Do you correct your kids when they misbehave in public?

More and more, I’m observing that moms (not everyone, of course) seem to be leaving kids to their own devices these days and keeping mum when their kids behave badly. And why is that, I wonder?

Last weekend, we were seated at a table next to 2 moms and their 2 daughters aged about 5. We were trying to have lunch (key word trying). But with these 2 little girls singing and shrieking on top of their voices, at a super-shrill super-high pitch, non. stop, it was impossible to have a meal without being driven up the wall.

We would’ve moved to another table further away but since it was lunchtime on a weekend, there was no escaping. All this time, the 2 moms are sitting there, eating and chatting, completely (repeat completely) oblivious to the ear-piercing shrieks and how everyone around them was grimacing.

Pretty soon, those 2 girls who incidentally were dressed like little tarts (hate to say this but are little girls becoming more sl*tty or what?), were yoyo-ing between other tables disturbing the diners (yes, they even climbed in and sat with the other diners) while their moms said and did absolutely nothing. at. all!

After the meal, the 2 very modern, dressed-up mothers got up, gathered their shopping bags and promptly started walking away. The little girls, noticing this, skipped and danced after them.

In another incident the same weekend, a balloon that a toddler of about 3 was holding had gotten away. We picked it up and were about to hand it back to him when his father came up, snatched the balloon off our hands and handed it back to the kid. No word of thanks. No eye contact. No acknowledgement. I would think this would’ve been the perfect opportunity to train his toddler to say ‘thank you’, for instance (no brainer).

At these young ages, parents should be guided and taught simple manners and courtesies. In the case of the 2 girls, they’re old enough to be made to understand that it’s not okay to go around disturbing other people and acting loudly.

I think there’s a fine line between giving your kids the independence and freedom to grow and develop, and allowing them a free hand. And when they overstep that fine line, someone (and hopefully it’ll be their mom, not me!) has to put them in their place.

So why are we so afraid to reprimand our kids if we notice rudeness and other socially unacceptable behaviors? If the moms are not correcting them, who is going to do it? Should we really be surprised when our kids turn out into young adults who have no respect for others?

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  • Rebel Sweetheart

    I would be embarrassed if my child behaves that way! I do reprimand my son if becomes too boisterous or behaves inappropriately – even in public.

    Our kids are reflections of ourselves, so if my son acts unruly, then what does that make of me? I don’t want other people to look at me that way, more so if it’s my son we’re talking about.

  • Kristen

    I have been to that restaurant! Just kidding. I agree that parents or other caregivers in charge should definitely address poor behavior in the moment and at the same time encourage good behavior. Young children need pretty immediate feedback consistently to understand that the behavior that they are currently doing is not right and why. However, this can be accomplished in several ways depending on the child’s age, like distraction or redirection. Also, parents can help prevent bad behavior by bringing along distracting things for kids, like books or small toys.

    • Clairity

      Hmm, was that really you I saw there with your hands over your ears as you tried to eat? 😆 Yup, really good points you’ve raised here. Correction should be immediate and consistent to be effective, sure!

  • Melissa

    We are in Beverly Hills and in a business where when people see my kids they know who they are so I don’t have the luxury of being able to not behavior no matter where it happens. And yes it annoys the crap out of me when other people let their rude children act up. Just the other day at Target a mom is sitting there drinking her frap while her son at least 6 yrs old threw popcorn everywhere, NOT OKAY. It is completely unacceptable and my kids at 2 and 4 know that public is the place you always listen. If need be and its not working I will leave but I simply try to quietly correct them and it ususally works.

  • Lanae (@Hungrigyrl)

    Those parents are totally to blame. My kids are 5 and 3 and we would walk out before we’d ever let them get away with crap like that. And as for the balloon man, his poor manners will ultimately rub off on his children. Such a shame! Where is the common decency??

  • Jennifer

    That’s so sad. It’s not really the kids’ fault…it’s the parents. Kids are like little twigs – you gotta bend them while they’re little so they will grow the right way. Not saying I’ve got all the answers, but I know better than to let kids act that way in public. When I have to discipline, I tell them that I love them too much to allow them to behave like that.

    Found you on Hop Along Friday. 🙂

  • Gina

    I would definitely correct my kids in public, and kids need that. However, if my kid is throwing a pointless tantrum, and I am not interrupting anyone- I am going to let my kid continue to throw his tantrum. Not that this was what the post was about, but it just reminded me of that. Good thoughts!