Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Dec 7, 2005

Whose Kids are these, Again?

I think I've heard this "debate" before, and just like the first time I heard it I evaluated it instantly as a regular truckload of hooey.

For starters, a full-grown adult can control a two-year-old child, if only by the expedient of picking them up bodily and carrying them out the door. I personally find it difficult to imagine an adult having significant difficulties controlling a fifteen-year-old child. If you refrain from doing this when necessary you are going to receive complaints and dirty looks and guess what, you're going to deserve them, too. No one complains because your children start screaming in a public place. They complain because you don't do anything about it.

Paying attention to your child for approximately three seconds and then going back to whatever it was you were doing while they continue to misbehave is not good enough. If force majeure is all that will fix the situation, then that's what you have to do.

Anyway, it's entirely up to the owner of an establishment whether they want to serve you under any terms. If you don't like it, go elsewhere. If no one else will serve you, well no one is stopping you from going home and having your coffee there.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... methinks until thou hast walked a mile in my shoes...

By most accounts, I'm a pretty good dad and I've been fortunate to only rarely feel the need to discipline my children, physically or otherwise.

However, I will tell you no foolin' that physically disciplining a child -- even just restraint or other non-striking physical imposition -- is quite aversive. Personally, it leaves me feeling guilty (I should have found a better way; I should have been more mature) and often ashamed (I became angry -- never a good time to discipline a child -- probably raised my voice, and was likely hurtful to one of the persons on the entire planet I would least like to see hurt by me or anyone else).

I too find it frustrating to be seated near a crying child on an airplane; however, I would prefer a planeload of crying children to one child who is silent because he or she was struck or physically threatened by a parent.

My $0.02.

Jennifer Snow said...

Gareth and Benjamin, maybe, yours truly was a menace.

I'm not recommending that people smack their kids around; that doesn't work particularly well as a method of discipline. I'm recommending that they pick them up and cart them off.

As for walking a mile in your shoes, how about you work at a busy restaurant where you have to try to discipline children that aren't yours when they try to push over the antique mechanical games, because their parents are nowhere to be found.

Airplane flights, bus trips, etc. are all a whole 'nother kettle of worms; the linked article is specificly referencing places like coffee shops, restaurants, etc, and we're not just talking about screaming children, but parents who let their children run wild in the place as though it's some kind of playground.

Anonymous said...

"it leaves me feeling guilty (I should have found a better way; I should have been more mature) and often ashamed"

Very good. Guiltiness is supposed to work that way. If the cause of the guilt was small, you may be absolved.

For some people feeling guilty is their cop out and excuse for doing the wrong thing. They think that if they feel guilty enough then they're forgiven. Tookie Williams?

Jennifer Snow said...

Supposedly Tookie Williams upheld his innocence until the end. I don't expect he felt particularly guilty.