Below are my top five 5 Parenting peeves from my personal collection. I have dozens more but I believe these represent universal frustrations we encounter on an all too frequent basis these days. Please share your stories of parenting woes you have witnessed along with any parenting peeves which have been grating on your nerves. Please include any comments or solutions.
No matter what the rating of the movie- leave your baby or infant at home. Especially on a Saturday night.
Most movies PG-13 and R are loud, violent with inappropriate content for young children. Even if the child is sitting still I am uncomfortable with a young child in these movies. I find myself repeatedly studying the child to see if they are upset.
-There are a number of studies that show the effect of loud, violent tone on a baby does have a negative impact.
Story- With this particular “ Parenting Peeve” the stories are too numerous to tell. You get to the theater early to get a good comfortable seat the movie is about to start and a family with children enters the theater. You feel like a kid in grade school sliding down in your seat so the teacher does not call on you. But here they come moving up the aisle and sit right next to you with their baby on their lap , of course since there are only 2 seats. These parents try to watch the movie themselves and not be disturbed so they let their children bother everyone else by running back and forth up the aisles and in front of the screen.
Comment: This needs to be the movie theater’s responsibility. The rating should be absolute -not accompanied by an adult -R means no one under 17 and so on. I have heard recently of movie theaters like some malls have age restrictions after certain hours , possibly no babies allowed in movies after 7 PM. Unfortunately it seems as though we have to act as the force of common sense for these parents. And of course we always have the option of creating our own home theater and stay there.
The restaurant as a playground
Parents who think it is fine for their children to act as though they are home when they are out at a restaurant. These families have no sense of disturbing others in a restaurant . I am sure everyone reading this has had the restaurant experience of children running around, screaming, throwing the food; ruining your meal .
Story:I was eating in one of the local popular chain restaurants recently. Everyone was enjoying their meal with their families and respecting the other patrons. But there was one little boy approximately 5 years old running around the restaurant by himself. I surmised his parents were in line getting his food. Finally this child’s dad sat down across the restaurant from me and brought his son with him. I was relieved to see that this rambunctious little guy would now stop running around and eat his meal giving all of us a reprieve.. But much to my surprise and annoyance to everyone else the father and son began playing catch with a football in between the tables. Not surprisingly the ball landed on my table and knocked my water onto my food and fell to the floor.This dad came over to get the ball, but instead of the anticipated apology, he commented that he was annoyed at my reluctance to throw the ball back. He was not happy he had to stop playing catch and get the ball himself. I would like to say I kept my thoughts to myself but I never turn down an opportunity to assist with parenting skills.
Comments: It is really up to the managers of the restaurant to have a no football policy . Start early by teaching your children the behavior expected in restaurants and public places and teach respect for others. Start with the expected behavior at home in the kitchen. You cannot expect children to behave in restaurants if they cannot during home meals. Make shorter outings initially. Be prepared to go outside to reinforce the behavior you want to teach. If you have to play football to keep your child’s interest then make a picnic in the park.
DVD/ I Pad movies in a restaurant with the sound on.
I am sure everyone has a story about this Parenting Peeve. You go to a restaurant for a night out from the TV, chores , after a long week . You want to be with your family and relax and have someone else do the work, and not be bothered by all the distractions of home and work. And there they are , people bringing the annoyances of home with them.
Story - pizza and a movie. This happens often, but recently we went to one of our local Italian restaurant a notch above a pizza joint . After we ordered, a family of six sat in the middle of the restaurant at large round table . The first thing they did after ordering was take out a DVD player and put on a children’s movie with the volume on high. After their pizza arrived the children took off running around the table with pizza flying everywhere, screaming while the movie was blasting. The parents and grandmother were blissfully enjoying their slices of pizza, while the restaurant staff essentially were baby sitting their children.
Comment:The restaurants once again need to be proactive and institute policies if they want to stay in business. We all need to say something in order to have an impact. Engage your child in educational games and conversation. Particularly in a restaurant. Pizza and a movie is for the home. Bring books, games, crayons and paper.
Leashes for children
OK, this is not what you think. While putting a leash on your child is probably a very contentious and controversial subject this story raises the bar on leash use.
Story: While at Disney World on one of our vacations, my family and I had noticed a mom walking around the park with her child on one of those kiddie leashes.Of course we had seen many children on leashes before whose parents were concerned about their child running off in a crowded place like Disney, but something this mom did made her legendary in the annals of our family parenting peeves. She apparently decided that it was vital to take a photo of her child next to one of the cut out wooden relief characters they have throughout the park. With all the ingenuity she could muster , she tied her child like a dog, to the character ever so tightly so he could stay in the frame.
Comment: Please hold your child”s hand.Teaching them public behavior and hand holding takes time and patience. Using a leash is not a short cut to the main lesson of staying near you and holding your hand. When necessary for safety sake and if you have multiple children under the age of six a leash may be useful. Tying them to anything is painful to watch, and what lesson are you teaching them?
Time out in our favorite restaurant
I am all for consistency in parenting and teaching your children the proper restaurant behavior But it is challenging to discipline them in a restaurant, or public place without raising the ire of everyone around you. Common sense says you have to game plan, with a strategy to handle public situations.
Story: My family and I came into one of our favorite restaurants we frequent and could not understand why the manager could not sit us in the front room when the entire room was empty except for one family of four. After being convinced that we would be happier sitting in one of the smaller back rooms we sat down at our table reluctantly. While we were ordering we heard a lot of commotion coming from the direction of the front room. We asked the waiter what that was but he refused to tell us anything. Periodically the noise would stop and start up again for minutes on end. It became clear that there was a child crying and screaming. As we waited for our food more and more patrons were directed to our back room. Finally I got up and went to see what the noise was about. The room was still empty except for one family. Apparently these parents were practicing their book learned time out technique here in the main dining area of our restaurant. They would turn their 2 year old towards the wall when he would not cooperate or eat, and they would turn back around to the table to give him another chance. This went on and on. Each time they turned the chair around again facing the wall, he would then start kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs. I asked the manager why no one would say anything to this family. And he told me that they had but these parents told them this is how they teach their child to behave in a restaurant.
Comment: We all have to express to restaurant owners our displeasure or these type of behaviors will continue. I do believe in using real world experiences to teach your children right from wrong and we should be able to go out as a family. Using the main dining room of a restaurant as a time out venue is not the best idea. Common sense parenting should trump by the numbers advice. Take your child outside or to the car. Have a logical plan to use time out consistently when you go out.
First lesson of parenting; teaching your children decency and respect for others. Everything else is just behavior.
Share your stories and parenting peeves!
None of these stories represent any patient or any parent I have any personal knowledge. Any similarity is merely coincidental.