This morning I walked by a TV showing a talk show. On it, an audience member was asking if she should take her 4 year old daughter to a family wedding. The family hosting the wedding really wanted the 4 year old to attend but the audience member was not sure if kids belonged at weddings. To this, the talk show host said that she was a mother and that there were certain places that kids just did not belong. According to her, this included restaurants with tablecloths, airplanes and weddings. And the audience member thought this was good advice.
This clip has been eating at me all day. My question back is, how are kids to learn how to behave at restaurants, in airplanes and at weddings if we do not teach them? And if it is a family wedding, and the hosts are asking for the 4 year old to attend, why is there a concern? Is it better to leave a child at home with a babysitter, where no one can see when she misbehaves, or to have her spend time learning to behave with grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins? She may not be perfect at all times, but her mom has legs that could walk her daughter out of the room when needed.
I agree that kids need to behave. I do not really love sitting next to a screaming toddler or wild kid. Especially when they are my own. But if we do not give kids the opportunity to behave, how do we know that they cannot? And if we tell them they will not behave, how can we expect them to do anything but misbehave?
Maybe a fancy restaurant is not the place for all children. But, a mature kid should not be banned from tablecloth restaurants.
For weddings, the host can decide if children are invited. If the host is asking for kids to attend, then they are asking for you kid to attend.
And as for airplanes, do children automatically act worse than others? I fly a lot and have met some very rude adults on airplanes. They did not cry the entire flight, but they were generally unpleasant and irritating for several hours.
Also, if children should not be on airplanes, how exactly will you get them to grandma's house or some other grand adventure? Is it better to leave a child at home with a babysitter, where no one can see when she misbehaves, or to have her spend time learning to behave?
I recently read a post on Momastery saying that when she flies, she spends her time:
- Planning exactly what I will do if the plane is taken over by terrorists...
- Searching for and glaring relentlessly at anyone who dares to glare at crying babies or screaming toddlers.
- Stewing about how it seems men always take BOTH the arm rests...
I'm actually on business travel now and will fly home, without kids, in a couple days. I plan to spend my 3 hour flight "Searching for and glaring relentlessly at anyone who dares to glare at crying babies or screaming toddlers." and considering how to recover from the 1 minute of a talk show that ate at me all day.
How can we make our children confident in this world if we imply that they do not belong in all of it? And more practically, how do we create a new generation of adults if children are something we do not want to deal with?
Let's teach our children manners, let's be considerate of parents as they do this and let's know that we can try the restaurant, airplane or wedding, misbehave, CORRECT and try again. Try. Correct. Try again.