Wednesday, August 4, 2010
However it was rather hard to relax given that there were 3 kids in the "toy area" yelling at the top of their lungs to each other and banging the toys around as much as they could. It sounded like they were dismantling a frigin nuclear missile over there given the sounds of destruction that were coming from that corner. After a bit they proceeded to leave the "toy area" and run up and down the stairs and back repeatedly in the loudest and most hyper way possible. I actually had to talk to my mom from the top of my lungs just so she could hear me over the din. She was sitting right across the table.
I couldn't help but think - do those kids REALLY need to be that loud? I understand they are kids and they are playing and letting off steam but is it really necessary to stomp through a public place like a herd of elephants? Could their mother not have asked them to not scream or bang QUITE so loud?
Not to mention, on Monday we went to a lake near my mom's house to relax on the grass in the sun and go for a swim. There was a small group of three or four boys, probably around 10 years old, who were gathering balls of seaweed/sludge from the lake-bottom and throwing them at each others heads and yelling and screaming in the process. Trouble was, they were also hitting others including my mom who was trying to have a relaxing swim. She had to speak to them twice. I say "had" to because the boys' parents (wherever they were) certainly didn't see fit to do so.
I realize they were just goofing off, as young boys will do but it's possible to have fun while also respecting the fact that others are around you and want to enjoy themselves too. And not everyone's idea of enjoying themselves is having kids scream in their ear and being hit in the head with lake sludge (call them crazy).
On the one hand I feel like a huge douche saying these things because I do realize that kids are loud and sometimes obnoxious; they don't have the same concept of personal courtesy that adults do (well, SOME adults). And that's ok! They should be allowed to be kids. And parent's should certainly be allowed to have a break to chat with a friend in the sun or just read the paper over a latte. I'm not a mom so I really have no concept of what it's like to control three energetic children but I know enough to assume that it's not an easy task.
However, on the other hand I feel there is a line between letting kids be kids and letting your kids just completely run wild with no control or accountability. The mom/guardian of the kids at the coffee place was sitting about six feet away from these kids, so it's not like she didn't see or hear their antics (considering their volume I'm pretty sure their antics could be heard in Australia).
I can't tell you how many times I've been shopping (and also working retail, back when) or sitting and having a coffee and have watched children pulling down displays and shelves, verbally and physically throwing themselves at other customers (and their parents), and just generally walking around like they own the place. And I can't tell you how many times I've watched parent's sit there and do NOTHING about it. I've even seen some parents laugh at these crazy antics as if it's somehow endearing.
I hate to sound like not only a douche but a cranky old lady, but it just seems like kids these days have the control over their parents rather than the other way around and I don't get it. It frustrates me on one level because, as a member of Generation Y, I feel like I'm constantly hearing from older folks how ungrateful, lazy and entitled we "young people" are and how much better their attitudes and expectations were when they were our age, when it seems to me that it's actually the Generation BEHIND us that is like this.
Sure, there are people in my generation who do live up to this stereotype, but aren't there in every generation? I suppose too that every generation thinks that one that comes behind them are worse in every way. But I can't help but notice that the children I see around are very different than I ever was - they are demanding and their demands are immediately fulfilled by completely compliant parents who placate their bad attitudes with Happy Meals and Lululemon hoodies (depending on their age), or simply practice systemic ignorance at their behaviour.
I'm only 25 years old so it's not as if I was a kid or teenager EONS ago - I do remember what it's like to think the universe revolves around you and to struggle with a growing body and mind. But I just don't remember me or any of my friends being given whatever we wanted hand over fist. If I wanted something I had to earn it, and if I talked back or acted out I was told where to go and punished for it.
Don't kids have any accountability for their actions anymore? I don't know but the scenes that I'm witnessing out there in public nowadays tell me NO.
Kids will be kids, of course, and for every kid who acts up and has an attitude, there is probably one who is respectful. I know this opinion I'm presenting is a bit extreme and does not consider the millions of factors at play in each individual situation. Plus, I'm almost certain that kids have always been like this from the beginning of time so I really shouldn't judge! But I'm just calling 'em how I see 'em. And the way I see 'em means sometimes I just can't help but wonder what is up with kids these days - and moreover, what is up with parents.
Parenting is a tough job; kids don't come with an instruction manual. But I'm guessing there are more resources and support for parents today than ever before. So parents who don't know how to control their kids: how about picking up a book or browsing a website and picking up some tips about telling your kids NO and letting them know who's BOSS. Despite what your kids may think or tell you, that person is not THEM, it's YOU.