16 October 2010

Children Run Amuck!


Oh what I saw at dinner this evening. My wife and I were at a pizza restaurant sitting in a booth. I turned to my right, and there was a little child with a significantly dirty mouth inching dangerously closer and closer to my jacket sleeve. The child then went running all around the restaurant. He then climbed on the chairs of the table next to his...and then climbed up onto the table, walking around in the same dirty socks that had just been on the floor. I don't so much blame the child, though. I blame the parents. Folks, children are out of control all around the globe.

The parents of this little tike didn't seem to be bothered by his antics. The restaurant staff didn't raise even the slightest objection to his climbing on the table. So, the kid's behavior was reinforced. That he didn't know better was certain. That he still doesn't know better and may never know better is also certain. What on earth has happened to society to cause parents and adults in general to turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior of children? What has happened to make adults think these antics are just due to "kids being kids" and therefore cute?

Children raised without boundaries grow up to be adults without boundaries. Perhaps it is not surprising that we live in an "anything goes" world today.

The worst thing is, though, if you try to discipline a child or say anything about the behavior of a child, somehow you become the villain. I was at a party once with children from several families. The children were running around making so much noise that it was like being at the Hard Rock Cafe. Utterly impossible to carry on a conversation. Kids were running around pushing toys over the hardwood floors...which couldn't have been good for the floors. They were treating the furniture like a jungle gym. Sure, one or two of the parents told them to stop or to slow down or to behave. Do you think the child even showed the slightest sign of having heard the so-called command? No, not at all! The parent didn't follow up, either. It was an empty threat, and the children knew it.

Then one came tearing up and ran into my leg. I looked down and said "Excuse you." The child said nothing. The mother came up and took the child without saying a thing to the child to discipline it, and without saying a thing to me to apologize. The others didn't much like it that I dared to suggest that children shouldn't go running through the house making so much noise people can't think and running into guests without so much as the tiniest of apologies. Yet, I blame those adults at the party and those like them for the negative way in which children are growing up today. No boundaries for them as children will lead to problems for them and for society later.

Parents, have the guts to be parents. Give your children the boundaries that they need. Do it for them, and for the rest of us.