It never fails. At the park, playground, play place, restaurant or campground there is always that ONE kid that is screaming his or head off, acting like a complete brat. This is the kid that causes problems with the other kids, picks fights and is the only one that is allowed to take their milkshake into the secret tunnel at McDonalds. (And you know what ends up happening with that) Meanwhile, this kids parents are off in a corner (or nowhere to be seen), completely preoccupied with something (anything) else besides their own child and completely oblivious to what is going on around them. Can they not hear their child screaming? Do they not hear the other kids crying and pointing their finger at this kid because he just hit your child in the face? Are they somehow immune to the looks of the 10 other families whose kids are acting like sane and manageable individuals at the restaurant while theirs is screaming and throwing forks at the waiter?
The worst part is that when you are faced with this child and his or her parents, it’s not as easy as walking up to them and saying, “Please control your children ma’am! They are wreaking havoc.” Doing so could cause a ruckus, or you might even risk getting punched in the face. After all, if the kid is such a heathen it only stands to reason that they are learning their disruptive behaviour from somewhere, right? So must parents do and say nothing but pick up their own child and leave the vicinity lest they risk causing a scene.
And even restaurant managers today are hesitant to excuse a family from their establishment regardless of the fact that this family is running the night of dozens of other families. Family media has gone wild lately with complaints about restaurants closing their doors to kids under a certain age for this simple reason. So because a ‘few’ parents are unable to control their child in public, the ‘many’ parents who do are forced to suffer as well.
We can throw a drunk out of a bar, but not a child out of a playground or restaurant. We can dismiss a coach from a softball game for arguing with a referee but cannot have a child removed from a theatre because he won’t shut the heck up during the flick.
Truth is, the owness of the child’s behaviour certainly rests on the parents shoulder. As a parent, you know that there is always (and we mean ALWAYS) the inherent risk that today will be the day that your child has a breakdown at the playground or restaurant. But responsible parents are prepared to remove their own child from the situation. Good parents don’t bring a sleep toddler to a 10pm movie showtime. Good parents realize that when their child starts pushing other kids down the slide or bullying kids at the indoor playground, that it is time for THEM to leave. And good parents, know that this behaviour is occurring because they are paying attention to their child. Sadly, many parents bring their kids into situations at inappropriate times which only set the kid up to fail. And then, when the kid acts out or becomes indecently behaved – the parents become inflamed at the child, and at the other parents who are in disgust. Seriously!
Parents need/must be in control of their children when they are out in public. That is the bottom line.
If your kid, no matter how well behaved they are most of the time, becomes a problem – it is up to you as a responsible parent to remove your child from the situation. Other people should not have to leave because of you and your child. It is YOUR responsibility to discipline your child. If you don’t want other parents to criticize you or say something to you, you best get your nose out of your book or smart phone – and take matters into your own hands. Restaurants, playground, sporting events, movie theatres and other kid’s venues shouldn’t have to have rules about appropriate behaviour for small children, because the parents should be the ones enforcing them. And parents have to set an example that with access to public hot spots and venues comes a certain amount of expected acceptable behaviour and responsibility for a child.
Look, no child is flawless. Your child isn’t a screaming heathen simply because they threw a fit on the playground or hit a waiter in the back with a tater tot. The other parents aren’t quickly judging you because your child has turned into Willie Whines a lot. They too know the feeling and all kids have good days and bad days. Yet the easiest way to anger other parents is to sit idly by and do nothing to handle the situation. If you would prefer sympathy rather than chastises from the general public, you have to show that you are proactively trying to correct the situation in some way, shape or form. Keeping your eyes down and remaining oblivious to the chaos your child is causing in the hopes that no one will know they are YOUR child, is not the answer!
Just like it is a dog owner’s responsibility to not allow their dog to poop in another person’s yard, or to clean up to the poop from a sidewalk – parents too have to be the beacons of cleaning up the messes their child causes in public. Because if other people are forced to ‘step in it,’ so to speak – you can expect a confrontation.