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I found the following sentence in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (5th Edition):

  • You can’t expect them to sit still for that long, children being what they are.

For me it sounds weirdly and ungrammatically because it seems that the noun 'children' leaves with no verb. I wish to use 'being' in the following way:

  • Being what they are, children can't sit for that long.

Or:

  • When children are being fidgety, they can't sit for that long.

Is this correct use of 'being' in the first example? If this is correct use, what I miss?

  • The original sentence is perfectly fine and idiomatic. Your first paraphrase of it is also reasonable and apt. The final paraphrase however, won't work: children being what they are means restlessness is a fundamental, intrinsic characteristic of children. Thus you can't say "when children are" without changing the meaning, because the original "children being" means this isn't a one-time, temporary, or accidental situation. They're never not going to be fidgetty. The "when" will never end. Children "are" restless (according to the original phrasing). – Dan Bron Jul 12 '15 at 12:03
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Yes, it's fine. It's an absolute construction.

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