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Children and Parenting….

July 17, 2011

Lately it seems there are lots of articles about how bad children have gotten over the last say 20 years.  Their (children) disruptive behaviors have led some businesses to impose bans on their presence.  While I accept, and even to some extent totally understand, a business’s right to choose whether or not to allow children in their establishment I have to wonder if part of this is not directly related to parents not parenting effectively.

What do I mean?  Let me ask you, the reader, a question…How many times in the past week have you been in a business and witnessed an out-of-control child?  In each of these incidences, how many times did you notice the parent attempting to deal with the child?  I know often I see out-of-control children and their parents are acting totally oblivious to the situation while Junior proceeds to destroy or at the least disrupt the atmosphere of the location.

Now, before anyone gets all upset that I’m being unfair to the disabled population, keep in mind my oldest son just happens to have Down Syndrome and ADD, with some OCD and Autistic tendencies thrown in for fun (said totally tongue in cheek, the for fun part as believe me it isn’t all that fun).  I know what it is like to have a child melt-down for what appears to be no particular reason.  I know what it is like to have a child become disruptive (even if that isn’t really their intent).  However, I also make every effort to remove that child from the environment, some days that is harder than others.  I have also made every effort to train my child what is and is not socially acceptable behavior.  Now, where some disabilities are hidden my son’s disability really isn’t — one look can usually affirm “hey that kid’s disabled” what that one look doesn’t affirm is “hey, he doesn’t know any better so let it slide” because truthfully, he does know better he has just been trained (ooh there’s that word again) that society doesn’t expect him to know better and will allow him to get away with it.  (Makes my job as a parent that much harder.)

So, back to the original problem/question…Are kids really that much more unruly today than they were a generation ago or are parents not training their children to act appropriately in public?  I think both parts of that question are valid observations and are truthful.  The difficult part arising in how to train in public when so many people have bought into the psycho-babble that  discipline (or even, gasp, punishment) will harm a child’s psyche.  The number of parents who say they are afraid to discipline in public has grown exponentially within the last generation or two.  The current set of young parents were among the first groups of children raised by permissive parents versus disciplinary parents.  (How many of today’s parents {of the younger set} grew up hearing “it’s my house if you don’t like the rules once you’re 18 you’re free to get your own place and establish your own rules”?)  Also, growing up the entire neighborhood was often involved in the parenting the child.  How did they do that?  Well, if they saw Junior doing something that was socially unacceptable, they called Junior on it and often dealt with it prior to calling Junior’s parents who also dealt with it.  Oh, and if you got in trouble at school, you knew you’d get it twice as bad once you got home.  Today, Junior does something wrong at school and it isn’t Junior’s fault it is the school or the teacher or even his classmate’s fault.

Growing up if we played at the local construction site and got hurt, it was our fault we got hurt, not the contractor’s fault for creating an enticing nuisance (umm, what kid doesn’t like playing in dirt and around new construction?).  Our parents didn’t sue the contractor, oh no, our parents patched us up and tanned our hides and we quickly learned not to do it again.

As to dining out, used to be that was reserved for the grown-ups and for children who could behave in public (and it was a rare treat).  These days it seems like an everyday occurrence in some households and since Mom and Dad want dinner out then everyone will just have to deal with Junior (because we’d never dream of leaving him home with a sitter when we know he doesn’t do well in public).

Novel ideal parents — next time Junior acts up, deal with it and if he doesn’t straight up then excuse yourself (get the check, box your food to go if you’ve already ordered) and leave the establishment.    Word to the establishment’s clientele, if you see a parent attempting to parent their unruly child don’t interfere (unless the child is in imminent danger) unless you’re actually going to offer to help Mom or Dad with said unruly child.  Don’t jot their information down and call CPS calling it abuse, unless you’ve first inquired about the situation (to those involved), sometimes the child throwing the fit is doing so because of a disability and sometimes the child is throwing the fit because the child has been trained (by society) that if they throw a big enough fit Mom/Dad will back down (for fear someone will call CPS).

Lastly, parents regardless of the psycho-babble you’ve read, children are NOT miniature adults with full-rational thinking capabilities.  In fact, children are typically self-centered little beings who are after what they want (which isn’t always what they need).  Do yourself and your child a favor, learn the difference between a want and a need then train your little bundle of joy how to be a responsible, socially acceptable adult.  Trust me, some day they will thank you — probably not as teenagers but perhaps before they have their own little bundle of joy.  Oh, and by the way, their little bundle of joy is the one you can spoil rotten as it will be their job to train them to be responsible, socially acceptable adults — just don’t veer too far from their parents plans for them or you might find it hard to spend time with your grandchildren.


One Comment leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 3:19 pm


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