OT: manners

Maybe I’m just getting old, but it drives me nuts when young children exhibit rotten behavior and their parents do nothing about it. I was at a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday when a young girl (maybe 5 or 6) seated in front of me was turning around and whispering/gesturing to her friend seated behind me. I understand the service is long and it is hard for kids to be perfect 100% of the time, but not once did her parents (seated on either side of her) attempt to get her to sit still and face forward. This went on throughout the entire service. I didn’t know them and said nothing for fear of finding myself seated with them at the reception! I also thought it would be rude to get up and move during the service, especially since the temple was fairly crowded.

A few weeks earlier at a middle school band concert, a couple of kids were running around in front of the stage DURING the performance. The band teacher had to say something between songs and they still kept going. Finally the Superintendent got up and walked them back to their seats. These were not toddlers…I’m talking about 7 or 8 year old kids here!

This seems to happen everywhere…kids who kick the seat in front of them on an airplane (always my husband’s seat!)…kids who bounce around on the booth seats in a restaurant when you’re seated on the adjoining seat…etc. etc. I understand that kids are kids and I don’t really blame them - it’s the parents who don’t even attempt to help their kids understand the difference between a playground and any other environment where rules for behavior are different. The prevailing attitude seems to be that they are too young to comprehend the concept.

Am I too intolerant and over the edge on this? I have two teenagers, so it isn’t as if I haven’t been on the other side of things.

Nope, it’s not you.
We have a one-year-old, and there are times when I think she has better manners than some older kids. She knows to say “please” and “thank you” already, and we’re constantly teaching her how to eat properly at the table. We get compliments when we take her out to restaurants.

I don’t know what it is…maybe some parents are too afraid to be the disciplinarian? I think some parents are scared discipline their child in public for fear of what others may say.

Last week, our friends took their 2-yr-old daughter to Ikea. She started waving her water all over the place, so they told her to stop before she made a mess. Well, she did it again and spilled water on the floor at Ikea. So, the mom got her some papertowels and made the little girl clean up her own mess, right then and there. People were stopping and were all, “Aww, the poor girl” and others were whispering about how they couldn’t believe that they were making her ‘clean up the floor.’ Seriously, how else was she supposed to learn? I applauded them for making the extra effort to teach their daughter that she needs to be considerate of others.

IMO I don’t think you are being too intolerant. I think part of the problem with society today is lack of parental involvement. My kids would not have gotten away with something like that and I never quite know how to handle it when other children misbehave. I tend to give the frowny face/raised eyebrow look to the child/parents. Sometimes they respond by making the child stop, but more often they ignore me. :rollseyes:

I am inclined to agree with you. I have 5 kids and I will not pretend that they are perfect angles (cause they are not hehe) but Each situation you stated requires that a parent say something to their child. My children would not have gotten away with things like that. They know when it is appropriate for them to goof off and when it isn’t. It bothers me when I see parents just allow their kids to go running and be bothersome when they should be good and quiet. Gives other parents a bad name and it makes it harder to control my kids when they see the other kids running around like crazies then they want to as well. Its all this “children are fragile and shouldn’t be reprimanded” state of mind that is ruining kids. There is a limit to punishment but …
Sorry soapbox. :wink:

I’m going to agree with you here. The older I get (I’m only 29) the more it bothers me. I don’t have any kids yet, but i sure hope that I’ll be a little more respectful to other people and try to teach my kids better than a lot of parents are.
But, from what i hear, it’s society that is the problem. When people read books on parenting, people are told not to tell their children “no” all the time and told not to yell at them for everything; to pick your battles. Unfortunately, parents have taken this to mean to not yell at your children unless they are doing somethng that will harm them.
What they don’t realize is that by neglecting to teach them respect, they run the risk of me spanking their kids for them. :wink:

So in the situation njknitter described, here’s what I would do: I would lean over to the girl and ask her directly “Young lady, could you please sit down I can’t see the service” or something to that effect. So I’m gonna go out on a limb here. I believe children are not the property of their parents but are our collective responsability. What that means is, if you see a child doing somehting out of step with the order of things then I think we as adults have a responsability to take charge of the situation. Now I know there is the whole issue of the parent of the child taking offense (I know I wouldn’t want anyone to “parent” my child in a way that I find inappropriate) but at the same time I think we need to take a risk and start the conversation. Or even asking the parent “do you mind if I make a suggestion to your child?” Or something like that. Anyway, I hope I have given some helpful advice.

I see it too… but then sometimes I think as adults we are not as nice as we should be… you don’t hear thank you very often… or have a nice day… or even hello… so kids don’t pick up on it… my kids do say thank you and welcome cause its something that is said everyday in our house… dh and I always say that to one another… and please so they learn that… also you don’ t hear ma’am or sir very often even when someone calls me for something they think they can just call me by my first name… when used to be it was ma’am… I also think part of it is the fear mentioned above some are afraid to do anything in public and kids know this and tend to act up even more… I also sometimes think adults have a way of speaking their mind harshly when it really isn’t needed which comes across rude… so kids do the same…when we use to turn the other way or say well bless your little heart :rofling: … they learn from us…

When I check out at a store I always say hello… and thank you… and you have a nice day now most of the time the clerk is in shock but my kids now do this too…

LOL my son (he is 5) use to get his sirs and ma’ams mixed up… thankfully everyone found it cute when he said Yes, Sir and it was suppose to be ma’am :blush:

Well, my “kids” are 30 and 22 so maybe my memory is a little dimmed by the passage of time. However, I don’t remember allowing my kids free rein. Parents don’t seem to want to take the time or effort to make sure that children learn to act properly. Maybe the parents don’t know how to act themselves. I can remember sitting through elementary school programs for my kids and being totally appalled by parents standing up in the middle of performances to call out their kids’ name and waving. Or listening to a kid scream through a meal at a restaurant rather than being taken out by one of the parents until the kid calmed down. Discipline and corporeal punishment are not the same thing.

I think that people are so concerned with their own comfort, convenience, rights that they don’t have to be considerate of anyone else’s feelings. I think it shows, from watching Simon Cowell insult people on American Idol, Bridezillas throwing tantrums over loose beading, to road rage incidents. I think the general population doesn’t believe that have to be polite or considerate as long as they get what they want when they want it, and they certainly aren’t teaching their children how to behave. We don’t get mad, we get even. We have no patience with sales clerks regardless of how innocent a mistake is. People are just getting ruder. I’ve heard that Europeans are even worse, but I’m sure they’ve got nuthin’ on us good ole’ Americans.

I am certainly glad the posters here at KH are nicer than the norm!

I don’t think you’re too intolerant – this makes me mental too. I am hypervigilant with my kids and common courtesy and it drives me bonkers when parents make no effort whatsoever. If a kid is out of control and their parents are trying to rein them in, I have all the compassion in the world for them. But when they look the other way it really ticks me off.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think there’s a whole lot of parents who were caught by surprise when they discovered what hard work parenting is. Much of the parenting experience involves saying the same freaking things 34570945 times, and it seems like these parents decide that they just aren’t up for it, for whatever reason, so they let their kids do whatever they want.

While you do have to pick your battles as a parent, I think that basic common courtesy is one that’s definitely worth the effort. Even if it’s hard. And exhausting. And it takes a long time to see results.

I’m hesitant to say things to other people’s kids not because I think it’s inappropriate, but because people can be so unpredictably psycho about it. I’ve had it happen to me, and I’ve watched it happen to other people, where they gently correct a child and the parent goes bats on them. It’s totally backwards. If someone else corrects my child, I’m embarrassed that they had to (because that’s my job!) but I’m ultimately grateful because it reinforces the fact that they need to respect all adults, not jus ttheir parents.

'kay, off my soapbox now! :wink:

t’s totally backwards. If someone else corrects my child, I’m embarrassed that they had to (because that’s my job!)

I totally agree Julie. I’d be mortified if my kids were acting so badly that a stranger had to step in to deal with the situation because I didn’t handle it. But instead of being embarassed, too many parents would be infuriated that someone would do something about a child’s bad behavior. The parents go psycho and the children get the totally wrong message. No wonder we have so many kids from hell out there.

At my DD college graduation, there was a group (young adults) in front of us who were acting very loud and boisterous; cheering, waving signs, standing up, whistling. I finally had to ask them to settle down so that I could hear my daughter’s name announced and see her walk. I was a little afraid they were gonna punch out my lights, but they quieted down just long enough for her dad and I to catch the big moment.

Well I’m glad (though not surprised) that the KH crowd shares my views! I don’t know too many people that would put up with truly obnoxious behavior from their kids without saying something, and yet it happens all the time - probably for all the various reasons (and more) pointed out in this thread!

It seems to be a generational thing.

There’s a big ‘gap’ in manners.

I’m 30, and have always had it browbeaten into me that good manners are imperative to living well with others.

I’m also lucky that DH was brought up the same way.

I see kids between the ages of 5 and 25 (not all… mind you), who are the WORST behaved rots I’ve ever seen!!!

Now that we’re ‘baking’ one of our own, and I think there are a lot of women in the breeding stages (awful term isn’t it), who feel the same way, and will raise their children with the same manners that our parents (and in a lot of cases, grandparents) enforced on us.

I don’t think you’re being too intolerant at all. In fact, I agree with you! I see it on a daily basis and it drives me insane sometimes. My own two kids (aged 5 and 3) know to use their manners at all times. Kids will be kids and I respect that. I don’t want them to be perfect and don’t expect them to sit still for hours on end, but I do expect them to use basic manners and respect for others around them.

However, the down side of this is that I get a lot of “looks” from other people when I make no hesitation at all about disciplining my kids in public. I don’t care where we are – there are rules for a reason. I don’t shout or smack them, but you’d think I had with some of the looks I’ve received. I’ve noticed parents are becoming more ‘relaxed’ in their parenting styles over the years. I was raised in a certain way so I guess that’s why I’m less tolerant over kids who continually misbehave in public.

However, I’m always aware that kids act up – that’s why kids do. So I try to keep my opinions to myself and I would be very very angry if another adult tried to step in and tell my child how to behave (unless it were a close friend or family member).

I’m one of those who lets my kids go wild. Yup! I let them run free! Okay, as long as they are in my sight, not bothering anyone, being quiet, and not hurting anything. While I’m shopping, they jump out of the cart and play while I’m shopping, but they are in the same aisle, quiet and I make sure they are not in anyone’s way. They are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 so I have them look for certain things to give me time to shop (“See if you can find a blue star”). And, when they misbehave, I do discipline in public. They don’t get spanked, but they do get strapped down or miss out on a cookie or something! We frequently take them outside at restaurants just to run off some energy. I guess I know kids will be kids and we can’t expect them to be adults, but they do need to be mindful and respectful of others and they know it.

The thing that gets me is the swimming pool. We go to the “baby” pool and we take a bag full of toys. Every single time we are there someone takes one of our toys without asking and plays with it until we have to go ask for it back. My 3 year old will follow them around and try to get it back, but they won’t until I go up and ask for it. These kids are 5 or 6 at least. I NEVER turn down a child who asks to play with a toy, but I do take them back if they don’t ask. (Yes, I’m nice to the little ones that can’t or don’t know how to ask, but the parents should be mindful or their little ones!)The parents sit on the side chatting with each other or on their cell phones and have no idea what their kids are doing. Last week two boys (maybe 6 or 7 years old) tried to drown another little boy. He was choking and throwing up water and the parents didn’t even notice until it was almost too late. The “drowners” had to go sit on the side for a couple minutes and then they were back at it! I would’ve taken them home right then and we wouldn’t have been back at the pool for a VERY long time! If I were a lifeguard there, I would’ve kicked them out. That was just awful!


I work with kids. A vast majority of them are rotten little bastards. I love them anyway, because I can see that there is still hope and that it isn’t their fault.

But it drives me absolutely nuts nonetheless. I ride my son hard. I never let up when it comes to how he behaves and if he misses a beat, I will make him fix it, right then and there.

I do the same with the kids in my classes. It makes a difference. No one else bothers to tell them. Kids crave and need boundaries. They scream for them. Good for all of you who love children enough to correct them, even if they aren’t yours!

I think alot of the being stern in public when a child is mis-behaving has changed over the generations. When I was 4, I used to be the queen of temper tantrums (yes I’ll admit it, cause I really don’t remeber this). My mom literally swatted me with a fly swatter once cause I was on the floor screaming because she wouldn’t buy me a toy. I have been very fortunate as I raised my daughter with a very open attitude, esp when it comes to money and how it is earned and spent in our house. She knows my wages, what kind of bills we have and how much things can cost. (I didn’t want her being like her friends that seem to think money is on trees). She makes choices and is alloted money for certain things (such as clothing shopping for back to school) She will compare and decide what is worth while to her and what she can get for her money. Now that she is 10 I find I can talk to her and don’t really get too much mouthing back. Occassionally we get in to conversations, beacuse she has a friend who is from a split family, and the little girls dad, often buys things as a replacement for not giving the girl his time. (Like cell phones, designer clothes etc) and it often confuses Allie as to why they can buy that and we can’t. Most of the time, I ask her that what is more important to her, time with her parents or things that will eventually wear out or break.
Now my two cents worth on discipline in public, I had never done it (really never needed too, until my daughter was 4) forget terrible two’s four was worse for me. My daughter had been acting up all day, usually I avoid public places on those days, my husband needed to go get something, so we went out. Allie was in the grocery cart and she would do this thing where she would do these short bursts of screeming for no reason, and people would look at me like I was beating her, I offered her a snack and she threw it on the floor and continued to do this screeming, finally I said the magic words (do we need to visit the bathroom and talk -that was my key word for a possible spank on the bottom). She all of a sudden screemed my mom is going to beat me. During this a lady not far from us, stared at my husband I, walked over and told us we were the worst parents ever and should have never been allowed to have a child. I took a calm deep breath and told her to kiss my ****. I think that was the first time I ever spoke like that and went home and cried. My husband remembers that day too well, and now with alot of people intervining and the child abuse problem in society I really worry. My daughter was told in Kindergarten that if if your mommy and daddy do anything you don’t like you can call 911 or police and they will help you (they left out the explaination about emergencies etc.) my daughter got angry and told me if I made her eat cauliflower again she could call 911. Anyhow, sorry for the long post, I have never told anyone ever about that day. Thanks for listening/reading.

I agree that a parent has the right to decide how to raise their children. My objection is with those who appear to simply not parent at all. Personally I wouldn’t be bothered by a child having a tantrum in a grocery store or mall. It happens and I think we’ve all been there - I know I have!

A child in a place like a religious service, restaurant, airplane, or theater that is behaving in a way that negatively affects others annoys me ONLY when the parents do nothing to address it. My children certainly weren’t angels in every situation, but I did my best to make sure they stopped and apologized to the other person. If I couldn’t keep control, I removed them from the situation. Luckily that never happened on a plane! :lol:

I agree with those who say that kids sometimes do things that are not in our control (run around, bump into others, yell and scream, talk too loud, throw tantrums, etc.), but it’s the reaction by the parent that’s important.

a lot of the kids at our tae kwon do school are rude. not saying ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’, ‘please’, ‘excuse me’, bumping into people, talking too loud, and blocking peoples’ view. but I watch their parents also. they are the same way. they still do it. these kids are learning (or not learning) by example.

I won’t get into the issues we’ve had (because I could write a 65421326 page book) since getting my stepson in 2001 after the first 8 years of his life were in a “no rules and no attempt at punishment” environment. let’s just say he was like an uncivilized animal - everything from table manners and public behavior to toilet habits. I agree with CarmenIbanez - kids need and crave boundaries.

I think one of the worst things is taking particularly young children out to events like a play that is not geared towards children - like a serious drama or a tragedy. There isn’t enough going on to keep their attention, so they end up acting out because they are simply bored and it’s not their fault. They’ve been put in a situation where they are literally set up to fail.

I still remember how amazed we all were when I was in a production of Chicago and we never had any screaming kids in the audience and then somebody pointed out that it was a musical and that we probably kept their attention with all the singing and dancing going on every five minutes. Something like a solemn dance recital or a courtroom drama probably wouldn’t have had the same effect.

I’m 15 and I think that, yes, kids will get bored at services and concerts, and may even cry, but they should be asked to be quiet or moved to the lobby. If a baby is crying, (fussing is fine) I mean, full-blown, screaming, and throwing a fit, his parent should take him out of the room. In this day in age, some one you know was bound to have filmed the show, so the parent isn’t missing anything.

Here in my small town, when ever we have a band concert, there is this one family who has five young children. At every event, the kids run around, yell, fight, and the mother does nothing. At. All. Except for continue to watch the show and take pictures. All of the kids are 3-8 years old and could easily be quietly entertained with a gameboy or a book or sitting in a relative’s lap, but they aren’t even asked to sit still. I think it is very rude.

I belive that manners need to be taught to everyone,especially children. I was taught to be polite and be quiet when need be. My younger brother and sister and I have always been polite children and that all goes to thank my parents and my grandparents. Kids need more guidance.