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Monday, September 6, 2010

Who is in Control?

Every parent has had that moment where their child is acting so badly that they want to melt into the floor and disappear. I know I certainly have, in the middle of a McDonald's in London. Children have their good days and their bad days, and well, don't you ever have an "off" day? Hell, I was having an "off" day this morning when I woke up with too little sleep, no caffeine in the entire house and I knew that I had promised my children that I would spend the morning at their school for "Share Day". All I really was going to be sharing with the rest of the people around me was my piss poor attitude; apologies to those who were subjected to it.

Kids are allowed to have a bad day. However, I wonder at what point do you said "Right, enough is enough with your behavior, we're going home," to your child? Is it at the point where it is just mildly annoying to you? Do you wait until it is affecting those around you? Do you ever just say, "Eh, kids will be kids," and let them continue running amok? Have you ever had your child hit or shout at you in public?

I am of the thought that if it is annoying me, then it is annoying those around me and needs to stop. Of course I have flexibility, to an extent. I am not some sort of drill sergeant barking out orders to my kids in the middle of the grocery store. Yes, my kids have taken off running down the aisles, but they have been promptly reprimanded for their actions. I am also my harshest critic when it comes to disciplining my own children. I second guess myself all the time. Was I too harsh? Was I too soft? At least I know I am trying. I guess, I just don't understand parents who let their children get away with causing chaos in public.

In the last week I have gone out shopping and more than once seen children just being horrible and their parents not even noticing. They just ignored it. I am sorry but, get your kids under control so I can shop in peace. I, for once, didn't have my children in tow. Frankly, I didn't feel like enduring badly behaved children. Now, I know that might sound horrible on my part. To be fair though, I usually can ignore children whilst I am out and about. They are usually no more than background noise. I am a mother though.

What I worry about is how this affects the people around us who don't have children or people have grown children and don't necessarily find your children as adorable as you do. As it is, I have sometimes found some places the UK less than welcoming to children. This is of course in comparison to the US where public places almost beg you to bring your children along. I can't help to fret with the state of discipline being what it is right now, both in the US and the UK, with parents tending to want to be their child's friend rather than their parent, that public places and shops are going to become even less accommodating toward parents. That would be a shame, wouldn't it?