Author Topic: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?  (Read 8285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6215
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2013, 10:41:51 AM »
I have to disagree strongly with this. I consider myself a decent person, and I would be ticked if a Mom let her child take 2 seats when I was standing just so she could sleep. If we're talking a 2 year old in the middle of the night, fine, but a 10 year old at 9:30 in the morning? No, that's rude, and not acceptable.

I agree 1000% with rashea. In no way was the child taking up 2 spaces acceptable, especially once the bus got crowded.

Softly Spoken

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 639
  • "I am a hawk on a cliff..."
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2013, 01:06:27 PM »
Thank you for everyone for your feedback. Some very interesting povs and I appreciate hearing from the parents.  :)
I wanted to clarify that I didn't really feel the mom was rude. That is why I used the word "misstep" in my thread title - I was curious if this was a common parenting thing or a faux pas and if so on what level.
I think the world is a nicer place when we are considerate of others. I was very sympathetic to the mom. Didn't make my ears hurt any less but... *shrug*

Actually, I was worried about the girl because it was such a big meltdown. I really felt her frustration (side effect of being very empathetic). I was bothered by the idea that the situation had to play out as it did, and was pondering how else it could have gone. Maybe it isn't a 100% clear cut etiquette question. There are often "mitigating" circumstances or personal differences that change the etiquette 'verdict.' From what I've read on this board, one person's rudeness can be another person's politeness depending on the context, culture etc.

I find it interesting and timely that many PPs mention that if it had been the, they would have appreciated it if the mom had apologized just to acknowledge that her daughter's meltdown wasn't happening in a bubble. I am currently reading "The Five Languages of Apology" by Gary Chapman. If I had not had my earbuds in and the mom had done one of those helpless shrugs at me and said something like "Sorry, she's having a rough morning - she'll tire herself out. Kids - what can you do?" I would have shared a sympathetic smile and left it at that. Even if she had just made eye contact, rolled her eyes and winced or something, I would have felt a little better about the situation. But the mother was acting just as seemingly oblivious to me as her daughter, which made her appear a little callous. I don't know if saying something to me would have broken the "ignore the tantrum" rule since she would have been talking to me and not her daughter, but I expected her to at a minimum acknowledge that what he daughter was doing was potentially affecting a total stranger sitting inches away.  :-\

I agree with the idea that we should try and cause as little disturbance to others as possible as a general rule of thumb when going out into the world. But of course common decency asks us to show some patience and compassion to those who cannot manage to do that all the time.

I guess I wasn't asking about parenting technique or style or rights...merely wondering where one's responsibility to one's child ends and one's responsibility to others begins.

Just so we can all have a better day - which I hope that mother and daughter were able to have.
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

Roe

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6484
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2013, 01:52:48 PM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats? 

Surianne

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10904
    • Prince ShimmerShine Moondream's Blogging Adventure
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2013, 04:04:01 PM »
I find it interesting and timely that many PPs mention that if it had been the, they would have appreciated it if the mom had apologized just to acknowledge that her daughter's meltdown wasn't happening in a bubble. I am currently reading "The Five Languages of Apology" by Gary Chapman. If I had not had my earbuds in and the mom had done one of those helpless shrugs at me and said something like "Sorry, she's having a rough morning - she'll tire herself out. Kids - what can you do?" I would have shared a sympathetic smile and left it at that. Even if she had just made eye contact, rolled her eyes and winced or something, I would have felt a little better about the situation. But the mother was acting just as seemingly oblivious to me as her daughter, which made her appear a little callous. I don't know if saying something to me would have broken the "ignore the tantrum" rule since she would have been talking to me and not her daughter, but I expected her to at a minimum acknowledge that what he daughter was doing was potentially affecting a total stranger sitting inches away.  :-\

My guess is your headphones put you in a different space for her, mentally.  She assumed that either a) You couldn't even hear her daughter and/or b) You didn't want to be interrupted, even if it was just with a gesture.  I will normally smile and say hi to someone at the bus stop, but not if they have headphones on, because I think of them as in an "other" space where they either don't want to be disturbed, or wouldn't even notice me if I did acknowledge them.  I'll only acknowledge them if they make eye contact with me first.   (Note: That's not a criticism of headphones-wearing -- I too usually wear headphones when I'm out and about, and definitely at the bus stop.)

I'm glad to hear you weren't judging her too harshly, anyway, and did have some sympathy for her  :)

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5727
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2013, 04:44:25 PM »
  And though the child was rude by taking up two seats and falling asleep, very few decent people would be annoyed at having to stand so that a child can sleep.  I give both her and the mother a pass on that one.


I have to disagree strongly with this. I consider myself a decent person, and I would be ticked if a Mom let her child take 2 seats when I was standing just so she could sleep. If we're talking a 2 year old in the middle of the night, fine, but a 10 year old at 9:30 in the morning? No, that's rude, and not acceptable.

In this situation, I think it was fine for the woman to not apologize, but only because the OP was wearing headphones. I think in general, if you are doing something you know causes annoyance to those around you, even if for a good reason, it's rude if you don't at least make an attempt to apologize. It's like if you bump into someone by accident. That's not rude, but it can be if you can't manage a simple "sorry".

Fully agree, rashea.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2013, 09:37:51 PM »
  And though the child was rude by taking up two seats and falling asleep, very few decent people would be annoyed at having to stand so that a child can sleep.  I give both her and the mother a pass on that one.


I have to disagree strongly with this. I consider myself a decent person, and I would be ticked if a Mom let her child take 2 seats when I was standing just so she could sleep. If we're talking a 2 year old in the middle of the night, fine, but a 10 year old at 9:30 in the morning? No, that's rude, and not acceptable.

In this situation, I think it was fine for the woman to not apologize, but only because the OP was wearing headphones. I think in general, if you are doing something you know causes annoyance to those around you, even if for a good reason, it's rude if you don't at least make an attempt to apologize. It's like if you bump into someone by accident. That's not rude, but it can be if you can't manage a simple "sorry".

Fully agree, rashea.

I have to agree, too.  I would have first asked the mom and then the driver to get kid to wake up and let me sit if I had been one of the adults standing. And if it had been a two year old taking up two seats to sleep, same deal.  A two year old can go on mom's lap if need be and that 10 year old can lean against the window and sleep, not make others stand.

Softly Spoken

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 639
  • "I am a hawk on a cliff..."
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2013, 10:59:15 AM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

Roe

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6484
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2013, 11:01:25 AM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.

Okay, so at the time you were on the bus, she wasn't keeping anyone from sitting. 

So this idea that people should be angry is not warranted.  We have no way of knowing if she indeed did keep someone from sitting or if the mom made her move if someone needed the seat. 

I'm going to give the child and mother the benefit of the doubt. 

Danika

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1999
  • I'm not speeding. I'm qualifying.
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2013, 03:23:25 PM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.

Okay, so at the time you were on the bus, she wasn't keeping anyone from sitting. 

So this idea that people should be angry is not warranted.  We have no way of knowing if she indeed did keep someone from sitting or if the mom made her move if someone needed the seat. 

I'm going to give the child and mother the benefit of the doubt.

Before I say the following, let me mention that thus far in this thread, I, personally, have not posted anything about the girl sleeping on seats or how that might have inconvenienced others. So I'm just thinking out loud here...

No one knows and we can only theorize about what happened when the bus was full.

The only actions OP witnessed were that of her mother ignoring the child's disruptive behavior and not apologizing to others. I'm not confident that she would be any more thoughtful of others 30 minutes in the future, after OP left.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5727
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #54 on: January 17, 2013, 04:45:05 PM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.

Okay, so at the time you were on the bus, she wasn't keeping anyone from sitting. 

So this idea that people should be angry is not warranted.  We have no way of knowing if she indeed did keep someone from sitting or if the mom made her move if someone needed the seat. 

I'm going to give the child and mother the benefit of the doubt.

I don't see where anyone said "people should be angry".  All we said was that it was rude of the girl to take up 2 seats and would be ruder if that was preventing someone from sitting down.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Roe

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6484
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2013, 06:28:33 PM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.

Okay, so at the time you were on the bus, she wasn't keeping anyone from sitting. 

So this idea that people should be angry is not warranted.  We have no way of knowing if she indeed did keep someone from sitting or if the mom made her move if someone needed the seat. 

I'm going to give the child and mother the benefit of the doubt.

Before I say the following, let me mention that thus far in this thread, I, personally, have not posted anything about the girl sleeping on seats or how that might have inconvenienced others. So I'm just thinking out loud here...

No one knows and we can only theorize about what happened when the bus was full.

The only actions OP witnessed were that of her mother ignoring the child's disruptive behavior and not apologizing to others. I'm not confident that she would be any more thoughtful of others 30 minutes in the future, after OP left.

Maybe, maybe not.  My point is, we don't know for a fact that she was rude.  And I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. It's okay if others don't.  Actually, giving them the benefit of the dout has gotten me in trouble before. ;) 

At any rate, I was just pointing out the fact that we don't know what happened after OP got off the bus.  Oftentimes, threads like this take on a life of their own and it seemed as if (and I could be wrong) it was about to skyrocket into the "child was rude for making other adults stand" when in fact, we don't know if that's true or not.  That was my point.

MrsJWine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8846
  • I have an excessive fondness for parentheses.
    • Wallydraigle
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2013, 06:38:17 PM »
I think that the OP's observations were probably clouded by her having her headphones in, and that she should have just said, "May I sit?" instead of standing there silently.

However, the sum total of the mom's actions don't really point to giving benefit of the doubt. Especially getting on the bus while the kid was still outside. That doesn't make me think she's the most balanced person in the world. I give the benefit of the doubt when people overall are attempting to be considerate (even if they're failing), but this doesn't look like one of those times.


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


Utah

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5305
Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2013, 06:44:01 PM »
Softly Spoken, was the young girl keeping anyone from sitting on the bus by taking up 2 seats?

At the time I got off, there were only 2 or 3 spots left (including the seat I vacated), she was still fast asleep, and the bus was headed into the heart of downtown. I hope she didn't force anyone to stand, but I have no way of knowing.

Okay, so at the time you were on the bus, she wasn't keeping anyone from sitting. 

So this idea that people should be angry is not warranted.  We have no way of knowing if she indeed did keep someone from sitting or if the mom made her move if someone needed the seat. 

I'm going to give the child and mother the benefit of the doubt.

I don't see where anyone said "people should be angry".  All we said was that it was rude of the girl to take up 2 seats and would be ruder if that was preventing someone from sitting down.

I think it's only rude to take up two seat if you are preventing someone else from sitting down.  Otherwise, who cares?  It's no different than putting your purse on the seat beside you and then moving it when someone needs to sit there.

I'm also not understanding the logic.  At the bus stop, the OP wondered if the mother should have appeased her daughter so that those around her wouldn't have to listen to her cry.  Then, on the bus, when the mother did appease the daughter (let her sit somewhere else and sleep) she was rude for not being a better parent and forcing a cranky child to sit with her when she clearly didn't want to.  The public can't have it both ways.  Parents can't both be model parents by forcing their children to do  exactly the right thing at all times and the public also be spared from the occasional tantrum when they do enforce them doing the right thing.  Parenting is a constant battle of choices...and not easy choices.  To have the public constantly pass judgement makes it harder.  Had the mother forced her daughter to sit with her or not let her sleep (without anyone else needing those seats), then the daughter, already having a pretty horrible day probably would have thrown another fit.  Then the mom would be criticized for causing the tantrum and inconveniencing everyone on the bus, where no one could escape.  She can't win.  And I personally think she picked the lesser of two evils in that case.

Without evidence that the daughter would move if the seat was needed, I don't think it's fair to assume that rudeness would have occured.  We don't know that.