I’m sitting in the customer chairs of my local Bank of America branch on a Saturday waiting to close my accounts, and I get chance to see something that interests me: the real situation when parents let their kids run around.
So far only a few people have come without any kids at all, and most have come with two or three. All were under the age of eight and spanned the world’s major cultures. Regardless of race or national origin, all but one family put limits on their kids behavior.
This doesn’t surprise me. It’s certainly more common than not. But it got me to thinking about my own childhood and the expectations placed on me whenever we went into a store, bank, or restaurant. I wasn’t always an angel, but I knew there were consequences, and I knew I risked angering my mom or grandmother. It was a once-spoken understanding usually before we went in or immediately after I started to act up.
Even when I wasn’t cooperative, though, I knew it was NOT OK to run around shouting and talking loudly. My job was to stand near the person I was with, not hang on things and not whine or yell.
That just isn’t so today, and I’m wondering when this major shift occurred in the parenting paradigm. When did public parenting reach its tipping point? Is this just a pendulum swing? If so, does anyone see it swinging back again?
I don’t have actual answers for these questions on any grand scale. But my answer to this trend, and I hope it is just a trend, is to make sure I parent my children in public places the way I was parented. I know there are plenty of parents who agree with me in principle and practice, and to those I give a big thumbs up. To the rest, I stick up another finger.
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