Newsflash! Not all people think your children are as cute and as adorable as you do. I know this is going to come as a shock, but some people think your children are a pain in the neck.
And you know what? Sometimes they are … my tween included. And when they are being a pain and they are in public, it’s not the job of other adults to smile benignly and tolerate their misbehaviour, it’s our job to rein in their bad behaviour.
You see, not everyone agrees children should be allowed everywhere adults are.
Harsh? Maybe. But not unreasonable in the circumstances when parents see a family night out as a night off.
Restaurants spring immediately to mind.
It’s important for children to learn to eat out, but for some parents, the fundamental lesson is being ignored. That’s the one where the children learn to eat at the table and join in the conversation – not compete in laps around the restaurant tables.
And instead of being precious about how your children are received at expensive restaurants catering to an older crowd, if they can’t behave, take them to a joint where other people’s kids can drive you nuts as well.
Airplanes are another popular cop-out for lazy parenting.
I remember a flight from Sydney to London when a delightful little tot, as cute as a button, ran up and down the aisles, little feet thumping up and down in between her meals and naps, all the way to Singapore. I let it pass, not wanting to be the grouch to spoil her fun.
But then she appeared on the next leg to London, all refreshed and ready for action.
On her third circuit around the aisles I scooped her up and returned her to her parents, both of whom were engrossed in the television screen in front of them.
The mother was appalled, not at her child, but at me.
“Obviously you have no idea what it’s like to travel with a child,” she hissed.
Nah, no idea, having spent much of the past 15 hours reading over and over again 101 Dalmations, drawing, looking at pictures books, doing puzzles and trying to catch a few zzs while my three-year-old was sprawled across me slumbering. All this, with no partner to pick up the slack. Nup, obviously no clue.
The cinema is another area where parenting sometimes flies out the window. I like to listen to the movie, not the toddler behind whining constantly to get down from her mother’s knee and kicking my chair in protest.
And don’t forget weddings. I have a friend who refused to attend a good mate’s wedding because her child wasn’t invited – no children were.
“It’s just rude,” she bleated.
She had absolutely no comprehension that there was only room for one tantrumy princess at a wedding, and it wasn’t her two-year-old.
Parenting is tough, but it’s not a job confined solely to home. Time out with the kids, does not mean time out for the parents.
Do you think it’s time parents reined their kids in at restaurants?