Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Children and Public Places

So I was dining at my favorite local restaurant which just expanded their hours to dinner hours. I love going there because they know me and they know what I like pretty well. The atmosphere is very home-like and the whole place is cozy like being home again.

Tonight however, was a very different experience. I sat down in a booth in the non-smoking section as I normally do. They brought me out a Coke like normal and my dining companion her Iced Tea. I noticed a large familiy taking up the back 2 booths along with the table in the middle which was half booth half chairs. There was a total of aobut 11 of them. 4 of which were young girls. Now normally young kids are well behaved with a little bit of acting out now and then which I can handle.

Tonight I was treated to the Opera of the 3 year old. I cannot describe how god aweful this was. The kid would run back and forth through a moderatly full restaurant SCREAMING at full pitch for no god damn reason. The father, obviously frustraited, did nothing to stop the child. In fact he encouraged her to run full bore through the place to keep her focused on running rather than screaming.

Now I have been a server before and children running around is not only annoying but very dangerous. Dangerous for the child, dangerous for the server, and dangerous for the other patrons in the restaurant. They finally left and the silence was deafening.

Which brings me to the point of the evening.

I would have never acted like that. Not while dining, not while shopping, not even when home and NEVER in front of a stranger. If I even started to look like I was going to act out my mother pulled me to the side whispered in my ear what would happen if I continued then acted on it if I did. Now I am not saying I was perfect and never acted up but when I did my mother followed through on her threats. I learned very quickly not to act out cause then I got punished. I learned that I could do whatever I wanted to, as long as I was willing to accept the consequences of my actions.

Now I have seen the Nanny 911 and shows just like it. The parents refuse to put their child in line. How does one live their life with a child like this? How can you possibly stand your child disrespecting you? I may not be a parent, but having dealt with much younger children I know what works. You take away things they want, take away things they desire and the result is always obedience. Maybe you might be thinking that's cruel, or unfair, or any other thing that you want. I think it is expected. There is a code of rules and standards for living in a civilized world and running around a diner screaming at the top of your lungs breaks a number of those rules.

These children don't appear to be taught responsibility and in the end will be the ones who get pregnant young, those who hop from job to job because they wont take orders, and generally the ones who rebel against all authority. When teenagers rebel from their parents it is usually equivilant to how much responsibility and discipline they were given as children. As a child I was given a very free range. I went against my parents wishes. I rode my bike accross the highway when they said it wasn't allowed. I stayed out too late. I went places they told me not to. I found my christmas presents and on occasion un-wrapped then carefully re-wrapped them. But I never have used drugs. I smoked one cigarrette after I was of age and when I was 20 I had a couple mixed drinks.

Now let us take a look at my peers. I know of only 3 people who to this day haven't used any illegal drugs. They were pretty much all drinkers through high school. Many were moderate to heavy drug users. I know 3 girls who were pregnant in High School. One of which I tried desperatly to win but she was very high up on a pedestal that I couldn't have possibly reached....Moving on....Priorities for me were quite different then than my peers. I was searching for a job at 14 and when I turned 15 was able to get a job and did. I made $150 per weekend working for $5 and hour. To me it was the world. I was making big bucks and didn't even have to worry about money. I got a car and paid my mother for insurance and the car when I turned 17. I had gotten a better job by that point and had started a career for myself.

Now I wonder if I had been a socialite with my parents providing everything for me how I would have turned out. I don't think I would have liked the result.
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