I call it “Preventive Education”.

From a very young age, I’ve been highlighting other children’s misbehaviours to Joshua.

Say if we were out shopping or having a meal, and some kid was raising a ruckus within our view, I would point out the child to Joshua and tell him: “You are never allowed to behave that way, do you understand?”

Of course back then, he would always stare at me as if I was speaking Greek.

Then as he got older and could express himself through nodding and shaking his head, he would respond to my “preventive education”.

The other day when we were out having dinner at Popeye’s, there was this boy just slightly older than Joshua – 3 or maybe 4 years old – and he was screaming his lungs out for some reason.

His mother looked on at him, seemingly having no idea how to handle the situation. The father pulled the boy away to the nearby loo, sparing us any more ear splitting agony.

I brought myself down to Joshua’s face level and asked him: “Are you supposed to behave like that?”

He shook his head. And with that, I know my boy truly understands what is expected of him.

I cannot tolerate ill-behaved kids acting like demanding kings and queens in public. Whatever is out of my hearing range, I do not give a damn. But if I can see or hear kids causing a commotion, I usually feel a strong urge to yell at the parents who are allowing their kids to be a public nuisance.

But since I cannot control other people’s children, the least I can do is make sure my own kids don’t grow up like unruly spoilt brats who become public irritants.

Well, at least I’d like to believe that by starting young, he never gets used to the idea of kicking a fuss to get his way.


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