Home > In The News > Curb your selfish attitude.

Curb your selfish attitude.

By now, we’ve all heard of and/or read the blogs going around the internet telling us how rotten children are and that they should be not seen or heard in any number of places, from airplanes to restaurants to grocery stores. One such article speaks of Whole Foods offering specific hours where children are not allowed in the store, and rather are allowed in a play area/daycare type setting at the front of the store.

We’ve all seen that kid. I’m not talking about the child that is autistic, or the child that is just having a bad day. We all know we’ve seen that one kid in a hundred whose mother isn’t paying a bit of attention to him and he’s running around, doing anything he pleases. He may have rammed you with a shopping cart, or banged into your table while you were doing homework at a fast food joint and his mother laughed about it. He may have ran out in front of your car while his mother didn’t notice because she was on her cell phone.

The thing is, that’s one kid. It’s not every kid. It’s not my kid.

I expect my children to behave in public. I pride myself on it. All but one is neurotypical and the one that isn’t is content as long as it isn’t too crowded or loud, and I’m right there. My kids are friendly. They may ask how you are today or tell you a story about their day at the park. They will not ram you, shake you, or run out in front of you. If my youngest has a bad day, he may cry. Please don’t touch him or get in his face, and you probably won’t have to worry about that anyway. My children may have a bad day here and there, but for the most part, they know how to conduct themselves in public.

Obviously there are kids, especially the 1 in 10 that are autistic, that may get loud or take off running. I’m sure that behind them, you’ll see a mother chasing them to try to protect them and you from harm or being disturbed or whatever. I’m not even talking about those kids. Saying those kids need to stay home is equal to saying that the man driving his wheelchair scooter down the sidewalk should stay home because he may cross in front of you in traffic.

I’m talking about the other 9 out of 10 that don’t stim, etc.

I completely understand why a person wouldn’t want to have children disturbing their meal in a five-star restaurant. If a child is going to sit there and cry, they shouldn’t be there. It is up to the parent to either arrange for a babysitter or remove the child until he or she is calm. A good indicator for me of whether it’s okay for us to be somewhere with our kids is whether that place has an easily accessible high chair.

That does not mean, however, that when I take my child to a restaurant with Family in the title, that I am deserving of dirty looks from the man who took his date to said Family restaurant on Valentine’s Day because he was too cheap for more than burritos and lite beer. Yes, this happened. Also, it’s worth noting that at this Family restaurant that I chose because my babysitter/mother-in-law bailed at the last minute on Valentine’s Day, my infant slept through the entire meal, my toddler was content to eat her quesadilla in peace, the owner’s six children ate quietly at a table in the corner with their mother, and the guy that looked at my baby’s bucket carseat and gave us a dirty look (it was cold and he was sleeping – don’t flame me for using it) was the obnoxious one that everyone else hoped would leave.

You know what I hate more than crying children in a diner? Twenty-something boys that come in and pour sugar all over the table, then drink an entire bottle of syrup on a dare. Those are the idiots that should be banned. I’ve seen that too.

I see both sides of the argument with other situations. I have no problem taking my children to an early showing of a movie or not taking them to one that has adult subject matter. My husband works second shift. A 10 AM showing is actually ideal for us. That may not work for everyone, and I don’t see the harm if your child is quiet or removed if not, as long as the material is child-appropriate. I am way too cheap for First class seats on a plane, and I don’t pick my seat ahead of time (kids or not) because it tends to cost more. Whether I have my kids with me or not, I try my hardest not to sit by the guy glaring at any passing child over his laptop. He doesn’t strike me as the guy I want to be stuck next to for hours, kids or not. I really do try to be respectful of others in those situations. I try to gravitate toward families, even when I don’t have kids with me, because they’re more understanding of all situations. Chances are, they don’t want to be stuck on a plane with their kids for 8 hours either.

However, and this is the thing that gets me most, don’t tell me when I can grocery shop.

First of all, I can guarantee that I spend far more money on food each week than someone that has no children. Hello, I have two teenagers! When it comes to food, I am a big spender. When I’m told not to bring my child somewhere, I don’t go there either. Without me, you also don’t have my money. Hey, though… if you can sustain your business with the syrup drinker and the glaring man, go for it.

I wouldn’t leave any of my children with an underpaid grocery worker that I’ve never met, because that just sounds like a really bad idea. Someone in a thread elsewhere said something along the lines of “Hey, that’s not so bad. I get to grocery shop alone and my kid gets to slide on a slide!” No. If I don’t want my kids with me, I will make my own arrangements to leave them somewhere else. I will not be forced to leave them at the front of the store.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t leave my youngest in a typical daycare so I can work. They don’t have the training to take care of a disabled child. Why on earth would I expect it of a grocery store? In my head, I imagine this grocery worker to be a young person that got a job there because he or she could get easy money to sit and text on a cell phone. This is not good enough for any childcare, but especially not when my child is disabled. He can’t even sit straight and has to support himself with one hand. He’s certainly not going to climb a slide. I’m not going to set up an IFSP for him with Whole Foods so that I can buy organic milk.

Therefore, for me, this seems to tread a fine line between being ridiculous and infringing on my son’s rights under the Individuals With Disabilities Act. So I guess that puts us in that category with the kids that stim that I mentioned above, in some sort of way.

No, I don’t think I’m a special snowflake that has a right to force my kids on someone else when they’re out in public, but I don’t think anyone else is so special that I should make my children stay home for them either. I’m not asking someone to listen to a crying baby while they eat their lobster, but don’t tell me that I can’t keep my children with me when I shop for food.

Lucky for me, we don’t have a Whole Foods but if we did, I’d still shop at Kroger.

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Categories: In The News
  1. mrsvzambrana
    July 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    “A good indicator for me of whether it’s okay for us to be somewhere with our kids is whether that place has an easily accessible high chair.”
    Exactly! We had this discussion last night actually. We went out to a “fancier” restaurant on base (and by fancier I mean they offered us wine with our steaks) and we saw a wall of highchairs lined up. Obviously they expect, and are prepared for, children to visit with their parents. If the establishment is equipped with child-friendly seating then I think it’s only logical to expect children to be there with their families every once in a while. Does this mean you should let the child scream and cry for an hour while you eat? No. Not because I’m concerned about the other guests in all honesty, but because if my child is *that* upset we probably shouldn’t be there at that point in time.

  2. July 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Right! If my child is screaming for an hour while I eat, I should be trying to do something about it. That something isn’t leisurely eating my steak.

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