Thursday, April 8, 2010

Children, unattended.

Rachael brought up some good questions about the children's behavior that we encountered in the gallery Tuesday. Here is what I can tell you:

1. They were teenagers (mostly) and their parents deposited them in our store (the sister store to the gallery) so that they could go shopping while the kids played around.
2. The kids picked up, touched, twirled around, knocked over, left in a variety of places merchandise from the store. Now, I get paid to display things and moving things around is something that happens. It isn't that big of a deal. However, we had one girl that decided to take our bells off of the door (not for sale) and wrap them around her waist to shake about. It was lovely.
3. These children were never taught the concept of "look with your eyes." It was a continued trend on through today. Any button that can be pushed was. If something flips, slurps, twirls or spins, they will try it. It is like there is absolutely no restraint. The parents don't tell them no.
4. A child was bouncing/running through the store, all the while his mother was following behind him. She said nothing.

Julia and I discussed the behavior. She just came back from Greece, where she had to tell the kids that she was helping to chaperon that, "Sales are very aggressive here, so if you touch it, you pretty much have just bought it."

I didn't notice the intense touching of everything until Julia came along. You know, she is right.

The children of Tuesday didn't flinch when I had to give the "mom look" occasionally. They also didn't seem to be bothered when I was constantly underfoot with my Swiffer in hand.

I think that kids are very different from when even I went to high school. Kids today are more bold. The children of Tuesday walked around as if it was a badge of entitlement.

It isn't just the kids, though. It is spring break here, so kids are coming with parents in tow. Sometimes, the parents are just as clueless and disrespectful as the kids.

I've wondered if it is a regional thing or a societal shift? Are kids (not all mind you) really more unruly now than they were before? I know that I was a dorkily obnoxious teen. I wasn't unruly, though.

So I ask, what do you think? How are kids (all ages) in comparison to the days of your youth?

Smiles in my day:
- Having new merchandise to display and gluing to do to keep me busy all day.
- Getting a few play dates scheduled for K- so that her spring break won't be boring after all. (She cut out telling me that she was bored when I told her to take a time out the other day. She asked for me to reconsider because she had decided that she was "unbored after all." I told her that when we were kids and we told my mom that we were bored, she gave us funky, out-of-the-ordinary housework jobs to do to "unbored" us.)
- Clean laundry piled on my bed, ready to be put away.

Have a great day!

She wrote and wrote, then Blogger told her that she wrote too much in the comments. From Rachael:

Okay, my opinions, for what they're worth.

First of all, parents today want to raise their children in a "democracy", where the children have a say in what goes on in the house. Our home? A dictatorship and *I'm* the one in charge. I'll listen to Lil's opinion, consider her feelings, but then move on, because, let's face it, *I'm* the adult and *I* know best. There are times and places where democracies are a good thing, but home and school are not those places. I may sound harsh, and maybe we're not a *total* dictatorship at home and school, but really, as adults, we have more life experience and better decision making capabilities than children--even teenagers.

Second, many parents today want to be their child's friend. I don't know about you, but my mom and papa were NEVER my friends. They were my parents, and they might have been friendly with me, but quite frankly, they didn't care if I was p'd off at them or not. One time I yelled, "I HATE you!" at my mom who came back with, "Well, I don't like you too much right now either." They knew their job was to raise me to be a functioning, contributing member of society, NOT to be my friend.

Third, kids are given EVERYTHING these days. Okay, over generalization, but you know what I mean. If I wanted something, I had to *EARN* it, or, earn the money to purchase it myself. We were given gifts on birthdays and Christmas, and rarely received toys any other time. What happens when we take kids to fast food places? They get toys. We go to Tar*get and there is the $1 spot where you can get a cheapie toy for practically no cost. The mind-set must be something along the lines of, "Well, it only costs a buck, so it's not that big a deal." But, it IS.

Fourth, we have more wealth today than our parents had. Parents want their kids to be happy so they give and give and give. We are also an instant gratification society and see nothing wrong with demanding everything NOW.

Finally, many parents are SO engrossed in their own lives, they don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to raise children. How often have you been forced to deal with screaming kiddos in restaurants? The parents don't want to interrupt/sacrifice their meal so they subject the rest of us to their screaming child. Same goes with movies, stores, etc.

Alas, along the way, we seem to have lost the true purpose of parenting--raising respectful, polite, contributing members of society. I used to want to apologize to Hannah because I was a "mean" mommy who had hard and fast rules and had a set of expectations of appropriate behavior at home and out and about. There are many of us like this out there, but just as many of the other variety as well.

My girlfriend had a NIGHTMARE dinner out with a couple of families from her daughter's preschool. The parents allowed their children to open and eat jelly straight from the jelly packs, open and tip back sugar packets and "play around" the restaurant running around an climbing all over the empty booths an tables--"to get it out of their systems". My girlfriend was HORRIFIED. How are children going to learn to sit and be polite if we don't EXPECT it of them?

Or, if your children aren't old enough to understand or the expectations are not age appropriate, DON'T take your child to that establishment.

If the kids are learning this from their parents this early in life, how are they going to be as teenagers?? :shakes head:

Boy I'm coming off as judgmental. I'm really not trying to. I'm speaking from 10 years of observations as a classroom teacher (who also has a tendency to stay in that mode while in public, whether I want to or not--B has to talk me away from using my teacher voice some times...) and observing what works and what doesn't work with parenting.

Parenting is, without a doubt, the hardest job in the world. I have often lamented it would be SO much easier to be the girls' friend than their mom.


Bailey's Leaf said...


I understand and agree wholeheartedly. Hubs and I were talking about this subject the other day when it happened. He has children come to the place where he works. Often, they are unruly and all over the place. This goes across the board. These are children in traditional learning settings, such as school, and homeschoolers. He said that the teachers and the parents are off talking about this and that and aren't there attending with the children, making certain to learn along with the kids. Just an observation on his part.

I know that I appear to be a mean mommy. I run a tight ship. We demand respect.

Still, we go into stores and can definitely be guilty of, "I could pick this up. This is only a buck . . . " Often, we "borrow" things at the store to look at as we go through, then put it back before we leave. But, K- has been given so many things. My nieces come here and think they've fallen into Toys R Us. It is a habit that we've worked on curbing.

All of your points are very well made. Thanks for e-mailing me your comment so that I could put it in the main post!

Rach said...

Nothing makes me crazier than teachers who don't keep a close reign on the kiddos on field trips. Grrrr. We are ALL there to learn, I don't care HOW many times you've been to that location. It's rude to the docents and presenters and rude to the other patrons. Grrrr again. :o(

When we used to take the inner city kiddos on field trips, they were often SO excited they couldn't stand it and contain themselves. It took a lot to hold on to them, but I did it. Hm, dictatorship again? :oP

Bailey's Leaf said...

Actually, Hubs will tell you that the inner city kids are the best ones at the programs, because they aren't used to going on field trips. He said that they tend to be the most appreciative and he is always flooded with children coming to give him a hug afterwards.

concretenprimroses said...

I think its the parent's fault usually tho not always.
The older generation has always thought that young people are worse than they were from the beginning of time.

I read about a woman who tripped over an unruly child who was running wild in a furniture store. She sued the store and won. The kicker? It was HER child.


ChupieandJ'smama said...

I thought maybe it was a regional thing because of where we live. Kids here are spoiled (actually BEYOND spoiled) and have NO boundaries. They are allowed to do whatever they want. If they don't follow rules there are no consequences so they don't even know what rules are, and they don't care. But the parents are just as bad if not worse. It's one of the main things I don't like about living here. A vast majority of people are rude, snobby, and entitled.
It's hard for the boys to understand that we don't do or have certain things. Some of it is because we can't afford to and some of it is because I don't feel it's appropriate.
I agree with Rachael. I'm not going to be my kids "friend" and this is a total "dictatorship". But around here, I am sadly alone in my thinking. And my kids pay a price for it.