Sunday, July 09, 2006

Is your four-year-old REALLY ready for PG-13?

Jess' Journal has a great post on Parental Responsibility.

I've written before about how furious I was that a crying little kid messed with my enjoyment of the 11:30pm showing of King Kong.

I normally like Bitch, PhD but thought her defense of taking her little kid to the Pirates of the Carribean movie smacked of someone who knew what she was doing was obnoxious and did it anyway and things turned out fine for her, so there. (Kid crawled into her lap twice because he was scared, she had little conversations-during-the-movie to reassure him and then in the end things were fine and he didn't have any nightmares. How the people sitting next to her felt about said conversations and crawling around went unreported. The potential for the kid creating greater fuss was assumed to be negligable.)



Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one. If they recommend kids under 13 not see it, then a four-year-old can be permanently traumatized (not to mention the trauma of the people seated next to him). Why don't movie theaters institute child care?

Chalicechick said...

That sounds like a moneymaker to me.


Doug Muder said...

This brings out my inner curmudgeon. You see, I like to work with my laptop in libraries and coffee shops, so mothers with loud children are a plague frequently visited upon me.

I understand perfectly what goes on. If you are trapped in a house with a loud toddler, your natural fantasy is to be someplace public and quiet. Of course, once you and your child get there, the place isn't quiet anymore. So, from my self-centered point of view, it looks as if mothers of toddlers are on a systematic search-and-destroy mission to purge quietness from the public square.

PeaceBang said...

I walked into my favorite Bruegger's Bagels a few weeks ago to eat a bagel, drink some coffee and read the paper. Imagine my horror when I walked in to find that at least fifteen mommies and their small children had overrun the joint. Bruegger's had invited a Clap-Happy Singalong Man to entertain the munchkins and their mothers, but had failed to inform the rest of the public.

Since when do regular eating establishments get turned into Chuck E. Cheese wtih no notice? Did they actually think that anyone without children wanted to be caught for one moment in that melee?

Again, the concept of PUBLIC PLACE goes out the window in the service of kiddie-friendly. "Family friendly" so often winds up meaning "Friendly just to YOUR family and miserable for everyone else."

Jess said...

I saw that post, too, and had a similar reaction. But then, I don't read Dr. B for her family life, that's for sure!!

I hate the whole idea of specifically "family friendly" establishments. Why on earth would I want to bring my kids to a restaurant overrun with other people's (poorly behaved) kids, where they all feed off each others' mania and end up hyper little beast-creatures for the rest of the day?! I would much rather that a majority of parents teach their kids how to behave in public society, and then almost any public place could be "family friendly."

< inner curmudgeon re-squelched. . . >

Chalicechick said...

Shrug. Nothing I've ever seen suggests that polyamory is a good thing for any kids involved in the family situation. That said, Dr. B seems to handle it just fine.


Anonymous said...

I hear you loud and clear, CC. Many times I have asked to be reseated at eating establishments because of poorly behaved children.

One place that I thought was still the sacred quiet space is the library. Oh how wrong I was.

Doug Muder said...

Nio: One place that I thought was still the sacred quiet space is the library. Oh how wrong I was.

The loss of libraries is really something to cry for. I mean, we still have buildings full of books, but how many of them are actually good reading environments now?

A few libraries in my area have opened "quiet rooms" -- little cubicles for the occasional weirdo who wants to read or study rather than run around screaming.

Anonymous said...

Doug: why should the occasional weirdo have to serquester him/herself in a cubical? WHy not make the screaming kid leave?

LaReinaCobre said...

Maybe I'm just lucky. 99% of the kids I come across on a daily basis (in grocery stores, on the city buses, restaurants, etc) are not doing anything to warrant negative attention.

It would be great if more parents helped their children learn how to interact with other adults in a respectful way, and it would be great if more adults learned how to interact with other people's children in a respectful way.

A recent flight I was on left me feeling pretty upset by the actions of several adults. An infant was screaming during the flight and at least three adults within earshot of me were loudly muttering that "some people" need to "shut their kids up," and "some people" need to "rent a car instead of flying," and "some people" should "do something about it [the baby]."

Was it pleasant? No, it really sucked to hear a baby bleating for an hour on an already uncomfortable and packed flight - and the baby was sitting in the aisle right across from me, but the most unhappy people on the plane appeared to be the parents, who I watched plead with a 6 month old to stop crying - not because the baby was miserable - but because of the growing hostility of some adults on the plane. One person even complained to one of the flight attendants about it!

Anonymous said...

I don't buy into the notion that we have to carefully screen what our children are exposed to. When I was growing up, people were always shocked by the movies, books and TV shows, my parents allowed me to watch. But my exposure to graphic sex and violence at young ages did not damage me because I also had plenty of exposure to my parents' humane values. I was scared of some movies I saw, but I LIKED being scared.

That having been said, I do think that parents have a responsibility to make sure their kids don't disrupt other people's movie-going experiences. I didn't infer from Bitch's description that her kids' conduct would have been distracting to others, however. My parents' didn't always do so well in this regard, though, as one of my early claims to fame came at age 3 when I observed, "Ooooh, a TUMMY," during a graphic sex scene.