What do you do when you are out with friends who have different expectations than yours on their children's behavior? We recently moved and I have become friends with two Moms who have children just older than DS1 (he's 3, they are 4 and 4.5). We agree on most parenting issues, EBF, co-sleeping, healthy foods, etc. But they tend to be stricter than I am when we are out and I am not sure how to handle it. Usually my child(ren) are doing something I approve of and when their children jump in they are told not to. Then I feel bad, should I stop my children so their children will stop too or let my kids continue since it is ok with me? When appropriate I steer all the children to a different shared activity, but that is not always possible.
Here are some examples (since I don't think I am being very clear):
Yesterday, we went to the beach. When it came time to clean up and get ready to leave, they both showered and changed their kids and asked them to sit on a low wall while we finished packing up and taking stuff down, about 20 mins. I chose to wait and change my kids at the car and use wipes to clean them up enough to get in the car. I just don't think asking a 3 year to sit and do nothing for twenty minutes is reasonable, so my kids were running around. I tried my best to keep my kids away from their kids and the things we were packing. But, they are kids so DS1 kept running up to their kids to play with them and seeing my kids running around, made them want to get up too. I made the decision not to force my kids to sit, so I did not stop them, but I could tell the other moms were getting a little peeved.
Then we went out to dinner. After dinner, they took their kids to the bathroom. Since mine were ok, we did not go but forgot to say goodbye before they went in. We waited outside for them to come out to say goodbye. My kids started running up and down the ramps. I was ok with this since my Mom or DH were with them and making sure they were well out of other people's way. One mom came out with her child before the others. Her child started to run with mine. The mom immediately grabbed his hand and said, "Nope, you need to stand with me."
They often ask their children to do things that I don't feel are developmentally possible. And their kids spend time in resturants playing on iPods or smartphones. I don't judge them, but we don't feel it is right for our children (and can't afford iPods or smartphones) so we spend time walking around or other distraction techniques.
One of my personal parenting philosophies is KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Which means making minimal rules so I spend minimal time enforcing rules and disciplining.
(Before I get jumped all over, my children are not allowed to run around in resturants or other places where they will be interferring with other people. We are often complimented on our sons' behavior when out.)
Anyway, what do you think I should do in these circumstances? Ask my children to do the same as theirs? or Let my children continue and do my best to keep them away from the others? or am I being to permissive? Do I expect too little from my children?