Sorry, no. If you've got a kid trying to crack her head open in some sort
of display of disapproval and another trying to bite everything in sight, then
you've got a pair of brats and I, too, have more pressing things on my
mind. There are many environments where this type of behaviour is inappropriate,
and I'm not interested in surrendering them and leaving because you think I
should. It would be like me saying I should be able to smoke in a grocery store,
regardless of who goes there.
I'm also in opposition to the live and let live concept of public behavior.
Get a sitter if your children are given to uncontrollable, unruly behavior.
It's a fallacy to believe that all children might be as unruly as yours and
you can get away with just looking the other way. I encounter many
children (and adults) who no longer have a sense of appropriate behavior and
talk loudly during choir concerts and even talks at church. Ours has become a
crass and uncouth society in part because parents looked the other direction
when they children misbehaved...and those children are now adults with no sense
of decorum. My 6 children are hardly perfect and we passed on taking
them to restaurants and other public places when we felt their behavior would
bother others. We sat on the back row in church to more easily and quietly deal
with noisy toddlers. As for leaving a church because someone said
something offensive? Sounds like a rationalization.
It's hardest for things like church and grocery shopping, where missing it
altogether has significant consequences. Airports and airplanes are also places
that are REALLY hard on kids and full of intolerant people. No matter how you
train your kids or prepare them for being in public, sometimes circumstances are
too much for them and they are going to act badly. It is SO nice when
there's someone loving and helpful close by, like the woman you described.
@Hutterite, @From Ted's Head. Whoa. Amazing to meet two
individuals who were never children themselves. I have three kids, and while I
take every measure I can think of to discipline and teach them correct behavior,
they still have unruly episodes in public despite my best efforts. I don't
believe that qualifies a child as a "brat", or that we all ought to have
a midday sitter on hand for trips to the grocery store. I also don't
believe the author is suggesting children ought to be allowed to run wild since
she mentions she is focused on disciplining them. She is trying, instead, to
block out negative energy from folks like you who would rather criticize than
lend a hand. That seems to me to be the intent of the column - to point out
that we can choose to influence the life of another for better or for worse.
A society comprised of adults willing to judge a struggling parent
and a complete stranger, rather than attempt to assist seems more crass and
uncouth to me.
A kid misbehaving or falling apart in a grocery store is not something to get
bent out of shape over. It is not practical to get a babysitter to get grocery
shopping done as much as young moms wished it were. Shopping for groceries is
not like a concert or a restaurant. This mom seems reasonable and I
doubt would expect the same tolerance for a melt-down during a performance where
people came to listen or at a restaurant where people pay for a nice meal. I
don't think she's advocating for total acceptance no matter where her
family is.As far as a kid who yells out once in church, no big deal.
They are still learning appropriate behavior and will make some mistakes.
However, the families who consistently make noise and a mess during church, at a
restaurant or a concert (the ones you avoid sitting next to if you can) are
I never realized that so many people go to the grocery store for a quiet and
contemplative experience. A nice restaurant I can understand, but who cares if
you have to hear a child screaming in a grocery store. It's a grocery store
for crying out loud (literally!). Perhaps if Hutterite and Ted's Head are
bothered so much by it they should combine forces and start a grocery store
chain that doesn't allow children.
I found these comments delightful and entertaining. I don't know about you
but grocery shopping after many years is becoming boring and a little scream or
bump wakes me up to reality. Godo comments.
I wonder how often Hutterite and Ted's Head have gone grocery shopping with
small children. If they have done it less than, say, a dozen times, they are in
no position to advise a young mom on how it is best accomplished. Also, I'd
like to see how they could work a regular and ongoing baby sitting fee into a
tight grocery budget. And if they have fool-proof ideas on child rearing
"non-brats," that right there makes them genius parents.I
recall a very frazzled shopping trip with my little kids where I actually kept
my cool although I felt like crying with frustration. A kind woman came up to me
in the parking lot and said, "I was watching how you treated your children
in the store, and wanted to commend you on doing such a good job. You were so
patient with them." From then on, I treated my kids with more patience,
because someone had taken the time to give me positive reinforcement.