The thing about kids

April 1 2010 | the_kellbot

A friend and I were out with our kids at a local – and purportedly kid friendly -attraction, where we were glared at, told in no uncertain terms to keep our kids quiet, and instructed not to let them run by attraction staff. (Each of these things more ridiculous than the last, especially when you consider that at the front door of this attraction is a gift shop with a gargantuan display of rainbow hued candy, and that the venue itself is a nature conservatory consisting of four huge glass walled pyramids filled with plants, waterfalls and long windy sidewalks, making it resemble a giant indoor park). At first I was embarassed, and tried to shush and slow down my little guy (he is definitely a kid that veers towards the, um, enthusiastic side of things). But then I was really annoyed. I'm still really annoyed. They were just being, well, kid-like.

Which brings me to the thing about kids. We don't actually like them. Now before you jump all over me, I don't mean I don't like them. I like 'em fine (most of the time!). I mean, our larger culture doesn't like them. Hear me out on this one.

Sure, we're baby crazy. We watch faithfully for celebrity baby bump alerts and wonder which of our friends will get pregnant next. We delight in baby showers, baby names, baby things, baby pictures and engage in all kinds of baby over-consumption. We read diligently read scads of baby books, but how many people do you know who actually do the same reading about child development?

We really don't value children. We see evidence of this on a larger scale, for example, our most developed nations have appallingly high rates of child poverty and we think nothing of the fact that those we task with taking care of our children make ridiculously low wages. On a smaller scale, we are vexed by children's endless energy; annoyed by their volume and exhuberance; inconvenienced over their predisposition to avoid things we think they should do, like sleep and eat vegetables; and we are most certainly ill-equipped to handle the hugeness and wildness of their constantly changing emotional development. (For instance, I recently learned that our dopamine levels – that's the happy chemical – are the lowest at the ages of 2 and 14. Really, this says SO much about the wildness and unpredictability of emotions that come out of our two year olds – and 14 year olds, obviously!)

We glare at parents whose children melt down in public. We shoot dirty looks at parents whose kids talk too loud, move too fast, or otherwise break social codes of civility. Why can't those darn kids behave, we wonder? Why can't they talk instead of shout, walk instead of run, sit still once in awhile, listen the first time, pay attention. Why do they stubbornly dig in their heels in defiance? Why do they tantrum?

But what we really mean is, why can't they be more like us? More, well, adult. We like to think we have an appreciation for childhood. Childhood is the best time of our lives, we say. But have you ever heard someone say, "Oh don't be so childish" to a child? I have. It says a lot, I think.

Children are imperfect, messy, impulsive, loud, whimsical, exhaustingly-always-on-the-go, accidents-waiting-to-happen. They say it like they see it and feel their feelings unabashedly and with gusto. They need room to move, freedom to explore, and space for their voices to be heard (however loud those voices may sometimes be). It's as often exhausting and frustrating as it is cute. But they only get to be kids once. Why are we all in such a hurry to train it out of them?

The fact that my friend and I were glared at and reprimanded at a public place designed to be an educational facility for folks like kids speaks to the lack of spaces in the world that kids can be themselves. If children were valued – if we actually liked children – we'd let them be kids from time to time.

  1. wow, Amen….The sad thing is I myself have tried to take the kid out of my two year old be cause of the pressure I've felt from others around me. I'll be doing some thinking today. Thanks great post.

  2. WARNING – Long comment lol: I was reading an article in our local newspaper a few weeks ago written by a Canadian journalist living in France and it was based on the idea that Canadians let their kids get away with way too much of the running around/shouting/being kid-like compared to French children.

    I sort of connect to both ideas. For example, when I grew up our house looked a lot like a museum lol, and the place I was allowed to "make a ruckus" was in my bedroom or outside. I could play other places in the house, but quietly. Also, when we went to restaurants I was expected to stay in my seat and eat my dinner politely whether it was a 5 buck diner or a place that was going to cost us a few hundred dollars. I expect the same of the children I am around and I will expect it of my own children.

    However, growing up I was also allowed to run around all crazy outside, slide around in my swimsuit in the mud, eat snow as long as it wasn't yellow lol, and basically do a lot of stupid stuff I won't mention here because people will likely say my parents were allowing me to do dangerous stuff lol. My point is that my parents let me be a kid but expected good behavior. I find a lot of families these days are either in the bandwagon of, "Their kids, you can't expect them to be quiet" or "Their accessories, and they must not get dirty, speak, or ride their bicycle past the driveway"

    Both viewpoints drive me bonkers lol!

    • I agree 100% It's one thing to let them be "kids" and run a muck and be loud when appropriate, but they should also be taught when to be patient and polite. I was raised the same way you were. When in church I was taught to be quiet and patient, (my dad even taught me to play games that helped like counting how my times the priest said a certain word during the homily, which was great because I went to a catholic school and would often be question on the contents of the homily to make sure I was paying attention) but then when we were home we were out climbing trees, making mud pies, screaming, and running about (dad was usually out there with us, cause really he's just a big kid too)

    • AMEN Victoria! As a person getting a degree in development and family studies I see all behavior in the context of development.

      Just the other day a barely-2 year old child at a restaurant (Sunday brunch, a time when I think even very small children should be welcome in restaurants) stood up on his bench, leaned into out booth and dropped a spoon on me. When his mother apologized I said, "That's okay, exploring is his job!" and she actually thanked me for that.

    • This is a great idea! Maybe in high school, that way the majority of the population would have to take the class. It would be relevant to everyone even if you never have children, because you will have to deal with them at some point, also they are the future population, etc. Maybe it would give our culture a warmer heart, and better discernment dealing with children. Understanding never hurts!

    • Any ideas on where to find a good child development class? I ased my ob when I was pregnant and she was stumped

      • Hmmm… you might look for continuing education classes through a local university, or just sitting in on a class at the university (is that "comping"? I don't remember.) I did a psych minor, so that is where I took my development classes. Actually, now that this topic is started, it makes me think that there is a new avenue for people who get psychology degrees: teaching basic developmental psych classes outside of the university setting.

  3. Totally agreed! I am an elementary school teacher, and I'm always distressed by the extent to which I have to train kids NOT to be kids in order for them to be successful in the school setting. I often dream about building a school in which kids can be themselves, and learn through exploration and play. Of course there are times when calm, "good" behavior is necessary, but there are also times when adults need to chill out!

    • I've been known to take my seven year old out of school on a semi regular basis just so he can have kid days, whether it be spending the day with his Grandpa, or hanging out at home with me. He needs the emotional and mental break from school sometimes, it's just so unnatural! I really wish I had more patience and focus to just home school him, but I know we'd both just get frustrated with each other *sigh* There are times (most of the time) when he can just be a kid, but there are times that he needs to be respectful to others around us as the circumstances dictate. It's balancing that's essentially the key

    • I am also an elementary school teacher, and I have always been really tempted by the idea of democratic schooling, at least to an extent. Of course, whenever I bring this up in a "normal" school setting, all the other staff look at my like I have six heads, none of them containing brains lol!

    • I find it really sad that many schools in my area do not allow children after kindergarten to have recess, and expect kids to sit still and behave like angels for a six hour school day. Kids NEED time to run and play and breathe fresh air. When they don't get that, they act up (I know, I work in a day care/preschool and when the playground was snow covered for over a month, the kids had a bad, bad case of cabin fever). How can you expect six year olds to sit through an entire day of learning without adequate time to run and play? Then giving them an hour or two of homework?

      • Oh, exactly! My students only have 20 minutes of recess, which I don't think is enough. I'm always telling people, kids WILL play around. It's a necessity. If they don't have an official recess , they'll create their own recess…usually during math class!

  4. I agree with you that adults need to chill out! I once read of a school in (I believe) England that would take kids outside for several hours a day, regardless of the weather, and just let them explore the area around their school. They were allowed to play in the mud, and run around, and poke bugs and all of the things that let kids learn about the larger, natural world. I loved the idea, and I keep hoping it will catch on. People forget that we, as a species, learn largely by experience, and that structured learning works great until it forces kids to stop learning from the things they actually *do*.

  5. I work at a really small public library. We have a patron that has a severely autistic son, he is almost totally uncommunicative and the little social interaction he gets is at the library. We love for them to come in so he can be out and about.

    Other patrons, they're a different story. They try to make us go shush him and ask the family to leave. We politely tell them to go to hell.

  6. The only time I get annoyed by a kid being a kid (and by this I mean: a baby crying, a 4 year old running, and 8 year old talking too loudly etc.) Is when I feel like their right to be kids has begun infringing upon my rights.

    So I do sometimes resent noisy 4 year olds at quiet, romantic restaurants on Saturday nights or crying babies in late night movies. I think a balance of tolerance from others and good judgement on the part of parents deciding where it's appropriate to take their kids, makes everyone happy.

    However, I have NO tolerance for trying to make child "behave" in a child-centered environment where they are CLEARLY welcomed. PLEASE write a strongly worded note to the higher-ups at that place you were treated so poorly!

  7. I agree of it usually being a parent's choices, not necessarily a kid's. Like the baby crying during a movie example (why are you at a PG-13 movie with a kid this late?). Or a kid screaming their head off in a restaurant (they don't have a kid's menu, take the hint).

    However, to top them all my major peeves is kids with those roller skate shoes in the supermarket being dragged around by their parents. (Literally) It's not like they are running off energy nor did you not know they have them on and are doing something inappropriate, you are pulling them around!

    The husband and I don't really go out to too many "fancy restaurants", it's just those couple of times a year we dress up and go to restaurant that has a wine menu, no childrens menu, does it bother me when kids are being loud. We frequent diners and the kids playing with their toys at the table don't bother me. When they are enthusiastically telling a story, it doesn't affect us, and when they start playing peek-a-boo with us around the bench seating, it's cute and we play along.

    Kids running around in an area meant for kids to explore doesn't bother me. We have had the opportunity to go to the Franklin Institute for some displays. If you haven't been there: they have a medical room with interactive displays and a walk-though human heart. You can hear the room first because the kiddos are running like crazy around the displays. Sure it might be like "woah what the?" at first, then you remember that this exhibit is meant for children.

    I also agree with the point that everyone is crazy about babies, and it's kind of silly. They are going to be crazy kids much longer than they are cuddly babes. I know I won't take it personally the day when our kiddo decides he wants to go to the mall for dinner at the food court dressed like Batman and people give us weird looks. But I think I will be uncomfortable when strolling around with the baby and people must stop us and baby talk.

    • LOL I took my son to a food court for lunch when he had his blankie tied around his neck as a cape and he was wearing a pink, shiny cardboard eye mask! He wore it with pride and I held his hand with equal pride! lol

  8. I agree with you completely on this, but then I cut hair for a living. You would not believe the amount of hairdressers that WILL NOT do children's haircuts, but I do not mind it…I find it amusing. Being an off-beat mom myself I have piercings and tattoos and yes Hot pink streaks in my jet black hair…but I understand I like kids. One time, I was supposed to leave work and this kid was standing at my station and I asked him what he wanted, and he said…you to cut my hair. It made me smile, because most of their parents would never let me touch their hair, but their kids love me…and you know the parents tip me well…because I give their kids a great haircut, and I really think it shows that I enjoy spending time with their children.

  9. Even though I usually smile at the caregivers of a rambunctious young child in a store or restaurant or something, I still needed to read this. My 3-year-old is very smart and very enthusiastic, and I guess he's practicing his reasoning and logic because he wants to argue with me over EVERYTHING! I need to remember that he's just being a kid, and that's okay!

    • Elly – My son is three and giving me a royal run for my money too right now… (Three is HARD and I am trying hard not to, well, kill him πŸ˜‰ I hear ya! Natasha

  10. Well said! Kids are kids and there is a difference between teaching them to behave and stifling them. Whenever I see parents grab their kids and yell at them to act their age I want to go up to the parent and say, "They are".

  11. WOW..WOW. WOW WOW WOW. THIS IS REALLY SOMETHING. EVERYONE MUST READ THIS, MOTHERS, MOTHERS TO BE, FATHERS, JUST ALL ADULTS IN GENERAL. EXTREMELY INSIGHTFUL AND EDUCATIVE. I WAS ESPECIALLY TAKEN BACK BY THE PART WHERE SHE WROTE WE SOMETIMES TREAT OUR KIDS AS OUR ACCESSORIES WHERE THEYRE NOT ALLOWED TO GET MESSY OR GET THEYRE OUTFITS DIRTY. I MUST ADMIT I WAS THAT PERSON WITH MY ONE YEAR OLD. I WAS SO FOCUSED ON HAVING THE PERFECTLY DRESSED, PERFECTLY GROOMED AND BEHAVED LITTLE PRINCESS THAT I MIGHT HAVE UDERMINED HER BABY BEHAVIOR AND EXPLORING FOR BEING FUSSY OR A JUST A BRAT. THIS ARTICLE HAS DEFINITELY OPENED MY MIND AND CHANGED MY WHOLE PERSPECTIVE ON HOW I SHOULD AND WILL RAISE MY DAUGHTER AND HOW TO REACT TO THE DIFFERENT AND MANY LEARNING STAGES SHE WILL GO THROUGH.

  12. Thanks for your comments Offbeat mamas!!

    And I do agree that our kids also need to learn to be respectful and good listeners etc. And I would never ever take my wee wild things to a restaurant sans kid menu or to the movies (even kids movies just yet!) . Context is everything πŸ™‚

    And I did write a strongly worded letter (as did a friend that I was with!)

    Natasha

  13. Great article! I feel a battle in me everyday on teaching my daughter, and step son, how to have manners and follow rules without being to rigid. They are kids and I want them to be happy but I also want them to be respectful. It is a hard job to find a middle ground. I am lucky to have a great husband who reminds me how much fun it is to be a kid with them, yet he knows when drawing the line is necessary. All any parent really wants is for their kids to be happy, healthy, and feel loved.

    Oh, and the reason why kids have SO much more energy than adults is because your adrenaline glands never grow…

  14. I agree that it's important to find a balance. Part of it is learning (and teaching!) which times/settings are appropriate for exuberant kid behavior, and which times/settings are not. Come to think of it, this is something that a few adults need to learn as well! πŸ™‚

  15. I don't think anyone really minds a child who is being loud, enjoying themselves, exploring etc if they have some sense of manners and behaviour. Lets pretend we're at a museum aimed at children more than adults. Kids using interactive displays and being exuberant/loud/whatever wont really be regarded as a problem, they're just enjoying the stimuli available. Kids who are being disrespectful and deliberately damaging the displays etc would be frowned upon (even though because of age or things like learning issues they may not know better). There seems to be a fine line between being a kid and what people generally regard as bad behaviour

    • a very very fine line. and you'd be surprised at what people have a problem with! i've been at the zoo before and noticed people giving little kids mean looks for just being kids. no bad behavior, just exuberance!

  16. A friend of mine still brings up a tantrum my daughter had when she was 2 (she's almost 7 now); she was potty-training and had an accident on our mutual friend's carpet as well. She has sounded a bit judgmental about my daughter's behavior way back then for all the ensuing years. Now she herself is due to have a child in the coming month, and I wonder if she will realize how judgmental she was, or if she will try to force her child into some version of a mini-adult, as mentioned in this article? Because for five years now, she's had this attitude that there's something wrong with my child because she behaved – the horror! – LIKE A CHILD. I fear it will be the latter option, and hope beyond hope that I am wrong.

  17. Amen!!
    As a new mother of almost-six-month old twins, I've yet to truly experience of 'joys' of judging strangers. However, I was quite surprised at how easy it is for me to fall into the trap of judging other parents with their new chilluns…which was, needless to say, disturbing to me. This is a time in our adult lives where we need to be supportive of each other, regardless of the choices that you make for your own family.
    Does anyone have a recommendation for a child development book?

  18. While I agree with everyone who said, kids need opportunities to be kids, and they should also have reasonably "good"manners (everyone has bad days or embarrassing moments)… I wonder if this is a question of culture as well?

    As one woman said, parents in France expect their children to be "better behaved" in public and do very little "child proofing" of their homes. Asian parents also, often, have very different expectations of their children. I have seen toddlers use chopsticks in restaurants, where the non-Asian toddler two tables away is eating with their hands.

    Are we too judgmental the other way? Making assumptions about parents who do treat their children like "little adults"?

    • while children can be taught very good manners very young (my 9mo is better behaved in public than at home), and even a Western 2yo could have the dexterity for chopsticks, i think we still need to make allowances for the fact that young children ARE still learning how to handle their own emotions and trying to learn to control their world. that is very frustrating, and sometimes they are going to act up or melt down. hopefully they'll do it at home, but we aren't all that lucky all the time! i've heard about the French and their non-home-proofing ideas….i just don't know how to implement those strategies at MY house. my son automatically goes for ANYthing that he's not supposed to!

  19. Parents have to balance sculpting children into good big humans while the children are sculpting their self. And at the same time, parents are still growing as parents learn how to be parents. Society needs to have a little more patience with parents and children, maybe give a helping hand instead of passing judgment.

    With that said, there is a time and place for parents and children to be parents and children. Denny's is a great example. It happens to be our restaurant of choice right now because it is parent and child friendly. If I am at wits end and just do not have the energy to make them dinner, off to Denny's we go. They can have a healthier meal then a fast food restaurant and I can let them be them. That does not mean they can make a mess for no reason or forget to use their "pleases" and "thank you's" but they can talk a little louder and they can be more animated while we all eat. We have the craziest conversations with our 2, 4, and 16 year old. Anything from tutu wearing dinosaurs to what makes the mac n cheese orange. Have the time we end up making new friends at Denny's because their other people there that know it is a family place.

    We just need to remember to balance the growing and nurturing with the living in the moment activities. We all need all of those lessons to be good humans.

    • we have a local pizza place that acts as our "Denny's." when DS will NOT nap, we go out for pizza. he's only 9 months old, but he usually just falls asleep on our shoulders amidst all the commotion. we love this place, because they are SO kid friendly — we've never had ANYONE, staff or guest, glare at us on the rare occasion that he is fussy, and he's usually so happy there that everyone loves him. everyone on staff knows his name.

  20. I agree with many of the commenters here. The only time I get frustrated by parents not stepping in, is when kids are doing things that are unsafe. A 3 year old running around in a very busy giant grocery store is a recent example. He was running in and out of displays and darting around trying to hide from his Mom. All I could think was that grocery carts are the exact height of that kids little brain and some one was going to come around a corner and smash into him. I wish the parents had held his hand or plopped him in a cart. Or even just explained why this wasn't a good time to run. (I don't have kids myself but I am a nanny and baby-sitter for kids (about 1/2 special needs kids).

    • i agree with you — let the kids be kids, until they are being unsafe. the other day i was in my driveway and saw the neighborhood kids playing at one of the houses across the street, where they have a basketball goal. some of the kids were throwing ROCKS. the boy that actually lived there kept saying, "My grandpa told you not to do that!" but the others weren't listening. when they saw me they went somewhere else to play, but i couldn't help wondering, "If Grandpa knows the kids are going to throw rocks, why isn't he watching them?" i knew they'd been there for a while because i could hear them yelling from inside the house.

  21. When I was younger I always said that I would never like any kid but my own. Sad but true. And I think that alot of ppl do feel the same way. In the past I couldnt understand my child's behavior, and still some days I am exhausted by her constant barage of silly questions that I cannot answer because they are not logical. I am more exhausted by my own brain that has forgotten what it is like to be a kid than I am by her. I miss the ability to be free, and I love that about my child, that she is a free spirit. Still I think that I expect her to be a little adult too often and worry that I am not encouraging enough childlike behavior…not bad behavior, just the awesome wonder of being a child. My daughter is amazing and has taught me so much, I just hope that I am returning the favor.

  22. Amen! This has been a hot topic at my church recently. Some 'older folk' expect the children to be silent and sit still during church, just as they were raised. However, times have changed and we recognise that to be a family friendly welcoming church, we have to let kids be kids. We've made a concious decision as a church team to support parents and recognise that children are not just 'the future of the church' but children 'are the church'. This attitude has helped us create a more kid friendly environment, and hopefully this will extend to our lives outside of church as well. Thank you for your post!

  23. My son is two and a half. I am crazy about him, but I just said to my husband this evening that this "developmental stage" is preparing me for when he's a teenager! Moody? Unpredictable? Wild? YES! YES! YES! Think of how prepared I will be when he is 14 …

    Loved it. Will share it.

    • Jennifer – I hear you! My three year old is in the same stage and some days (like today!) I think he is clearly trying to kill me πŸ˜‰ We will so be ready for those teenage mood swings. Natasha

  24. i'm all for the rah-rah, hooray-for-parents-and-rowdy-kids sentiments, but there's a political reality to this as well. our society is experiencing a widening gap between parents and nonparents. nonparents-for-life (childless people who will stay that way) are in the minority; parents are in the majority.

    as in everything else, the majority usually wins. we get tax cuts for having children. we get parental leave policies. and we are entitled. we expect the nonparents to get in line and help us parent; or, no, wait, we are hideously insulted if another adult asks us to quiet our children in public, and god forbid anyone but our special, entitled selves should actually interact with our children in public, when we are not disciplining those kids because Kids Just Gotta Have Fun; and we are indignant that nonparents are judgemental. how dare they?

    they dare because our decision to have children has an enormous effect on their lives, on our society, and on our environmentally delicate planet. the nonparents are finally sick of having their concerns ignored because they are in the minority. what politician tries to appeal to Childless American values? none at all. they're all busy talking about "American families."

    we need to understand that our children affect their environments, including public spaces, even ones that invite children to participate. we need to acknowledge, humbly, all that the nonparents do for us, such as cover our butts during maternity leave or work late hours while we head home to pick up Johnny from soccer practice. instead, parents in the US tend to act so entitled, and tend to let their kids run wild in public. it's the *combination* that's adding up and making people angry.

    sure, kids should be kids! they just shouldn't do it in the grocery store. or, sometimes, in a museum, even one that has stuff for kids in it. and if we want more societal support for children and for parenting issues (money for education, say, or better parental leave and childcare situations), we may have to get off our high horses and work, gently, with nonparents. we may have to occasionally allow some public spaces to not be playgrounds for our precious offspring. otherwise, the conflict will just keep growing.

    • First of all…I hadn't really thought about this particular perspective before (though of course I do realize that the world is very assuming that everyone should want kids, have kids etc and that this is problematic) and I thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. I do feel the need to point out to you that though I am all for people disagreeing with me, I would have probably been more open to hearing your thoughts if there was a bit less of an edge (ie. terms like "high horses", and "special entitled selves" served more to get my back up than they did to make me think about your argument. Just saying. You are probably right that parents act entitled – but it also seems to me that perhaps, as with any vastly divergent perspectives, a sense of entitlement likely falls to both ends of the opinion spectrum).

      sorry this is going to be a bit of an essay…

      • I think that maybe CF and people with kids might well have very different ideas of what constitutes "running wild" (hell – this is a distinction even peeps with kids will argue about).
        My point was that I am pretty sure my kids were behaving appropriately for the venue they were in. CF folk and parents may well never agree on what exactly "being kids" entail. But here's what I know: I can't stop my kids from being kid in the grocery store. They are kids in the grocery store. They are kids at nature conservatorys that are made to look like parks. They ARE kids. I don't think this means that parents have carte blanche to tolerate problematic behaviour in public (like say, kids being unsupervised, screaming, being disrespectful etc.), or flood the world's ballet and opera houses and pubs and movie-theatres and no-kid-menu restaurants with screaming babies and tantruming toddlers and nose-picking preschoolers. (Sorry – not trying to be glib here – that's just how I talk).

        continued again πŸ™‚

        • I totally get and agree that there are many places where it's not appropriate to take children. But it does mean that kid-like behaviour, like say, running and playing and giggling is going to go where the kids are. And just like I'd tell someone who was uncomfortable with me flashing my mama boobs while breastfeeding in public to look away, I'm gonna say that in this particular case, I paid the same money as childless folks (actually more) to go to the nature conservatory. I believe my kids also have a right to be there, and to have fun there too. Yes – there needs to be a balance between adult patrons' needs for enjoying their experience and kids' needs to have fun. But to my mind, balance doesn't necessarily mean kids need to be on a short-leash everywhere they go, either.

          cont'd again – I swear – last time!

    • The thing is, the world isn't divided between childfree people and parents. Even if you never choose to have children, the fact remains that you WERE a child once. You were noisy and messy and the world tolerated you, so it isn't so much to ask that you do the same now on the occasions you meet a noisy child in public.

  25. I also think that you and I will have to agree to disagree about the extent to which the world is child friendly. I still don't think the world gives a crap about kids, or moms for that matter. We may talk a good game (politicians in particular) but our appalling rate of child poverty (which is really just the feminization of poverty), child abuse, neglect and abandonment, and yes, the lack of public places that children (in all their childishness) are actually welcomed, says differently.

    Though we probably don't so much see eye to eye on this issue, I do want to thank you (and I mean this sincerely) for your perspective – and I am definitely going to spend more time thinking about it.

    Natasha

  26. the idea that children are just miniature adults is an old, and old-fashioned, view. we need to move past this if we want our children to truly develop the ability to express themselves in a positive manner. so many children act out even more than their natures would normally have them do, just to get ANY kind of attention. if we were more willing to let kids be kids, perhaps they would mature in a more natural way, and be more self-confident and self-reliant.

  27. A lot of places, kid-friendly or not, have strict policies about children running about the place, since we are one lawsuit-happy nation. A child could injure himself or others, especially in an indoor attraction. Was this a place were guided tours were being offered, or where staff were doing demonstrations or other things where they would have to speak over the screams of small children? Just saying, there is some information missing in the OP… Not that I condone people who get uppity at the mere instance of "kids being kids," but some places, even child-friendly places, cannot cater to or hold the attention of young children without inconveniencing other patrons. Sometimes it's better to just grab the kid, briefly speak to the manager about the staff's attitude and ask for your money back, then go to the park and let him run around and scream to his heart's content.

  28. I certainly agree that kids should be allowed to act like kids…But some parents really do need to know when to draw the line.
    For example, I work at a theater. Not a movie theater mind you, but a stage theater. With balconies. And I work up on the highest level. I fully support the idea that children should have access to the arts, but if your five year old can not be out of your grasp for a moment without running into the theater, then please stay home and rent a DVD of the production.
    I can't tell you the number of times my heart has nearly stopped watching a little kid come inches from toppling down the balcony three stories up because they won't stop running. And how many parents actually would allow me to say or do anything to discourage such dangerous behavior? I can guarantee my managers would be getting complaints about me if I tried to ask their precious little darlings to slow down.

  29. I too have a very enthusiastic 5 year old daughter, Karma Kay, who is such a joy….to everyone that doesn't have kids. I do have friends that appreciate her inquisitiveness (and she'll proudly tell everyone "I'm so inquisitive, because I want to be smart and learn things")as well as her crazy, outrageous personality, however those humans who have yet to experience the joy of those crazy moments and the obscurity that comes from a little human's mouth do just as you've mentioned. Scowl, shush, and generally make me feel inadequate. I say NO MORE! If you do not have a 2 year old, by gosh don't judge someone standing in the market isle almost in tears because her tasmanian devil of a toddler is throwing a temper tantrum! instead walk on and know that you too were once 2 years old. Maybe even give a nice nod as if to say "breathe, all will be well and this too shall pass". Great GREAT read. Thank you for putting this out there to remind us that Children, not just babies, are quite the bundle of incredibleness as well!

  30. I can see both sides of the coin. On one hand, crying, screaming, whining children hurt my ears (my ears are very sensitive and it does actually hurt). So in that respect, I wish kids would just be quiet. On the other hand, I'm a bit immature myself, even as an adult, and I feel like I can kind of understand the way a child's mind works sometimes, so it annoys me when I see parents or any adults insist on doing things the adult way. If your kid is safe, what's the harm of letting them have some fun (e.g. standing on a bus seat so they can see out as long as they're braced against something or you're holding on to them so they don't fall, running in a place where you don't have to worry about them tripping over something or crashing into something or someone, etc.)? Another thing that annoys me from both perspectives is when a parent brings a baby somewhere without bringing along something to keep the child entertained and then when the baby starts to cry because they're bored or hungry or need a diaper change (I've smelled evidence of this), all they get is a 'ssssh' (or something worse like 'shut up') from the parent, who doesn't want to stop whatever it is that they're doing. As you can probably guess, this does nothing to solve the situation. So the kid keeps crying, the parent keeps 'ssssh'ing, and I'm suffering because of the noise. Some parents will say things like 'just one more minute,' and I'm okay with that because it feels like they're trying to interact with their kid and acknowledge their feelings of boredom, and sometimes tat seems to work in getting the noise to subside.

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