Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rant: Ill-Behaved Parents

This is going to seem harsh, but honest.

Today was the second day where I witnessed total and absolute disregard for others in a public place by parents.

Now, please read this post with the idea that I love children and usually look upon them fondly. The children are not to blame in either of these examples. It is the parents. Usually, I do not judge parents because I am not a parent myself and I can appreciate the pressures of being a parent....however...

Last night, I was eating at a local pizza restraurant. The restraurant wasn't a Chucky Cheese type that catered to little children. It was just a pizza restraurant. A family was sitting next to us. The father's cell phone had such an obnoxious ring that each time it rang, everyone turned to look at him. Not only did his cell phone ring loudly and often, but he also had a walkie-talkie where he conducted some sort of business as he ate with his family. Everyone in the restaurant could hear his conversations. Then, his wife screamed "Shut Up" three times at the three children, ages 6-10, while they dined. The family was finishing up their meal so the two boys decided to run around the restaurant with their glasses of pop, spilling all over themselves and the floor. They were yelling phrases like, "I want a blue one!" and "Hey! That's my sucker!" when digging through the sucker bucket at the restaurant. The children and mother did not take one sucker, they each took three suckers. Then, I saw one boy suck on one of his suckers and throw it on the floor. The children were climbing under tables that they were not even sitting at. They kept opening the door and slamming it shut. The mother and father said nothing. They just watched and ate their pizza. It was a train wreck.

Today, a similar situation. I accompanied a friend to a medical appointment. I was waiting in a waiting room with five patients. One who had obviously been in some traumatic accident and was in great pain. In walks five children, ages 3-12, and a mom. She told the oldest girl to watch the children as she went into see the doctor. The kids were out of control from the get-go. Even though this waiting room was equipped with a toy area, a big screen TV on the Disney Channel, and multiple children's books, the children decided to play chase, yell, push chairs over, and fight. The girl who was only around 12 years old did not know what to do. She was obviously a sister and decided to join the fighting and yelling. The boys were told twice by the desk nurses to sit and be quiet, but they ignored the women. Three waiting patients moved to the other side of the room to avoid the chaos. The mother returned from her appointment 25 minutes later and gathered up her crew and left. The toy room in shambles, the books scattered all over the floor, and patients giving each other empathetic shakes of the head.

So, am I out of line to be annoyed at these parents? Am I a judgmental woman to believe that these children should have been kept in line by their parents? Am I harsh for believing that children should have supervision in public places? Am I unreasonable for believing that it is the parents' responsibility to teach children to behave appropriately in public settings?


Eyes said...

I'm not a parent, but I don't think that disqualifies me for saying that these parents are OUT OF CONTROL. Hence that is why their children behaved in such a way.

Somehow today parents don't seem to have a backbone as a whole like they did when we were growing up. I think the biggest reason for this is they don't have the energy or time after working two full-time jobs.

It's a sad situation and the children are going to end up paying the biggest price.

It seems we want everything --even when we can't handle the responsibilities. Got have it all -- and then when they have it -- they can't take it.

Matt said...

I am a parent and I can't imagine doing what either of those parents did. I would feel so embarrassed if my kids acted like that. I'd feel compelled to remove them from the public place and I sure as heck would apologize to the people who had to suffer for it. My oldest has gotten a little out of hand from time to time - all kids do - and I've removed her from the situation and talked about proper behavior. If she can't act appropriately, we would leave. So far I haven't had to do that.

You're not being unreasonable at all.

Dree said...

No, you are not out of line, unreasonable or judgemental. Nothing aggravates me more than parents who can't control their children. Especially when they don't apologize for the behavior, or in the case of the doctor's office, clean up after it.

And as for Pizza Mom - taking 3 pieces of candy for herself and yelling at her kids to shut up? Now you know where the kids get it.

SuzanH said...

Here via Dree--and as a parent, I cannot imagine a situation where I or my child would act like that.

Unfortunately, I think it's less about being a bad parent than it is about being a nasty person. Self-involvement and a sense of entitlement are simply magnified when there are others involved.

Definitely not out of line in being annoyed. Those are just horrible people.

Anonymous said...

My parents would never let me behave that way in public and I don't allow my kids to either.

I have two incidents to report.

The first was today. I was in the craft store getting coloring pens for my 8 year old daughter.

There were 2 screaming 6-8 year old boys and the ignoring parent types you have described.

The screaming continued to the point that I couldn't take it any more.

I politely told the woman that the behavior wasn't acceptable in a public place and that she should take the child outside.

The woman became very verbally abusive to me but I maintained my cool.

I walked away but felt that it's just as unacceptable to not say something in these situations as it is to have to endure it.

My second story is the opposite, my wife and I were at a restaurant. When a couple with 3 young boys sat next to us. My wife and I just gave each other the "Oh no, not another set rotten kids/parents" But to our surprise, the boys were very well behaved. After we finished our, my wife and I have to complement the parents about what well behaved boys they had. The mother and father grinned ear to ear. I think we made their day.