How are you supposed to act when temper tantrums come?
What do you do when a co-worker brings a kid to work—a bad kid? I know what I’d do. I’d bust my rump trying to help that mom (or dad) distract the kid. I’d take the kid on my lunch, and then the mom could take the kid on her lunch. That would give the office two hours of peace. I’d offer to take on extra work for the day so the mom and kid could go home. I’d pull all the tricks out of my big mom bag. At any given time I could produce crayons, books, an array of kid’s meal toys, and snacks.
But you’re probably not a magic bag toting mom of five trying to create good karma for herself. You’re a boss with an office full of employees quickly developing nervous tics.
The first thing you need to consider is your company policy. Have you tried to create a “family friendly” environment by inviting your staff to bring kids to work in a bind? If you have, and other people have taken advantage of the policy, you’re stuck. You can’t say some kids are welcome but others aren’t.
Your influence won’t sway a crying toddler
You also need to remember that the kid is not at fault here. The situation is the distraction. No kid is going to be content in an office full of adults. You would go a little stir crazy if you were asked to sit still and to quietly do nothing for hours.
The most important thing to know is that your influence is not going to make the kid behave, and such an attempt is going to make all involved cranky – especially the mom. Don’t make a mom with a sick kid with obvious ADHD have a worse day than she is already having.
If you push an already distraught mother into “mama bear” mode, no one will be spared. Your best bet is to be as understanding as possible. Offer any help that you can, and if you can’t offer empathy, fake it.
This mother knows things aren’t going well. She will avoid bringing her kid to work again at all costs. Just let it pass.
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