I was brought up to believe that children should be seen and not heard, especially when taken to grown up places. My daughter is 4 years old and a lot of people compliment me on how well behaved she is in public. That’s because if you put the work in at a young age and are consistent, you get results.
I have begun to see more and more lately a new generation of kids that are very obnoxious and badly behaved. They don’t seem to know boundaries. You have 3 types of parents: firstly, the strict parents with well behave children, secondly the parents who try to treat their children as equals so the children don’t know what boundaries are. Thirdly, the other extreme of parents who can’t really be bothered to look after or discipline their children at all and don’t really care what their children do in public as long as they are not being bothered themselves.
This is a pet hate of mine – badly behaved kids – and I have had so many problems with parents over the years who think that bad behaviour is acceptable. They are selfish and don’t care about destroying other peoples experiences, but just about enjoying their own.
When I pay for a restaurant, flight, hotel or health club, I don’t expect children to ruin my experience. There is a place and a time for children to misbehave and for kids to be kids and there are places that they should not.
Let me give you an example. I was flying out from London Heathrow and was at the Virgin Club house. I had just arrived at the lounge and was sitting with my husband having a glass of champagne trying to unwind and relax looking forward to the start of our vacation. The next thing I heard two children aged between 6 and 8. They were running through the lounge screaming, physically fighting and annoying many of the passengers. The parents were enjoying their food oblivious of their children, not really caring about others, as they did not have to take care of them themselves. Our experience was being destroyed though because of this. So I went and found the manager of the lounge and said that it was unacceptable that these kids were destroying everyone’s experience and to go and sort the situation out. So she went and spoke to the parents and asked them to control their children.
When the father of the children realised that I had complained, instead of approaching me to apologise, as I would have, he became rather aggressive condoning his children’s behaviour in front of them. He said how dare you complain about my children they have paid the same price for their Upper Class ticket as you have, so they can do what they want. I was taken aback and said maybe they have paid the same price, but do your children have the right to destroy the experience of all the other Upper-Class passengers in the lounge. It is a business class lounge, so if children come in it is your responsibility to make sure they behave. He then called me a b..ch and walked off. He did all this in front of his children. He should have been a role model setting an example. So what hope is there for them when their father does not know how to behave himself? Tone from the top of the family.
You won’t believe what happened next. Out of all the flights he could have been on he was on mine and guess where his kids were sitting — right in front of me. When he walked past he said to his children there’s that b..ch from the lounge make sure you make as much noise as possible and I will give you both £50. I mean this is an extreme example and the man was classless and to be honest I don’t know how he could afford the flights. New money does not always mean class. You can take the man out of the street, but not always the street out of the man.
In all honesty, this is not at all about money, but about being a good person with basic morals, principles and consideration for others. It is not something you can buy, but is something you are brought up to do from a young age. It is when your parents invest their time teaching you as a child of what is right and wrong.
So after writing this blog I wanted to put it out there. Should children be allowed to business class lounges? Should there be a separate area for families? Should the badly behaved kids be allowed to ruin the experience for others? What about restaurants as more and more recently crazy kids are running around out of control while others try to eat? Is this the responsibility of the restaurant manager or of the parent?
Have you had similar experiences with children? Please let me have your views and share my blog if you relate to it.