One of Those People- a confession.

To my extreme discredit, I had always been one of those people who looked at screaming kids on the plane and blamed the parents. It was beyond my understanding why it was acceptable behaviour for a child to scream throughout the flight while the parents, with their practiced sense of denail would calmly keep reading/eating/sleeping, and the rest of the passengers suffered. One would think that having a baby myself would have mellowed me out- made me less judgemental- made me exchange knowing smiles with other pained parents, but alas, it hasn’t been so. Maybe my own chiuldhood of travelling with my mother and two baby sisters is imprinted in my head- we never made noise unnecessarily, played happily with our colouring books and puzzles and generally stayed entertained rather nicely.

I have also been one of those who look askance at the parents who bring their children to nice fancy restaurants and then let them run wild. The children run around between tables, screaming shouting throwing things while the sets of parents either smile indulgently or completely ignore them, leaving them at the mercy of the little child-ayah who runs behind them with a spoon and a bowl, trying futilely to get them to eat. (more on the child-ayah later). And please don’t get me started on children and weddings.

Having Naddu has made me more empathetic. I do realize how difficult it is to manage situations. Control moods. Seem like you know what you are doing. And sometimes, yes, the entire scene does spiral out of control as a child succumbs to sleepiness and cries incessantly or screams loudly. People understand that. Unfortunately, however, I still remain one of those people who believe that, more often that not, it IS within the parents’ duty to take charge and manage the situation without paining the world around them. Without putting out a whole restaurant full of people who want a relaxed evening out. Or irritating a cabin full of people who have paid the same money for their seat that you have and cannot jump out of the plane. Or upsetting the poor bride and groom who really don’t want children hopping on the stage during their photography session on their big day.

Behaviour is a learned response. We are the examples to our kids. When our kids are doing soemthing wrong, does it not become our responsibility to stop them? To say no? More and more I see parents who take the laid back approach to parenting, who refuse to realize that we share the environment with other people and have to respect that. Making us parents does not automatically excuse us from norms- although  happily enough, a few leeways do get made from time to time. 


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11 thoughts on “One of Those People- a confession.”

  1. i have brought this topic up -very cautiously- with parents – while i have been with them in exact same situations as mentioned… and quite a few times the response i’ve gotten is a somewhat condescending glance or something like..’oh, when you have kids of your own, then we’ll see!’.

  2. i love this post.. although i dont yet have kids of my own, but i have also been of a strong belief that it is indeed within the parents to set examples and control situations (loosely quoting u).. and seeing how u seem to have kept ur stance even after having a baby of ur own, i feel relieved to know that it really doesnt change “after u have a kid of ur own” according to people.. =)

  3. I completely agree with you. Although Eesa’s been a fairly easy child in this regard, I’ve had instances where I took him out with me fully well knowing that he was sleepy, only to realize how fussy he was being and then having to excuse myself early from the party/dinners/shaadis.

    On the other hand, there is this one stage, around 18 months, when kids discover how to fully run and go under stuff where I can fully empathize with the parents (but only those who try to contain their kids, not the kind who still let them run around). Likewise, I sympathise with mums w/ kids under 6 mths travelling on planes (as long as they’re not sitting close to me) – they cant really discipline the child nor can they jump out of the plane either. 😛

  4. Oh my god Sara! I was asked to take photographs at my friend’s wedding and while all the parents were busy eating they let the devils play and when the kids saw me taking photos of the newly weds all of them gathered on the stage right in front of the camera and started jumping all at once.

    I saw some parents watching their kids do that from 7 feet away and they were not doing anything to stop the kids. I had to grab each kid and pull them down the stage but they thought it was a game and they were climbing back on the stage. The parents were just watching me stop their kids from jumping in front of the camera and they did nothing to stop them!

    ARRRGHH!!!! I swear the thought did cross my mind to start pinching the kids so that they would cry and go running towards their parents and I had to really resist it.

  5. we are SO having this discussion over coffee!
    as of late, i’ve cut down on hanging out with one of my nearest & dearest friend b/c her child is so out-of-control and it’s amazing how oblivious she is to everyone’s discomfort!

  6. Hi Jamie…
    Love your Blog..!
    I so so so agree with you.

    I am always angrily staring at parents with noisy uncivil kids in the airplane. Seriously, one cant even jump out of the plane!

    I simply refuse to accpet irresponsible behavior from some parents. I mean if you didnt know how to teach them being in a social situation, why take them out in the first place. Some people are so oblivious to the annoying mischeif/tantrums/god-knows-what of their kids. Parents who believe in well behaved kids is a rairty. I am not a parent yet, so may sound cruel but I might just lock-up my kids in the house if they create a havoc despite all the social conditioning..!

  7. I can empathize on certain counts, but for the most, I just feel that moms and dads need to be up on their feet when their kids are disturbing world peace.

  8. Varsha wrote: “I simply refuse to accpet irresponsible behavior from some parents. ”

    Trust me, kids between the ages of 1.5 yrs and 3 years do not understand the meaning of “no”. They have an independent streak, they are in the exploration stage, they are hyperactive and aircraft journeys of many hours are sheer torture for them.

    My wife and I rarely take our kids to restaurants, and if we do, and our toddler makes a fuss, one of us walks out of the restaurant while the other eats alone (*sigh*).

    It sounds all nice and cosy in theory to talk about control, well-behaved kids etc. Kids come in all shapes and sizes. I’m amazed at how my opinions changed after I became a dad. There is no universal formula for parenting.

    Once kids become rational (after 3 yrs) and can communicate and understand their parents, I do agree that parents have no excuse. They need to inculcate discipline.

    But I can’t understand how parents of 6 month olds are judged on airplanes. Babies are babies (colic, rashes, hunger, and all) and they will cry. And parents do need to travel!

  9. I just came back from Sydney..and en route on both flights, even the air hostess commented on how she had never seen so many young children and babies on one flight..I counted close to 40 total.Needless to say the flight was chaotic to some degree.

    But I didnt complain..because as quizman pointed out you cant blame the parents for the over sensitive natures of their ears pop when the plane is ascending or tiring a 14 hour flight can be for any child…we are so crabby in long flights..our schedules totally you ACTUALLY expect a child to respond at least to a LARGER degree than us?

    To sound so condescending as this this post has been..can really ONLY come from a mother who hasnt travelled with her child…

    Why don’t you take a 14 hour long flight with your 3 month old kid .Sara.think maybe Here to America..or try changing planes…a hundred baby things in tow..or maybe even not have the front seat with a Bassinet but be stuck in one of those tiny as all hell seats of economy with no leg space or even space for the baby to breath…

    Ive seen this close to 18 times now…for every flight from the states, and now sydney..coming and going…and its the same one enjoys it..LEAST of all the parents

    I would bet alot of things, that then you wouldn’t have written this post.

    As an FYI…for those who can afford it..and have young kids..they fly first class to save themselves and their passengers the hassle…my mother always did that for us when we were abroad so as not to inconvenience the other people on the plane

    No one enjoys it when their child is bawling away or the kid just vanished in thin air on the plane….at times they have no choice

    It’ll take you one long distance flight alone, with your child in tow, to figure out what I just said..

  10. 🙂 hey guys- hope all well.

    mr/mrsmiss/xyz codetta-
    i havent taken a transatlantic flight yet with my kid but i have travelled by plane- the point of this post was not to be condescending – its obvious you missed the point- the point was to make the point that kids will be kids BUT parents owe something to the people around them to TRY to maintain some semblance of calm. even on the two hour short hop flights, kids do get earaches and can generally get rowdy but its essentially MORE pleasing to the people around when the parent looks concerned or responsible and not snoozing or eating away while the kids wreaks havoc.

    I have come across very few parents atleast here who actually look guilty or try to make it better for the people around them- usually the attitude seems to be an aggressive “i have noisy kids so tough live with it” which is very annoying. also as i said in the end which you obviously missed reading again in your hurry to start commenting was that leeways are always made- most people understand children are crabby during long flights and having been the victim of being seated next to the twins from hell on a flight from the states, i could only feel sorry for the poor mother but because she was being nice and apologising and trying her best to keep them entertained, one felt like being understanding or even helping- had she been oblivous to her terrors (as many parenst are) i would have not been so understanding. my point remains that kids will be kids – understood- but parents need to be upto speed.

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