Kids are great, but please control them | Other Voices

Rita Sand-Voss - Courtesy Photo
Rita Sand-Voss
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

By Rita Sand-Voss

First, a disclaimer. I like kids. I genuinely do. However, I do not enjoy being around poorly behaved children.

Recently we went to our grandson’s graduation and we were thrilled to see him accept his diploma after years of hard work. That happiness, though, was nearly derailed as we were surrounded by some of the wildest children I’ve come across all in one place.

I didn’t see much parenting going on.

These were happy children, which is generally a good thing, but there are certain occasions when the right thing to do is to sit quietly and show some respect for others. These kids were running up and down the stairs, shouting out to each other with nary a parent in sight.

I saw a toddler girl roaming around on her own, trip and fall on the stairs and commence crying. Then, two boys, around 7 years old, decided to try their undeveloped parkour skills on the rails of the walkways only to have one of them hurt himself. Again not a parent in sight. I was hit twice by a paper airplane.

Somewhere our culture has become more open and accepting and we’ve somehow come to think that this means we have to accept rudeness. I don’t. Maybe its because I’m old, but I don’t laugh at bad behavior.

As the superintendent was speaking before the presentation of the diplomas, she asked that people please refrain from cheering and such as each student’s name was called so that every family could enjoy hearing their particular child’s name called. This statement was interrupted by cheering and air horns, etc.

What ticked me off is that people laughed about it. When you laugh at poor behavior you are condoning it and you will get more of it. Predictably there were air horns and shrieking during the presentation and just as predictably some families didn’t get to hear their kids names called because some other families felt that their students were more important than all the others who were getting their diplomas. What they thought was fun and supportive was actually rude but they didn’t think about anybody else’s pleasure but their own.

I know that children need to be exposed to social gatherings to learn how to conduct themselves in public. But if you take your children to these types of events, be they graduations or weddings or church or plays, then for God’s sake parent them. Teach them.

Don’t laugh at their poor behavior. Don’t ignore their poor behavior. If they are disrupting other people’s experience of the event then leave and take your child home or, if there are two adults, then one of you take your kids out to the car and wait for your partner to come out later. Trust me, sitting in the car while everybody else gets to enjoy themselves is a great way to learn that polite people get to do a lot more fun stuff than rude people.

You do nobody any favors by letting them run wild. Instead, you are raising somebody who will be a very unpleasant adult.

And if children are incapable of conducting themselves properly? Leave. Them. Home. Do they not leave them at home because nobody wants to babysit them? If so, people should be asking themselves why.


Rita Sand-Voss lives in Enumclaw. Her comments were shared on Facebook.

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