Please behave and use your indoor voice...
George Scarlett, a professor of child development at Tufts University in Boston states "The rights of any one individual — whether he or she be a parent, child or stranger — do not negate the rights of others."
I provide this quote as there has been some flack recently over a story about a cafe owner in the Chicago area who posted a a sign on his front door stating 'Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices.' It seems several parents in the area take this as a dig and feel their kids are no longer welcome in the cafe. I think these folks missed the point - it is not about segregation and penalizing them and their childen - it is simply about etiquette and good parenting.
I say kudos to Dan McCauley and encourage more business owners and private citizens to take a stand. Let's bring the issue of bad manners into the light and try to resolve it - peacefully.
Zulema Suarez, a professor who studies parenting, adds, "Children don't need to be allowed to run wild and free, but they do need to be allowed to express themselves." Sure, give them room to explore - just please set guidelines. I understand you can't control the volume of your children's voices every minute - just try for the minutes when they are in public places (movie theatres, restaurants, on red eye flights, etc.) - heck, before they enter my house too. Teach them to respect personal property and other peoples 'zones'. Don't let scream for an hour hoping they'll eventually stop. Do not cave and give them everything they want. This passive attitude turns your child(ren) into selfish, unruly adults - and Lord know there are enough of those people around these days.
Of course, this is easy for me to say/write/share as I am a girl in my 30's who does not currently have any kids. And if Murphy's Law decides to have its way with me - I will spawn a demon child who cannot be controlled by anyone, and those close to me will reminisce about this post for years to come. Well, hopefully not. There are so many wonderful people around me that I can use as examples of how to raise your kids, including my dear friend Jones who has brought up three lovable, respectable, zany but well-behaved kids who I gladly take with me anywhere. If I could only do half as well as her, I would still be ahead of so many. Thank you Jones for leading by example. I love you man!
And no, mom, I am not pregnant. Yet. :)