I hope this thread can remain civil because I know it is a hot button topic, but I am really curious on where etiquette-conscious people draw the line when it comes to interacting with kids you aren't directly responsible for. I've read many posts on here from people complaining about rude children and the parents who allow them to be rude (and are often rude themselves). I've also read posts from parents who are appalled by rude people who have stepped over the line with their children. Since many discussions on here are about how to handle rudeness, I am wondering if there is a separate rule book for children?
FWIW, I do not have children but I have worked as a nanny, I like children, and they like me.
My friends mother once told me "children are savages until taught otherwise." It may sound harsh but I think it's true - manners and good behavior are learned, not inborn. The stories on this board are proof that some people never learn!
I have always enjoyed teaching kids, and I've found many to be eager to learn the secrets to being a "grown-up" and show how well-behaved they can be. Finer points of etiquette may be lost on younger kids, but I can't wrap my head around parents not bothering to teach kids the basics. Especially considering that many etiquette rules also overlap with/support safety rules that it would benefit children to know!
So you may be annoyed at the running, screaming child who is disrupting the party, but you only glare at the parents and hope they have the decency to do something. What about "it takes a village"?
If a kid is acting up and there is no grown-up in sight, my instinct is to a) ask them where their grown-up is and b) calmly suggest that they be polite and use their "inside voice" or something to that effect. I would never scold a child, but if they were in danger or endangering something/someone else, I would sharply warn them. If they were hitting I might grab their hand, or at least try to get between them and their target. Maybe that means I am appointing myself head sheriff/busybody...I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel like SOMEBODY has to or else there will just be a lot of post-disaster property damage and hand-wringing.
It seems like us innocent bystanders can't win - if we ignore the kids and something happens we get angrily asked "why didn't you stop them?". If we try and intervene we get jumped on by the heretofore invisible mama or papa bear who is incensed we would dare to parent their child. I would never dream of disciplining
another person's child, but when it comes to issues of etiquette and how to behaved in a civilized manner I do not see the harm in educating anyone of any age.
When I was a shy tween, I once had a younger cousin climb on me (literally climbed like I was a jungle gym and without an invitation to do so) and pull my hair (eye-watering yanking not playful tugging) - while her parents looked on with "isn't she cute and rambunctious" idiotic grins.
My parents and aunt also looked on with grimaces, but said nothing (my parents later apologized for that). Are personal space and/or property the only justifiable defenses? Should I have said "Get off me" to the kid, or "Get her off me" to her parents? When I tried to push her off me, I was met with all three protesting "But I/she wants to plaaaay
Arrrrrrrgh!What do you do when kids are rude...but they aren't your kids???