I love children; I hope to have some of my own one day. Perhaps when I do, I will be better able to tolerate other people’s misbehaving children. Every child occasionally acts out or has a meltdown in public. What aggravates me, is the parent who ignores the behavior completely, the parent who counts to ten and gives repeated warnings and then does nothing. Perhaps they are just worn down and tired of dealing with it. There’s always the off chance that a parent doesn’t realize that their child is bothering others. Here are a few of the things that most people find most aggravating.
1. Screaming and whining at a restaurant. With prices at restaurants skyrocketing and the economy on a downswing, most people don’t get to eat out that often. When they finally do sit down at a pricey restaurant (not McDonalds) they would like to talk to each other and enjoy their meal in a nice, quiet setting. Loud piercing screams interrupt conversations and make it difficult to hear. Show respect for other people by taking a screaming or whining child to the lobby or outside.
2. Loud video games and noises at the Doctor’s office. People go to the doctor when they don’t feel good. If you have to bring your children along to your appointment, realize that this is not the Pediatricians waiting room. Loud beeping video games are annoying and difficult to deal with when you’re not feeling well. Someone could be dealing with the anxiety of a serious health problem and not be able to tolerate the chaos. Ask your child to sit quietly and read or bring along their favorite toy.
3. Misbehaving at the Grocery store. We have all seen the unattended children at the grocery store racing around and pushing each other in the cart. This is dangerous; children could get hurt, or hurt others by running around. I have watched numerous meltdowns when a parent tells their child that they can’t have that sugary cereal they crave so much. I have actually seen parents walk away and leave the child screaming and crying on the floor. I think they’re hoping to shock them into behaving somehow. Keep in mind that it makes some people uncomfortable to see a child in distress left unattended in a public place. I never know if I should stand there to keep an eye on them, or walk away quickly and pretend I didn’t see anything. Keep your child with you and under control in the grocery store.
These instances are of course the exception and not the rule. Most parents would never dream of letting their child act this way in public. It does happen however, so much so that even restaurants are starting to put an age limit or denying children altogether. Stores post signs showing the correct way to use a shopping cart, highlighting the danger of allowing children to use them incorrectly. I have even seen Doctor’s offices ask patients not to bring their children to an appointment. It’s sad it has to come to this. Most children do not misbehave in public, but just like everything in life, a few bad experiences can cause people to become aggravated with children altogether. Parents have to work hard to make sure that they are not adding to the public perception that perhaps children shouldn’t be allowed. I would hate to think that when I have children, they may no longer be welcome in some places of business.