dOn’T gEt UpSeT wHeN yOuR FiVe-yEaR oLd aCtS LiKe A fiVe-YeAr oLd!

Sit up straight. Say thank  you. Be quiet. Keep your voice down. Say please. Sit still.

As parents we are constantly surrounded by suggestions on how to make our children behave properly. From parenting books to self-help books (because let’s face it, it’s always mom’s fault), there is an endless string of advice designed to guide us. Complete strangers are quick to share their nuggets of wisdom, based on their child rearing years. I don’t take offense, because I agree that children should be taught to have good manners, be respectful of others, and sit quietly in certain situations. At restaurants, I understand when the wait staff sees a family with small children walk through the door, and after taking a deep breath escorts them to the table at the back of the restaurant where the noise, spills, tantrums, etc. can be shielded a bit from the other paying customers. I get it.


The thing is, parents with children are also paying customers, and sometimes I think people immediately make a judgment call based on the children’s ages. I’ve witnessed many a full-blown toddler tantrum which left me paralyzed, fork hovering in the air, never making it to my mouth. Some of those tantrums by my own kids, but my husband and I always walked them outside at that point so as not to disrupt someone else’s meal. There were times we even took our food to go after not being able/willing to continue the toddler vs. parent battle back in the restaurant. Not everyone does that. Again, I get it.

However, when a child speaks a bit louder than a grownup, or lets out a belly laugh to beat all belly laughs, there’s no need for the disapproving stares as they are just being children. I’m all for instilling the proper manners in my children, but at times even I feel like I’m too hard on them. Years ago, our priest gave a sermon on just this topic and one line has stuck with me since then. It is also the title of this post. “Don’t get upset when your five-year old acts like a five-year old.”

Yes, we need to raise our children to be responsible, respectful, kind, generous, and morally conscious. I believe that we need to start these lessons at a young age, and as parents we need to consistently enforce these lessons. We also need to teach by example, but that’s another post. However, we also need to understand that our children are still children, each age a necessary developmental stage building on another developmental stage.

1. We shouldn’t be surprised when they aren’t organized at the age of five…am I at the age of forty-two?

2. We shouldn’t be surprised when they interrupt a conversation…we’re all guilty of it every now and then.

3. We shouldn’t be surprised when they get a bit loud in a restaurant or church or the library…if granny can speak that loud why not them?

4. We shouldn’t be surprised when they forget their homework, or that permission slip for us to sign…it’s not as bad as the day “the tooth fairy” forgot their only job.

5. We shouldn’t be surprised when they cry uncontrollably and can’t explain why…don’t we all need a little more love some days?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were judged based on your child’s behavior? How did you handle it?

34 thoughts on “dOn’T gEt UpSeT wHeN yOuR FiVe-yEaR oLd aCtS LiKe A fiVe-YeAr oLd!

  1. Pingback: Don't Get Upset When Your Five Year Old Acts Like A Five Year Old - What The Flicka?

  2. So true, I sometimes forget my kids are kids. They’re so mature at times, then I have to scold myself (in my head, not out loud…that would be crazy!)


  3. Love this – so true! We had a similar situation when I wanted to start a children’s church program (I’m a pastors wife) and there were people in the church that were against it and said the kids needed to just learn to sit still and listen. Really? Sit still for 30 minutes and listen to a boring sermon? (Not saying my husbands sermons are boring, but a 5 or 6 year old wouldn’t be entertained). I argued that the kids would learn much more from a program with teachings about the bible that were developed at their level and had elements to keep them engaged and entertained. It was a battle, but we did get the program going and it has brought several new young families into the church. 🙂


    • I’m so glad to hear the program worked out. That is one of the things we miss so much. Well, we miss our church as a whole, but they also had a great children’s program. I loved how much my children walked away with each week instead of spending their time trying to sit still and being bored to tears because they couldn’t really follow along. Thanks again for checking out my blog! 🙂


  4. This is great. My husband frequently refers to our kids “acting their age” which is a nice reminder that though their particular behavior in that moment may be mildly irritating, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.


    • Yes! Your husband is right on! That’s exactly what I’m referring to here. They have their moments when we get annoyed or frustrated by their behavior, but in reality they are just acting their age. Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Pingback: They live for these moments | Nothing By The Book

  6. you are so right! picking up my 6 year old from school yesterday she was crying and upset and didn’t really know why, and like you say she was just tired and being her age! xxx


  7. Well said, Leah. I hope I have enough self awareness when my girls are 5 years old to let them be 5 year olds. Thank you for the reminder!


    • Don’t get me wrong! Some days are definitely easier than others, but it is good to remind ourselves of this from time to time. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you and your sweet girls are doing well.


  8. Love this! Especially living in a big city I contend with this pretty often. Just walking down the street is a struggle. My toddler wants to walk everywhere and he’s pretty good about it, so I let him walk a lot. But people get all bent out of shape because he’s small and wanders a bit. I think a lot of people, parents (and myself) included, forget that children are human beings. The way to teach them respect is to treat them with it in the first place.


  9. I agree. When I grew up, children were to be seen not heard….little soldiers that sat on a carpet square during show and tell. Then the pendulum of parenting seemed to swing in a completely different direction where kids almost had too much freedom.

    You are so right….kids need to be allowed to be kids and they need to be allowed to be right where they are emotionally and develpmentally. We can still set expectations (reasonable ones). Parents and other adults can’t flip out when kids miss the mark.


    • That’s exactly right. It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other. With reasonable expectations and guidance, I believe children can be well mannered and still be allowed to be children.


  10. Totally agree with you. Yes manners and behaviour is important but it is equally important to let them be kids. They grow up quickly enough as it is 🙂


  11. As long as the parents pick up the slack for any fall-out on innocent bystanders. For example, if an adult spills their drink on me then it is good manners if they offer to pay for cleaning. I am happy for children to be at a lower standard if their parents do the offering to pay for cleaning in their place.


    • Absolutely. Common courtesy and consideration for all others still takes priority. I’m in no way implying we should let our children run wild. It’s just that there are instances when we all need to understand that kids are kids. We were all in their shoes once.


      • I did not think you were: I just get peeved at parents/dog owners/&c. using the line that, for example, dragging my rubbish bag down the street is fine because they are only being a child/dog so wanted to make sure no-one took that away from your post.


  12. Great post and undeniably true. Kids already have a tough enough time being kids. There’s no need to make it tougher. Personally, I like acting like a child with my children. It’s fun.


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