The past week vacationing near a lake has been a test of my patience for stranger’s children. Yes, kids get excited and super-charged by long summer days and too much ice cream. Yes, they should be able to scream and run around when they’re outside. Yes, they get cranky when they haven’t had enough sleep. Even we adults have our bad days, but there’s no excuse for bad parenting. I think the biggest offenders are those parents who lose sight of how their children’s bad behavior affects other people. Rather than removing or disciplining their children for being rude to others they choose to let it slide and pretend nothing happened.
My response to ill-mannered children is probably magnified because we are on the receiving end of lots of outrageously bratty children, and we have no recourse — we can’t match them whine for whine or tantrum for tantrum.
I have tremendous respect for my family and friends who tow the
line when it comes to disciplining their children. There’s nothing more
enjoyable than being in the presence of children who possess manners,
respect adults and understand there are limits to what’s acceptable.
I came across this column in the Wall Street Journal and found myself nodding vigorously throughout. While it’s titled: Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel so Entitled, the root of the problem begins during the formative years.
If there’s one thing those of you who make it to parenthood can do to help those of us who don’t have our shot at raising the perfect child ourselves, it’s to consider the importance of your role in shaping how your child interacts with those around them. I thank you in advance …
July 7, 2007 12:14 pm
I so agree. It drives me batty to be around children that are never held accountable for their behavior. In my own home I can set the rules but when we are in a public setting all I can do is shake my head and wonder why some idiots are able to procreate. For the most part, it isn’t the fault of the kids that they are out of control, a lot of the parents desperately need to be given a clue for Christmas as they don’t have one.
July 7, 2007 2:23 pm
Pamela Jeanne for president! I’ve actually caught myself trying to think up devious plans to get back at irresponsible parents like these that crossed my path in the past. Never got to acting them out unfortunately! And then these so-called parents have the audacity to start sentences with: “If you had children you would understand if…” or “We’ll see what you do in this case when you have your own children someday!” Times like these that I can’t be held responsible for what I say or think of doing!
July 7, 2007 3:10 pm
Amen, Sister. I get so spoiled by being around my four nieces and nephews who are well behaved… because their parents discipline them! It is amazing to me how many children out there seem to be flailing around out there with no guidance. I would put the kid (I didn’t know!)who actually ate fries off my plate the other day into that category…
July 7, 2007 5:29 pm
July 7, 2007 10:37 pm
I will second that “Amen, sister!” One of the things that is so cool about my potential egg donor is the time and effort she puts in to being a good mom. She “gets it” from a different angle as she grew up as an unwanted child.
July 8, 2007 10:58 am
Oh! And to the woman on the MRT yesterday who let her toddler occupy a whole seat on when I, a full-fare-paying adult was standing, weighed down by luggage AND obstructed by the EMPTY STROLLER sitting in everyone’s way? Yes, yes I *was* glaring. What the fuck, girl?
Thanks for the article.
July 8, 2007 2:32 pm
Thanks for writing this, Pamela Jeanne. As you say, I DO understand that children can be loud and wild–that’s part of their job. But lack of discipline and consideration on the parents’ part (and the arrogance when others seem annoyed!) is what gets to me. VB and I often comment on what we call the “misunderstood genius” mentality some people have toward their children (and some also have toward their DOGS!) Stopping them (children or animals) from running amok is not “inhibiting their high spirits” or “squelching their creative genius” it’s teaching them how to manage those “high spirits” and that “creative genius” in a way that’s not rude or intrusive to others. I was raised that way and so was VB. His sister’s children are high-spirited, but well-behaved, as are the children of several of our friends. So I KNOW that our objection to out-of-control behavior is not just bitterness or lack of understanding because we don’t have children. It’s a reasonable response to unreasonable parenting.
Whew. That turned into a little rant. I apologize!
Anyway, thanks for your comment on my bloggiversary, and for linking to me. I really appreciate it! As soon as I get my act together to update my links, I’d like to link to you, if that’s okay?
July 8, 2007 4:41 pm
Amen to this post. It is so frustrating to be around children with no limits whose parents do not discipline.
July 8, 2007 5:49 pm
I have had similar frustrations on family vacations and while shopping. It is amazing how being able to have kids does not mean you can or do parent well.
July 8, 2007 9:14 pm
Here here! It has naught to do with whether one has children or not. If you are doing the job, rearing your children with good manners and discipline – it is more than a little irritating to be around those children who run wild. It is not the fault of the child, but the parent. Parenting remains the most rewarding, and when done properly, the most difficult job in the world. This thought about disciple and manners can not apparently in the world today be said often enough.
Once again my friend, you are on top of matters.
July 9, 2007 7:40 pm
Thanks for sharing this article. As a youth mentor, I’ve known a lot of teens who are considered “at-risk” of dropping out from high school and they tend not to display these qualities as much and for that I’m grateful. If anything, they tend to suffer from the opposite – expecting nothing from the adults around them. I really wish we could collectively do a better job of loving, protecting and raising the young people in our communities to feel safe enough and secure enough to know that demonstrating respect and discipline and doing your best are the keys to success in life. As far as I’m concerned, that balance between expecting nothing and expecting everything is where it’s at.