Aren’t parents responsible for their children’s bratty behavior?

Last weekend, my son and I attended a college football game. The family sitting next to us during the game had a four year-old boy who was pretty well behaved for the first two quarters.

Then, after halftime, the boy became obviously bored and tired. And he started to act up.

At first he started screaming in a high-pitched voice as if he just wanted to hear his own voice. People five rows up were grumbling and turning around, obviously bothered by it.

Me? Well, I was sitting right next to him.

For his next act, boy then stood up and started pound on his seat, flipping the seat bottom up and down rapidly so that it would hit the seat back loudly and vibrate the row.

This continued on for approximately forty-five minutes.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually time him, but I’m pretty sure this estimate would stand. (After all I was still the lucky fan sitting right next to him.)

What the heck!

Since when do parents get a free pass for their child’s disruptive behavior? What ever happened to parents using these moments to teach their children appropriate behavior and how to show respect for the people around them instead of encouraging them to behave worse?

Then, when pressed, these same adults simply shrug their shoulders as if to say, “What can I do, kids will be kids.”

As if you didn’t notice that they were egging the child on!

Here’s another situation I’ve been encountering a lot lately:

Where is the consideration for the others that are sharing this space and wanting to enjoy a nice dinner?

When my daughter was a baby, sure she was a happy screamer. She could clear a room with her shrill screams and laughs. She was too young to understand that she needed to use her “indoor voice”.

My husband and I would’ve never allowed it to be bothersome. On the third scream, I would be walking out the door with her in my arms, while my husband would be boxing our food and paying the bill.

We respected the others around us and would never have wanted to disrupt someone’s date.

Doesn’t it seem that some people, because they are parents, have a sense of entitlement which makes it is okay for the youngest members of their family to run wild or be inconsiderate of others?

Remember that football game I mentioned earlier? There was never a show of concern from a parent or grandparent that their child might be acting rude and disruptive. In fact, when the boy started flinging his arms and dancing – that must have been act three – he almost hit me in the face several times.

Dad was videotaping.

But is it just a lack of manners? Or maybe these parents don’t want to deal with rechanneling the misbehavior?

After all it takes more energy to correct and teach a child than it does to ignore it and allow the child to carry on. The family is probably used to tuning out the boy’s out-of-place behavior so it doesn’t even register with them.

And the people around them are stuck because it is no longer politically correct for strangers to reprimand someone elses child or address the issue with his or her parents.

Onlookers are armed only with dirty looks, angry mutterings and the option of leaving the scene.

But by not correcting the behavior, aren’t we all leading the child to believe that their actions are acceptable, practically giving them permission to repeat the behavior elsewhere, regardless of who it bothers?

So what can you do if a child is so disrespectful and ill-mannered that he spits in your face?

Check this kid out:

Let’s all hope that’s not dad sitting back laughing and videotaping while his son runs wild!

Bringing it back to that football game with my son, I like to think I held it together pretty well.

I like to think I gave the parents plenty of time to step in and do the right thing. It took a lot of self-control but I patiently waited for one of the adults in their party to tell the child that he was being disruptive, correct his behavior and redirect some of that energy in a positive way.

Actually at that point I would have settled for someone related to the attention seeking child to just make him stop.

Instead, the father laughed and appeared to encourage the youth’s piercing cries and wild dancing. Mom and the grandparents acted as if nothing was amiss.

The people sitting in front of us had already gotten up and left in disgust, so we did our best to remove ourselves from the problem too.

What else could I do?

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