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Diatribe: Whatever Happened To “Children Should Be Seen But Not Heard”?


BadParentIt seems that everywhere that I’ve gone in the last week or so I’ve encountered bad parenting. At church, in restaurants, at the movies, in the supermarket, at Dairy Queen and even in the parking lot at the mall, I’ve been forced to endure crying and whining from poorly-parented youngsters. To be clear, by “poorly-parented” I refer to unhappy or spoiled children whose parents appear to be ignoring them and/or oblivious to their screams to the detriment of people around them.

When I was a youngster, I’m quite certain that I threw my share of tantrums. But my parents would NEVER subject others to my outbursts. If I was noisy in church, for example, they would take me outside as quickly ad quietly as possible so as not to interrupt the service. If my siblings and I misbehaved in a restaurant, we might hear “Just you wait until we get home” … And we would immediately settle down.

Whatever happened to the phrase “children should be seen but not heard”?

If my parents had company, we were expected to spend the evening in our bedrooms while the adults socialized. If we misbehaved at the shopping mall or the supermarket, my mother would use her dreaded pinch-the-shoulder technique to quiet us down. When my father said “Stop it right now or I’ll give you something to cry about” we, more often than not, would be quiet.

Perhaps young parents today were, themselves, raised in a world where god behavior was rewarded but poor behavior was never punished. Negative reinforcement appears to have become a thing of the past. Instead of “spankings” the young parents of today went to “time out”. Young parents of today weren’t disciplined themselves so they never learned how to discipline their own children

When did “wash your mouth out with soap” become “no cell phone for a day”? When did “go to your room” become “go watch cable television and browse the Internet by yourself”?

No matter how you look at it, it’s simply rude and selfish to ignore your child’s inappropriate and disruptive behavior in public. Here’s a couple ideas that these parents might consider:

Taking the child outside until they unite down allows the rest of the congregation to hear the sermon.
Distract them from the problem by offering a healthy snack instead of the candy bar for which they are begging.
Give them a book to read or crayons to entertain them until their food arrives.
Or, Heaven forbid, leave them at home with a sitter so others can enjoy a movie.

But, please, don’t make us all listen to your kid’s next tantrum.


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From → Diatribes

  1. Amen.
    I don’t blame the children, they’re children, It’s the parents who are so involved in their own lives and cannot be bothered to parent that annoy me.


  2. Barneysday permalink

    When children are set up on a pedestal, told they are perfect, treated to every whim they could possibly come up with, and then have their dreaded self-esteem protected from every flinch in life, then how can the parents possibly expect them to turn out as anything other than the spoiled brats they are. Spoiled parents are raising spoiled children.


    • Exactly! Perhaps I should blame the GRANDPARENTS.


      • Barneysday permalink

        The boomers have done a terrible job as parents. As spoiled and coddled as we may have been, we’ve done damage a hundred-fold to our children.

        Thanks for a great post


  3. The Engineer and I missed my brother’s wedding. The twins were two and wanted to cha-cha-cha. So we sat out in the courtyard and they ran around. As it was my brother’s first wedding… the next one the twins were ten years old and got to help hold the poles of the chuppah (outside wedding) and the crushing of the wine class was an all kid viewed event.


  4. I agree completely. I had a terrific set of little trucks that I carried with me for years. Jacob was always perfectly happy to be good in a restaurant; that was the only time he could play with those “special trucks.”


  5. I agree, parents have abdicated their responsibility for their children by trying to be “friends” rather than parents. My daughter was raised with respect & DISCIPLINE – if she acted up in a restaurant, we took our food to go & she went home to bed. If I wanted to go to a movie, I got a sitter rather than ruin everyone else’s (& my) enjoyment. I told her repeatedly – if you whine you will never get what you want, if you ask nicely, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it.


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