A couple weeks ago, my friend Jess and I took my son to see Wild Ocean, a new IMAX movie playing at the Science Center in Baltimore. He was totally stoked to see a 3D movie (only his second movie going experience) and get a chance to be up-close and personal with sharks!
About five minutes after we’re seated, I hear a voice yell, “I want snacks! Can you get me some snacks, NOW?!” Eight seats down from us was the voice of a kid who was at least 9 but no older than 12. He continued loudly, “Jeez, when is this movie going to start, I have to take a piss.” Waiting for any of the 4 adults (what looked like a set of parents and grandparents) to correct him, Jess and I just looked on astonished. My son said, “Mommy, that kid didn’t even say please and he’s being really loud. That’s kind of rude.” If my four-year-old is correcting the behavior of a kid twice his age, you know there’s a problem.
If that had been an isolated incident of crappy manners, this wouldn’t be a blog post.
From the farmer’s market to the zoo, there are poorly behaved children everywhere and a severe need for parental intervention. Yes, there are polite children roaming, but what I have noticed is the number of increasingly manner-deprived kids and it leaves me puzzled. It’s not so much the kids that worry/annoy me as much as it is the severe lack of parents who actually CARE to correct their kids’ behavior. What I constantly see are negligent parents either too wrapped up in their smart phones or who simply just don’t give a shit that their kid behaves in any sort of manner. Or worse, they don’t even recognize the problem with the behavior their child is exhibiting.
Simply put, a bratty five-year-old is going to make one hell of a bad 10-year-old. I’m not an expert, but you don’t need a PhD in etiquette to know how to raise well-behaved children. Scare tactic, if you don’t raise your children well, you will doom humanity. Because guess what? Rude children turn into disrespectful teenagers and into insolent adults. Attention parents: don’t raise assholes. Below is the best free advice you’ll ever get, so listen up:
Rule #1: Give a shit. If you care enough to have a child, you should be proactive in raising a good one.
Rule #2: Teach your kids to respect themselves, one another and their environment.
Rule #3: Train them to say please and thank you. It goes a LONG way.
Rule #4: Teach them that it is not OK to say or do whatever they feel.
Rule #5: Teach them the meaning of consequences.
Rule #6: Teach them that they are never too old to be corrected
Rule #7: Take a look at your own behavior. Chances are, they are emulating you and your bad habits. Or, they are reacting to a new development to your life. Check yourself before you wreck yourself (and your kid).
Don’t just be a sperm donor, give birth, or sign the papers. It’s your job as a parent to properly teach a child how to respect their surroundings, communicate effectively and overall, be a decent human being.
This post brought to you by Maureen who has a PhD in Etiquette and wants to teach a parenting class for many parents in the DC Metro area.