavior, you can use codewords, use the 1-2-3 method, or whatever works for your family.  If your child continues to misbehave, excuse yourself, take the child out of the room and address it out of earshot of the guest.  No one likes to be embarrassed. This will minimize the embarrassment for you, your child, and your guest.

Yvaine

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 11:51:05 AM »
Ooh yes, I remember this sort of thing. 

Every time we visited a neighbor family for a meal their daughter had to show off her tap-dancing skills with full make-up and Shirley Temple curls.   

Evey time we visited a family member we were treated to an accordion concert by his two little boys.

Neither of those was conducive to a pleasant gathering. 

Children may present things to adult guests but the adults should not become a captive audience.   



I guess maybe this is a spinoff--but what are your thoughts on parents who pressure their kids to show off for guests, whether the kids want to or not? "Little Johnny, play your piano solo for Mrs. Smith," "Little Suzie, show Mrs. Jones your ballet step," "Oh, Little Nina can spell antidisestablishmentarianism, can't you Nina? Let's hear it!"

I've been this kid and I've known other people who also were this kid. For me, it made me more shy; for one guy i know, it made him an insufferable show-off who--at the age of 37--still insists on making his guests captive audiences for whatever he's been making or playing recently.  ::)

Shabooty

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 12:02:12 PM »
OP, I know you said you would be uncomfortable correcting the boys in front of guests, but as a guest I would be more aggravated if you simply let them carry on. 

Lisbeth

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 12:04:45 PM »
Ooh yes, I remember this sort of thing. 

Every time we visited a neighbor family for a meal their daughter had to show off her tap-dancing skills with full make-up and Shirley Temple curls.   

Evey time we visited a family member we were treated to an accordion concert by his two little boys.

Neither of those was conducive to a pleasant gathering. 

Children may present things to adult guests but the adults should not become a captive audience.   



I guess maybe this is a spinoff--but what are your thoughts on parents who pressure their kids to show off for guests, whether the kids want to or not? "Little Johnny, play your piano solo for Mrs. Smith," "Little Suzie, show Mrs. Jones your ballet step," "Oh, Little Nina can spell antidisestablishmentarianism, can't you Nina? Let's hear it!"

I've been this kid and I've known other people who also were this kid. For me, it made me more shy; for one guy i know, it made him an insufferable show-off who--at the age of 37--still insists on making his guests captive audiences for whatever he's been making or playing recently.  ::)

I've been a captive audience for my nieces and nephews and cousins and other people's kids.  It irritates me because there doesn't seem to be any gracious and polite way to avoid it.

But getting back to the OP's situation, since you don't want your kids to do this, you could follow Artk2002's suggestion and mention that they have to use "company manners" and before the visit, go over what "company manners" means: no running, no throwing things in the house, no interrupting, etc.
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rose red

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 12:07:29 PM »
OP, I know you said you would be uncomfortable correcting the boys in front of guests, but as a guest I would be more aggravated if you simply let them carry on.  

Me too.  I would not be surprised to see a parent correcting their child in front of company.  Not screaming or anything, just firm and, well, being a parent.

Another possible spinoff to this thread can be "What can you do/say if you're the guest?"

I wish my friend can see this thread.  Her two little girls are always hogging the spotlight and she does nothing about it.  I dread visiting them because while I love children, they are boring  ;).

Jocelyn

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 12:14:53 PM »
You say this happens when you entertain but not when you go to someone else's house? Then I would guess that you have done a good job teaching your sons the etiquette of being a guest, but they need additional lessons on how to be good hosts. Kids often 'act up' because they simply don't know the proper standards of conduct for the situation.
Personally, it's a pet peeve of mine when adult guests act as if children should be snubbed. I remember one time going out to dinner with my parents, my cousin and his wife, and their sons (who were about the same age as yours). I was seated across from the two boys, and we were having a very nice conversation. Their mother turned and said something to their father, and then smiled at me...as if she were expressing gratitude that I was interacting with her sons. I thought that was very sad...that a mother would anticipate that an adult she didn't know well would ignore her children if seated next to them at dinner. And yet, I've seen that happen many times. It would be beyond rude for me to ignore adults seated across the table from me, but some adults seem to think there's nothing wrong with ignoring children.
And of course, if adults ignore the children, how are the kids going to get practice in conversing with adults other than their parents?

Perhaps if you practiced the appropriate conduct of 7 and 9 year old hosts, and primed them with topics of conversation for approaching the guests, they'd be less likely to choose silly ways of getting attention. A la 'Jocelyn likes pets. Ask her about her pets, and offer to show her your gerbils.' Couple that with 'At adult parties, people talk for a little while, then move on to talk with other people.' and you're good to go. :)

hobish

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 12:26:49 PM »


To paraphrase the Momma, “If you think you can run wild just because I won’t yell at you in front of company I just want you to know the consequences are going to be twice as bad when I have time to deal with you.”
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momof2bratz

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 02:40:17 PM »
As a guest I would not be fazed at all by you correcting your children if needed, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. I agree with the others about making your expectations known before guests arrive so that your children know what is expected of them.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 03:07:47 PM »
My answer is based on what you mean by showing off.

If you mean they want to take the attention of the guests and demonstrate their new card trick, and then show them their new video game, and then have everyone come out to the dirveway to see their new basketball ability, and then a toor to see their new turtle habitat.... then I think you just need to prepare them better as hosts.  Let them know the guests are interested in them but as hosts, they should also be interested in their guests.  Let them pick one thing they want to show off.

If you mean they are showing off by bickering with each other and being a little hellions to get attention, then I think you should nip it in the bud.  Let them know that if pushed, you and their Dad will address their behavior in front of company.  My kids were good at responding to a simple raised eyebrow or a "that's enough" to get their behavior under control in front of company. 

Texas Mom

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Re: Children showing off to guests.
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 03:13:02 PM »
OP, I know you said you would be uncomfortable correcting the boys in front of guests, but as a guest I would be more aggravated if you simply let them carry on. 

Why not take them in another room (where you can't be heard) and threaten correct them there?

When I was growing up & we had company, an order to "let's go to the bedroom, TexasMom" was how my mom handled it, so our guests didn't have to be subjected to whatever discipline was meted out.