Archive for July, 2010

Your child is precious, but …

Posted in Children on July 12, 2010 by Olivia A. Harris

Children are truly a blessing. They are precious little people who can give us a whole new perspective on life.  However, your opinion of your little darling’s ‘self expression’ is more than likely to conflict with mine when that expression takes place in public.

I must begin by stating I do not have children.  However, I am the proud aunt of two rambunctious little boys aged 8 and 10.  As a dotting aunt I often take my nephews out with me.  Sometimes we go to the local family restaurant or a movie theatre. And on a few occasions they have even come to work with me for a few hours.  For the most part my nephews are ‘good boys’ but they certainly are no angels. 

My nephews have acted up in public when out with me.  Without shame I admit that I have wanted to shout, “They’re not my kids!  I’m just their Aunt!”  I don’t, however, try to deny them because my boys are the spitting image of me.  They look nothing like their parents with the exception of their feet that are identical to my sister-in-law’s.  So, denying our familial ties would be useless. 

Yet, on these rare occasions I became a superhero quickly jumping into action.  Stealthily I sidle up to the offending party and hiss into their ear, “you’d better fix up!”  No yelling at the top of my lungs; no shouting back and forth making those around us feel uncomfortable or wonder if they should press speed-dial on their cell phone for children’s aid.  My subtle rapid response seems to be all that is necessary to correct the behavior in question.  Once corrected, the boys and I continue happily about our business.   

I know being Aunt does not bear the same responsibility as parenthood.  I also know that as precious as my boys are to me, not everyone else feels the same way when they misbehave in public and disturb other people’s enjoyment of the space in question.  If  I know this, how come so many parents don’t? 

I cannot count the number of times I have been in public to witness uncontrolled children running through coffee shops (where people are actually holding HOT cups of coffee), screeching in the bookstore and library (where you’re supposedly taught at a young age to be QUIET) or my new favourite, a child standing beside me at the bank machine asking if I would like them to push the numbers for me.  All this is happening while mom and/or dad stands by with a silly smirk that I swear say, “Kids! What can you do?” 

In no way am I suggesting parents (or caregivers) manhandle the children in their charge should they misbehave.  So, as for ‘what can you do,’ I would like to suggest not screaming at the child from ten feet away or battering them.  Instead, take the responsibility to address the situation with respect for yourself, those around you and ultimately the children in question. 

Childhood is the time at which many of life’s lessons are taught and ‘respect’ is the foundation and among the most important of them all.

– Mantha