Community Parenting

Recently, my girlfriend and I went to a tavern on a weekend night to catch up over wings, drinks and some good ol’ gossip. Being a weekend night, you can imagine how crowded it was and true to a tavern atmosphere, there was mellow music playing in the background and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Out of the blues, two kids were bellowing down the aisles in boisterous excitement,they caught every diners attention and unanimously, we all turned in an unrehearsed fashion searching the tavern for their parents. People were whispering to each other, obviously, everyone wondering why their parents would let their kids loose in a restaurant. Some minutes passed before intertwined voices tried calling them back to their sits; all eyes turned in their direction,which probably intimidated them, causing them to retreat.

My friend, who by the way is a mother was visibly upset and offended; she wondered aloud why parents would bring their kids out and allow them to run loose with no discipline. It got us talking about the different scenarios when parents fail to discipline their kids or call them to order.

There have been so many reports about rowdy kids on airlines or kids whose parents plainly were paying them no attention. More recently was the story of the lady who traveled with her disabled kid and cried foul from the airline by generating a  thread on instagram/twitter to rally support for “undeserving treatment” to her disabled daughter. When the story broke, it turned out she and her husband were flying business class while their four kids including her disabled daughter were flying economic class. After reading that, I was baffled why a mother would willingly and intentionally separate her disabled daughter from herself on a flight. Was she expecting fellow passengers to take pity on her daughter and help her when the need arose?

These days, it feels like there are unattended kids everywhere and their parents are no where in sight; be it at church, restaurants and so on, putting people like us without kids in a tough spot. Many a times I have found myself in awkward situations with disorderly kids but torn on what to do. On the one hand, if I reprimanded them, the parent might get angry and call me names of which my favorites is the “wait until you have your own kids” jab and on the other,if you don’t, your space is infringed on and you can’t enjoy your time out.

My sister who is a mother, was appalled when a kid wouldn’t stop screaming in church one Sunday, I found it strange that was coming from her because she is mother and we were there with my nephew. When I asked her why she felt so and if she forgot she had a kid, she answered me ” just because I have a child doesn’t mean I should inconvenience other people”. That was exhilarating to hear her say that.

I understand that not every one can afford a nanny but in such cases, you should be your child’s sole disciplinarian and teach them how to act in public, especially in spaces where people particularly come out to enjoy themselves and have a good time. To those who would always make the excuse of  “wait until you are mother” or “that is because you are not parent” , well, have you considered if said person might have made a personal choice not to have kids and reserve the right to enjoy that decision without being made to feel less like a person or as though their lives lack meaning? Or have you considered that they in fact might have kids but chose not to inconvenience others?

All I am saying is, people should be considerate of others and attend to their kids when they are out in public. You wouldn’t want some random person meeting out unacceptable discipline on your child, neither would want people looking at you like you deserve the worst parent of the year award. Groom your kids and teach them from home, when they are still very young; they get the message easier and better and makes it easy for you to be out with them in public.

And before anyone calls me out, I am a nanny and I am surrounded by kids all around me; nephews, nieces and God-children. I might not have any kids now but I sure know a thing or two about attending to kids. Kids are very manipulative and they would do as they please if they know you would let them get away with it. Please pay attention to your kids, if not  even to curb their rowdiness in public, then for their safety. Surely, you didn’t birth a child so the rest of the community would raise them for you, did you?

Thank God it’s Friday!. Hope you are having a good one and do share your views on the topic.

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