Any way to save this concert?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BestICan, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    There is a classical concert both of my kids are DYING to go to, and I'm DYING to take them to. It's a black tie event. I paid a lot of money for tickets and I don't want to give this up. I knew it would be challenging but they've both been to classical concerts separately and did fine. But we had a miserable experience last night, and now I'm really nervous.

    I can take either one as a single kid, anywhere, and I can get manageable behavior out of him. easy child is more manageable than difficult child, but it's doable.

    I'll spare the details, but both boys just egg each other on. In situations where I need them to sit still and be quiet, like a brief contract signing thing we had last night, instead they were rolling on the floor, hitting each other, running away, etc. One look from the other kid and BAM! They're off again.

    difficult child's therapist had coached him previously on the art of saying things to classmates like, "Better not. We might get in trouble," or "We'll do that at recess" when he needs to stay quiet. Didn't work at ALL. easy child normally doesn't get out of control unless he's with his brother. I think they'll both be engaged with the actual music - but there's getting to the seats, not climbing on the railings, not running through a crowd of sequined-gowned, tux wearing people. I'm shuddering just thinking about it.

    What would you do to properly motivate, and manage misbehavior in a situation where refined behavior is expected? Would you practice with them beforehand? Obviously the consequence for screwing around at the concert is that we will immediately go to the car - I made sure to buy seats on the aisle. Just so you know, a consequence doled out in the moment, such as "You just lost TV time for tomorrow" will result in loud wails - not good for a concert hall.

    Ack, anyone want my tickets?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    A reward for behaving well, instead of a punishment for not behaving. And a "cue" you can give them when they are pushing that limit and about to lose the reward if they don't straighten up immediately. Sad, but it worked for my difficult child when he was a little younger - about the time he became a difficult child.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    They might just surprise you. There is something about people in formal wear that seems to keep kids in line. My daughter was pretty much out of control in most circumstances. However, put her in a pretty dress and let her be around adults in gowns and tuxes and she was a complete and total angel. Like yours, she loved to go to concerts and the ballet, etc. These were the only functions where I truly didn't worry about what she would do.

    However, to be on the safe side, I'd have someone available to pick up one or both if they got out of hand. That way, at least someone could enjoy the concert.
  4. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    in my opinion I wouldn't take them. Really, I wouldn't take a really great kid to a black tie event unless it was a wedding for a close relative or their parent was in the orchestra or something. I know you say they're "dying" to go, but if I were attending, and I saw a couple of kids next to me at a black tie event, no matter how well behaved, I would wonder why they were there and hoped I wouldn't have to deal with them.

    Wouldn't you rather have an evening out as an adult and leave them with a babysitter? It could be a fabulous evening without them. No stress about hoping they'll behave. Have your own black tie dinner at home with the same music playing in the background.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I have taken both easy child and difficult child to concerts since they were really young. I think it is important to introduce a variety of music to the kids and by the time they are teenagers, they don't want to go. My kids are 6 years apart so I don't remember taking both at the same time to very many.

    Unfortunately, our professional concerts start at 7:30pm (there are 5-6 per year) and this year they have moved across town so we will not be attending. Before last year, the time did not matter - the kids were fine with occassional late nights. Then last year, I would either run difficult child home at intermission and return myself if someone was home (we live 5 minutes away) or have someone pick him up at intermission, or just leave myself at intermission. This year difficult child needs to be sleeping at 8:00pm so even though most are Friday nights, they just won't work.

    As for behavior, I agree with meowbunny that once they are dressed, they may surprise you. I think if you start now to talk about it and discuss how people behave it may help. Stay positive, no "you can't run or climb." only "everyone walks and whispers"

    "I am going to a concert where people dress up and are super polite. We don't talk at all during the concert. We sit and listen to the most beautiful music. We say "thank you" and "excuse me" a lot. We are very kind to each other. It is very cool. I would love to take you both with me. If I do decide to take you, can you be very polite? You get to be just like all the gentlemen and ladies. What do you think? Can you do this?"

    As much as I believe kids should be involved, I also believe that they be removed at the first sign of disruption. So, have a Plan B ready. Sit between them during the concert. If you do need to remove them, be positive about the time you were there, "Weren't the dressess beautiful and the suites handsome? Did you like the music? How did the songs make you feel?" If you need to remove them, it will be because it was too much for them and it is o.k. you just hope they enjoyed the time they did get out of it.

    Continuously give them clues all night - whisper "Let's show everyone how we can walk to our seats. Tall and straight and polite." Praise them for good behavior, "That was so nice how you held the door open"

    Be confident - if the kids sense your nervousness, they will buy into it, but if they sense that you KNOW they can do this, they will.

    My difficult child used to refuse to leave at intermission because he thought it was rude to do so. Last year he had no problem doing so because he was tired. But he has sat through a variety of performances.

    When you have kids with you, you need to follow their lead. If they are not handling it, you must remove them even if it means you miss out. I know, I am very selfish in those situations and get very upset myself but I work hard to remind myself that I have to do what is best for my kids and chalk it up to yet another thing I sacrifice for them - I will have other opportunities.

    Again, I strongly believe kids should be given opportunities to attend all kinds of concerts, even classical, even black ties.
  6. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    my advice might be late, but I was thinking handcuffs and duct tape>>>???
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Have someone available to pick up whoever is goofing off. Sit between them. Remind them of proper behavior when wearing shiny clothes. And, if all goes well, go to Denny's afterwards and have dessert.

    Hope you have a great time!
  8. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Well, we just got back and the kids are in bed. They did very well, after all!

    I knew it was asking a lot of them, so I chose not to fill the night with threats and consequences. We rehearsed our behavior earlier in the day, and I think this helped get them bought into the concept. husband and I sat between them and when little easy child got squirrelly, we just moved to the back row of the balcony where squirming was less noticeable. difficult child had no problems.

    I think this is the bigger news, though: We happened to be walking behind the principal violinist in the parking garage. Out of the blue, she turned around and thanked me for bringing my kids! She said she feels very strongly that kids should come to concerts! Felt good to hear that!
  9. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Yeah I am so glad it went well for you!!!:bravo:
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Way to go kids!! Good job!!!! In our professional concerts, it is not unheard of for the performers to mention kids and how they like to see them in the audience. My kids are almost always in the front row. There was space for them as toddlers to dance if they felt like it (it was a little lower than the stage so did not disturb people).
  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I think most concert goers are not thrilled to see little ones; they're too afraid they'll disrupt the concert. I also believe that most performers love to see children there.

    I took my daughter to see Yoyo Mah perform when she was about 4-1/2 (night concert ending around 11 pm. She sat enthralled throughout -- was upset there was an intermisson but only vocalized it to me. At the end of the concert, Mr. Mah bowed to my child and thanked her for being so in love with the music. It was a beautiful moment.

    I'm so glad your boys got to see the whole thing. I bet the violinist's comment made the evening that much more special.