Thursday, September 24, 2009

I didn't think I was that old...

I went to a major shopping centre today, partly to do a bit of gift shopping for a mum who is having a blessingway tomorrow, and partly to get away from the house and my demon darling children...

Ok, it's school holiday, I'll give you that. And yes, it's not the greatest of weather so kids have possibly been cooped up a bit (that would have something to do with my needing to get away from my lovely off-spring)... But, seriously, when did it become okay in our society to employ completely ignoring the inconsiderate behaviours of children over the age of two as a parenting method???

I sat down at the only empty table I could find in the busy foodcourt, and soon realised why it was the only empty table in the foodcourt. At the adjoining table sat three young women; in their 20s, I'd say. They were well dressed and seemed pretty civilised themselves. In front of them where three or four empty kids meal boxes, which it soon became apparent belongs to the five kids playing in the vicinty of their table. By playing, I mean, chasing each other around, screeching, pulling each others tops, trying to wrestle each other onto the floor, chucking wet wipes at one anothers faces, and so on... The kids were aged between about 3 and 7. How were the mums reponding to this energy? Well, in short, they weren't.

Ok, maybe that's not completely fair of me. One mum made a feeble attempt on two occassions to gain the children's attention and tell them to, "settle down".

I wish I could be a bit more accepting. In part, I'm well aware that children in that age category have energy to BURN. I know my kids wouldn't have well tolerated being in an overcrowded food court for over an hour (I sat their for 40 minutes, and they'd already finished eating when I arrived, so assuming they'd been there for at least 20 minutes already by the time I arrived). Then again, BECAUSE I know that situation would be quite boring for my kids, I just wouldn't put myself - and others - into that situation.

Why didn't they go to one of their houses for coffee if they just wanted to sit and talk. Or one of the play centres around the place?

Moreover, why didn't I hear any conversation between the mums and the kids about taking other patrons needs into consideration. I mean, these kids, in their play, were crashing into my table. Where was the, "This isn't a great place to run about,"?

I understand ignoring the inconsiderate behaviours of under threes, they're not socially oriented, but surely once they've turned three, even though they don't become socially oriented overnight on their birthday, aren't parents supposed to help the child become more aware of other people? Or is it not politically correct to teach children to consider other people anymore - yk, now that we're all focused on not crushing the child's self-esteem?

And if your child can't cope with a social situation, then is it fair to expose that child to that situation for an extended period of time and risk subjecting your child to the disapproving glares, or even comments, of strangers?

Ignoring a bad situation does not make it go away... Being oblivious is not a great parenting strategy, and it's very unfair to the children who then grow up ignorant of socially acceptable behaviour - humans are social creatures, it might go against the modern phenomenon of worshipping individual rights, but a human who doesn't learn socially acceptable behaviour will find him or herself outside society (something I'm sure most children would find very upsetting)...

1 comment:

katef said...

you're talking about me and my kids aren't you!!!!!???? LOL

Oh but I deal with those socially crap shopping centre situations by singing 'I don't care' over and over again.. so it can't be me you are referring to!

For what it's worth food courts have got to be the worst place for young kids if they are not eating... don't know why those mums subjected themselves to the trauma let alone their kids and everyone else!

Teenagers and the failing parent...