July 30, 2010, Newsletter Issue #295: Amusement Park Lines

Tip of the Week

Taking your kids to an amusement park can present didactic opportunities to teach them how to react to everyday social norms. A common social norm they will encounter is waiting in line or waiting your turn. This may seem easy enough, but countless times children, teens, and even adults have little regard for the common norm of waiting your turn. Tactics people use to lessen the time they spend in line range from having someone hold their place while they are busy doing something else to outright jumping in front of another person. I’ve even witnessed people jump in front of others just because they aren’t moving along fast enough for the people behind them!
Waiting for your turn is a trait we all learn in Pre-K, so why is it when we go to amusement parks people have so much trouble with this basic pre-school concept? The answer is conformity. Children will conform to what a group or their peers will do. I’m sure you’ve heard parents explain their child’s unacceptable behavior by saying “Mary just got involved with the wrong crowd, that’s all” and to some extent those parents are correct. Mary got involved with a crowd that has little to no regard for our societies rules. And your child will experience theses pressures when they reach adolescence as well. How does a parent protect their child from falling into the same conundrum as Mary? For the most part, by setting an example and explaining why we choose to abide by social norms. A strong sense of self is imperative to any child growing up. So the next time you’re at an amusement park with your child set the example to your children that waiting in line is not a hassle, it’s perfectly acceptable and expected. Patience is a virtuous quality that will help your child process their decisions and teach them to not be susceptible to unwanted outside influences.

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