Oh, Behave!

boy screamingMore and more restaurants and public facilities around the country are starting to push back at parents who let their children run wild and free in public. They are becoming increasingly vocal in asking and expecting parents to take charge and control their children.

One large sign in a New York opthamalogist’s office reads, “All unsupervised children will be given a cappuccino and a free puppy.” A Chicago restaurant posted a sign that reads, “Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices when coming to A Taste of Heaven.” That particular owner got a lot of flack from parents who complained that it’s hard to make little kids behave when they go out to eat and they shouldn’t have to. A restaurant in Minneapolis has a sign that says, ”We love children, especially when they’re tucked into chairs and behaving.” And one in California states, “Well-behaved children and parents welcome.”

Apparently, restaurant owners, other diners, and busy office staff have finally had enough of loud, unruly children wreaking havoc while their parents sip coffee, talk on their cell phones, read the paper or grab a bite to eat. Some of these parents are actually objecting to being asked to take care of their own kids. Yes indeed. And in loud, entitled voices, no less.

So the Mamas have to ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Oh yeah, it’s OUR JOB to teach them how to behave! Right! And unless we want an entire generation of rude, demanding, obnoxious kids and teenagers running around, we had better get busy! The entitled parent begets the entitled child after all, and it’s not a loving thing to allow your child to become the kid that nobody likes to be around.

Manners and consideration of others are critical life skills that will serve your child well for his entire life. But he’ll never learn how unless you take the time to teach him and to model it yourself, too. Okay, we’re getting off the soapbox now.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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