Why Is A Well-Behaved Child So Rare in America 2006?
Kids in public these days are a mixed bag. If you get a couple of kids who are with Useless Parents, the kind that can't bear to teach their kids how to behave in public or act like parents, they're a true horror to be around.
Recently I had a nice dinner at a restaurant spoiled by two children (probably 7 and 10) running around the restaurant, screaming, crawling around and making life miserable for those of us who actually have to pay for our meals.
Of course, the parents couldn't be bothered and when some brave soul told them to make their kids knock it off, they respond with some pseudo-hipster babble about free spirits or something like that.
News flash, wannabe hipster faux parents: if I have to listen to your bleating kids ruin my meal, the only talk of "free spirits" I want to hear about are some free cocktails so I can get the ringing out of my ears from your little dears. Otherwise, you're just hurting America.
Nowadays that's more or less the standard. Most of these folks seem more concerned about their iPod than they are about their kids. It's more like the kids are just the latest "accessory," in an attempt to keep up with what "everyone else" is doing. My brother nicknames out of control kids like these "stereos" - loud, expensive accessories you show off to the world, but don't really care about.
Ok, now, rant said, it's time for something positive - when kids and their parent(s) or guardians are out in public and behave. It not only makes the rest our lives a little better, frankly it's better for the children too. (and won't someone PLEASE think about the children?)
Recently I had some experiences on the bus where the kids were so well behaved and the parents/guardians so obviously super duper responsible, I wish I coulda given all of 'em a medal, or something just to say "Thank you for being some of the last Americans who still believe in our country and are actually raising your kids, and not whining about how the state should do it for you."
The first was an older woman and what seemed to be her granddaughter who were sitting in the seniors section on a bus one Saturday. I remember I noticed how quiet this kid was, and when she talked to her grandma, she spoke calmly and happily as they were going to the library or something. But not once did this kid act like a brat or scream and yell, and no this kid was not having their creativity stifled by Society.
Instead grandma and kid were having a nice time and when they got off she insisted on thanking the driver and waved at everyone. I turned to my brother and said "Why can't they all be like that more often than not?"
The second was a kid and his dad who were going to the park. Now I could tell they do this a lot because the kid clearly liked the bus and knew all the stops. So much so that he would sit there politely but ask the people next to him where they were going, but not in a bratty, irritating way. Then he'd tell them EXACTLY how many stops they had before they should get off the bus.
Again, it was obvious he was just being a kid like, well, kids are prone to do. But did he act like a little jerk or scream his head off or throw a tantrum? NO! Instead Dad was acting like a Real Dad and not some hipster hippie doofus dork "dad" and clearly raised his kid to have fun but not have a scream that's like a kick in the teeth in public. I swear I wanted to walk up to this dude and tell him thanks on behalf of humanity, but that's just weird.
But the real prize goes to the 10 year old on the bus who had the misfortune of being next to not one, but TWO kids who were screaming up a storm about God Knows What on a very crowded bus. It was like listening to a cat being picked up by pliers, only not as pleasant. Everyone was going nuts and of course, Hipster Dumbass Parental Unit was doing not a thing.
Now, this is a sign of a kid who's obviously had to be responsible for others or something, because finally she made a "I can't take this anymore" face and finally said in a nice, but firm voice "WHY are you screaming so much?" The bus noise made it impossible to hear what she said next but she talked to them and damn if those kids didn't finally shut up, and were even smiling by the time the bus ride was up.
Again, it was time for a medal, a key to the city, a donation to the college fund, whatever. If nothing else the kid did more than the alleged parent did. But while I was thinking "Thank you GOD for this kid and her common sense approach" it was also a bit depressing to think that positive, constructive social behavior in public these days is so rare, we want to give people a medal for doing what all of us should be doing in the first place.