Americans seem afraid to point out kids’ extreme rudeness in public places and to demand the minimum of respect for themselves. When in other societies their members would step in and require to bring the kid to order immediately, Americans shy away. Why is it so?
Countless times I have seen an ill-mannered kid disrupt public space with ear-piercing screaming and yelling, offend other patrons or passengers by kicking their seats, or expose other people to germs by touching their bodies or belongings with hands dirty with saliva or snots. Countless times I have seen adult faces clearly offended, shocked, or at least uncomfortable with the said behavior. Countless times I have heard in person or read on internet forums how annoyed people were with kids’ rudeness in waiting rooms, stores, restaurants, and public transportation. Unfortunately, I have not seen any reaction from these people at all.
I remember well this scene on the New York City Subway. A kid was moving a toy car right in front of a woman (a stranger, not a mother or relative) seated in the next seat. It was getting more and more obnoxious, clearly invading her space, almost reaching her face, and making engine-like sounds that were pretty disruptive. The woman was upset with this behavior, a look of extreme annoyance on her face. Yet, she failed to do anything to restore order. She should have strictly required the kid to respect her and stop it right away, but she failed to do so.
When kids are running wild in restaurants and disrupting the experience for everyone, it is also clearly visible on people’s faces that they are annoyed with this behavior. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of all of us, they do nothing about it. I am usually the only person to cancel my order and leave, informing the business of the reason. If disrespectful behavior happens in a restaurant, be it from an ill-mannered child, be it from a drunk person, every customer should require the business to restore order and respect, and in failure thereof, cancel and leave.
The internet is full of rants, vents, and complaints of people offended or otherwise annoyed by kids’ unacceptable behavior. People are too docile to react, to defend themselves, to protest and require respect. Instead, they submissively go home and vent online, which not only does not contribute to the improvement of the situation, but causes its deterioration by enhancing the obnoxious kids and lazy, disrespectful parents to continue the behavior. Silence is unspoken agreement with the present situation in this case.
Where is the problem?
Americans were manipulated by the kid-obsessed society and harassed into this level of submissiveness. They became so obsequious because they were made think that a kid is sacred and protesting against its rudeness is equal to protesting against its holy existence and against the institution of the family. It should not be like this though. Take a dictionary and check the terms: extreme rudeness vs. family. They are not synonyms.
If I acted like the kids described above, I would be disciplined immediately by a parent, relative, teacher, salesperson, waiter, bus driver or an older kid. If my parents were present, a stranger would bring me to order right in front of them, and they would be embarrassed that their failure was so serious that someone else had to step in. They would apologize to that person immediately, make me apologize and punish me severely for two things: for offending somebody and for bringing shame on them. It is not old-fashioned or outdated. Many modern societies still act this way, and obtain very good results. Remember: respect never goes out of style.
I know people can get easily intimidated by the aggressive American parents, but you should not let them subdue you. A servile compliance with their expectation to take kids’ extreme rudeness for normal childhood behavior is not a solution to the problem. It is actually an encouragement of it.
Calling attention to children’s rudeness and requiring to curb the said behavior immediately contributes to their education and to the society’s well being. It should be accompanied by a calm, but strict request to restore order and respect. All members of the society should step in immediately when rudeness starts and not give up until it has ended.