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Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Ever Happened To Common Sense Parenting?

Since recently reading a Dear So and So letter by my friend NFAH; I can't help but wonder what ever happened to parental common sense?

To give you the basics of what happened she was at The Royal Academy of Arts in London with a friend of hers to view an exhibit by one of her favorite artists Anish Kapoor. Unfortunately her experience was ruined by the presences of imbecilic parents who brought their young children along. From what I can gather, the children were running amongst the sculptures, being loud and one of the parents had the audacity to give one of the children a snack right there at the exhibit (ya know, where priceless pieces of art were on display).

In this day and age of hyper-parenting, parenting has become less about the child and more of a competition between parents. Over-scheduling children and taking them to places they will not enjoy, much less remember, has become increasingly prevalent. Children are no longer found just enjoying themselves at a playground, instead they are being dragged from one "enriching" activity to another.

A three year old at an art exhibit? Is that really enriching? Really? Will they ever remember it? Nope, probably not. Now, I am all for enrichment, but age appropriate enrichment. Taking a child to a dinosaur exhibit at the local natural history/science museum or going to see Sesame Street Live, is much more pleasurable to a child than going to a place or event intended for adults. Nice dinners at expensive restaurants should be for adults, I don't care how "well behaved" your child is. Spills, unintentional loud talking, and squeals tend to come out of children during meal times, even in fancy restaurants. Kids don't care about the ambiance*.

Sometimes I think the kids aren't even really part of the equation. I think parents just feel that they aught to be able to do something "fun" for once. Is it really fun though when you have to remember to bring along a stroller, diaper bag, snacks, and the sippy cup? Don't forget you have to remind junior to mind their manners every three seconds. Is that really fun? No, it isn't fun. It isn't relaxing. It is a chore. Plus you are disturbing those around you who chose to leave their kids at home, or those who don't have children. Is that fair to them? They paid the price of admission as well. Maybe they would like to enjoy their afternoon or evening out as well. If parents want to do something "fun", a babysitter should be hired for the event. Or maybe sometimes parents of small children just need to get their heads out of the butts, take one for the team, and just stay home.

*Believe me when someone pays over 100 £/$ for a meal for two, they DO care about the ambiance and they weren't counting on your little "angel" being there.