Free Me From Unruly Young Children

Yesterday (Saturday), I stopped by the Buger King next to my grocery store shopping for the week‘s groceries.  I had a “no purchase required” coupon for a free coffee and the Seattle’s Best coffee BK serves is “real” coffee.  

Because I believe that good coffee should be savored and that means no distractions,  I didn’t take it “to go” for drinking at the grocery store. 

I began to have second thoughts about my decision when just a few minutes later a young child began making a lot of nosie. I’m not talking about a toddler; this child was old enough to talk and he was talking…LOUDLY!  His mother asked him to keep quiet but it was no surprise to me that her admonition had absolutely no effect. Just about the time I decided to leave, they left.  I don’t know if it was coincidence or politeness on the mother’s part.  Probably the former…

Saturday of last week, we saw Transformers.  There was of course a much higher than usual number of young children in the audience, especially since it was a discount morning show.  During the movie, a child in back of me began pushing my “rocker” seat with his foot.  Since a parent was there, I figured the parent would intervene and stop it.  When the pushing continued for a good minute, I looked back and only then did the parent intervene.

And don’t get me started on flights.  I’ve had to endure at least one nosy child on the majority of all flights I’ve been on for many years now.  And most of my flights are four hour trips to the southwest or west.  Amazing how the children coordinate their fuss sessions so that at least one of them is noisy during the entire flight. 

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that I am one of the many and increasing number of supporters of “child free” zones.  Restaurants, movie theaters and airplanes should all have secluded areas where young children must sit to minimize disruption to adults.

It is true that I never had children.  Some of you may postulate that because I never became ”used” to noisy children, I am particularly sensitive to them.  Not so.  

The problem is not so much noisy children but their “parents” who are unwilling and/or unable, due to poor parenting, to control their nosiy children. When I was a child, I knew better than to keep acting up when my mother told me to be quiet.  I knew what was coming if I continued.

Nowadays, so many parents have either gone “natural” (let the child be, because that’s natural) or they have simply abdicated parental responsibility for one reason or another.  Until I see some research that shows me that children today are somehow fundamentally different (genetically, biologically, etc.) from children 40 years ago, I believe the problem lies 100% with the parents.  They have “learned” they can get away with letting their children be noisy brats because no one will tell them to do something about it and enforce a sanction if the disruption continues.

But there is a significant group of folks who share my sentiment that I have a right to peace and quiet when I am a paying customer.  Yet, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. Which explains the rising tide of pressure for separation of children whenever feasible.

For example, airline passengers are very supportive of requiring children to sit in a special area.  In a survey of 2,000 fliers, almost 60% supported this procedure. 

There is also considerable support for this concept in restaurants.
A Pennsylvania  restaurant banned children under six from the premises because of complaints from patrons.  

In the past, I’ve usually suffered in silence.  But I’ve decided to go on the offensive in restaurants not considered “family“ ones.  If a noisy child is not silenced, I will ask for a manager and explain that my enjoyment is being disrupted and what action will be taken? If I’m not satisfied, I will write a review of the restaurasnt on TripAdvisor, a popular review site, and note that management did, or did not, take effective action to provide an enjoyable atmosphere.  And I’ll let the manager know that I’ll be doing it.

(I know hotels are very concerned about their TripAdvisor reviews and ratings.  You may recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote about my unhappiness at a Wyndam in Jacksonville.  I completed an online customer satisfaction survey Wyndham e-mailed me and told them of my issues.  Two weeks ago, I received an envelope from Wyndham. I expected a perfunctory apology and perhaps a discount offer for a future stay. All the envelope contained was a check for $50.) 

There’s a saying about not being able to have your cake and eat it too. Business must be confronted with that concept.  If they do nothing about noisy children, they mist be prepared to lose business.  They may very well lose business from families if they begin requiring children to sit in a special area.  The business will make a business decision: who is likely to give them more profits?  I suspect the “no children” crowd has more disposable income and so spends more per person than a family and on the more profitable menu selections such as alcohol.  

Maybe it’s the oligarch in me, but I like it when money talks. And I’m about to start talking…
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8 responses to “Free Me From Unruly Young Children

  1. “The problem is not so much noisy children but their “parents” who are unwilling and/or unable, due to poor parenting, to control their nosiy children. ”

    That is absolutely spot on. When my kids were little and I couldn’t count on their behavior it seemed the simpler course to not take them anywhere I couldn’t control them. I can’t stand to be around unruly children either their noise and attention needing behavior is irritating and stressful.

    My approach to dealing with it is to avoid it whenever possible because no matter what you do you will not change the root cause which is parental incompetence. While there are some pretty good parenting manuals available, poor parents won’t read them.

    That being said, I am not at war with children, they are not the enemy, they are a natural part of life’s experience and bring great joy to one’s heart if you find ways to let it in. Much can be learned from them. And many will respond with surprising grace and good humor if treated the same way.

    Have you considered donating the $50 to a shelter for abused children?
    Or Big Brother Big Sisters?

    • > donating the $50 to a shelter for abused children? Or Big Brother Big > Sisters?

      Do you think will help the unruly children situation, or are those two of your favorites? About the only “charity” I support is the local hospice. That’s something I might need one day, so there is some self-interest there.

  2. I absolutly agree with you. I also think that people who say “it’s because you never had kids” are just being short sighted about the situation. I raised 4 boys and have 2 grandchildren who all knew/know how to behave in public. I have zero patience for unruly misbehaving children. But more importantly I have even less patience if possible for parents who don’t “parent” their children. No grown adult should try to scream louder than a 6 year old in public!

  3. “Do you think will help the unruly children situation, or are those two of your favorites? ”

    I think there are many approaches to any human situation, and I encourage you to try a positive engagement through organizations that deal positively with problem children. You may find that the process enriches your own life much more than the dollar value. Attacking the businesses that have virtually no chance at “fixing” the situation to your liking is one approach, I chose differently is what I am saying.

    • > I chose differently is what I am saying

      As have I. I don’t believe I have any responsibility for other folks’ kids. And certainly no interest.

      Personally, I am confounded by how someone can (or would even want) to engage a “stranger.” I suspect it is a “cultural” thing involving “clannishness.” I can be polite to anyone and talk with strangers at parties, on a plane, etc. but those are defined situations.

      I grew up in an environment and society that keeps somewhat aloof from those not in your group. And what you are suggesting is becoming involved with a stranger, to in effect become their friend through some random circumstance. Unthinkable for me….

      I’ve lived in Tally since 1983, but do not consider myself part of the Tally “community” and do not accept it even exists. I abhor that word. The idea that because I share a geographic location with others means I am part of them is nonsense. I have no interest in what Tally is or becomes, much less Florida or the country or the world. Tally is just where I happen to live right now and I do not consider it “home” or my “future.”

      Years ago, a HUD rep in Jacksonville who volunteered at a homeless shelter got to know one of them. On a holiday, he invited the guy to his home. The homeless person murdered him, stole his car and credit cards and was caught a few days later in Texas. He (HUD guy) brought that on himself.

      An anomaly, I am sure. But you never know who is the anomaly….

  4. I think I shall send you Dickens “A Christmas Carol” for Christmas:)

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