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.