“What happened?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer.
“I was on the train, headed back to the city when a momma and her three little ones get on. There were seats available near this one man, so she put the children in the seats. The man, instead of being kind, looked at the mom and said, “Lady, your kids better not touch me.” The mom spoke to the children, and the kids really did try to sit still, but it’s hard for little ones – and the one little girl was only about two, then probably a four-year-old and maybe five to six-year-old. The man was just getting uglier and uglier! He finally got so agitated, he got up, nearly knocking the little boy right out of his seat and said, “I told you to not let your kids touch me!” and stomps away, while tramping on the woman’s feet!
“This man was being an idiot!” my friend continued, “and frankly I get more annoyed with people like that than small children being small children!”
“I get it,” I said, hoping my friend would calm down.” But my friend has a point. There are adults who behave worse than small children. The other side of that, however, are the times when adults encourage bad behavior from their children.
I have been appalled, in stores, by the way young children yell, scream, and throw tantrums when they can’t have exactly what they’ve seen on a shelf in the isle. What’s really frightening is how parents sometimes make bargains and bribe children to “be good” in the store…..so there is some kind of reward, “prize” if you will, when the shopping trip is finished, rather than considering discipline.
We want our children to be well-mannered, especially when we are in public. I was far from a perfect mom, but I recall being able to take all five of our young children to a restaurant, shopping, or church and usually having decent behavior. It wasn’t that my children were any more special than anyone else’s…… but my husband and I “expected” them to behave well, and the children knew the consequences of not behaving. The truth is, children are capable of having good manners, even at a very young age.
Expectations are the guidelines given to our children as they grow. If we expect them to be loud and obnoxious, you can be sure they will accommodate. In a bizarre manner, it’s a way of “bullying the parent to get their way.” Sadly, however, these kinds of behaviors learned at a young age, often continue throughout their teen years and into adulthood. It becomes the attitude they live by. They grow up believing if they want something, they should simply “bully” whomever necessary to see their demands are met. It’s interesting (and shameful) that we actually witness this kind of behavior on TV and the industry thinks it’s funny….. calling the shows “sit-coms.”
I challenge you through this next year, to reflect on your children’s (or grandchildren’s) behavior. Are you comfortable taking them in public or would you rather get a sitter so you don’t have to deal with bad behavior? Do you see them tormenting, harassing, or even terrorizing you as parents, or grandparents to attain their demands? How should this be handled? Share your thoughts!