Chronicles of the Cosmic Couple
We — all the rest of us — are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Get it?! DID YOU HEAR ME?! It’s over. The days of your spoiled little offspring diminishing the lives of the rest of us are coming to an end. On airline flights. In restaurants. In grocery stores. In public swimming pools. In movie theaters. On vacations.
Can you dysfunctional parents see the writing on the wall? A new movement is gaining momentum in the USA. Call it the Ban-the-Brats Movement. Check it out:
• More and more often, in the last few years, airlines are not tolerating screaming children on flights. Whole families have been tossed off airplanes recently.
• Restaurants around the country are banning kids of all ages.
• Movie theaters are banning children for certain family movies. One movie chain has banned kids altogether, except on certain “baby days.”
• Kid-free vacations are becoming more and more popular. There’s even a travel website for kid-free vacations, with a massive list of yoga retreats, luxury resorts and bargain hotels around the world that ban children. Click on http://www.leavethembehind.com/
Parents, you are responsible for this ugly situation. Kids (most kids, anyway) are not born monsters. You have created these screaming, nightmarish entities. You have thrust your monsters into our faces with impunity up to now. Your postmodern, totally hands-off approach to child-rearing has created a storm cloud of anger in those of us who have no desire to be around your little darlings.
Your brats are as welcome in public spaces these days as second-hand smoke. Or as unwelcome as barking dogs in a quiet neighborhood. DO YOU GET IT?!? Or are you so enamored of your spawn that they can do no wrong, and if the rest of us don’t like their bad behavior, it is our problem?
It’s over, bad mommy and daddy. Time to change your ways. Does the word “discipline” have any meaning for you? Have you heard of the concept of “setting limits” for your children? No? Then you better leave the little bastards at home next time you go out, or when you plan a long flight to Hawaii. You might run into something like….
The airlines that put you in the family section in the back of the plane, for kids and parents only. Don’t mind the soundproof glass wall between your little cabin and the rest of the aircraft. Meals will be passed to you through a special pressurized window. Cost for this little inconvenience will be the same as First Class.
Or you might find the new “family ghettoes” everywhere you go. You and your brats need to be segregated from the rest of civilized society. Keep them quiet and decently behaved, whatever it takes. No one likes screaming children. Period.
It is nearly impossible — and often downright dangerous — to discuss a child’s gross misbehavior with its parent, especially the little monster’s mother. Out of some twisted sense of entitlement, mothers seem to feel that their offspring are beyond reproach. Try shushing one of these young miscreants, and you will find its parent in your face, giving you an earful, or even a bloody nose.
It must be noted that there are two types of misbehaving children, both types totally unacceptable in civilized society. First are the Tantrum Throwers, usually infants up to two years old. This type is found most often on airplanes, in movie theaters and in restaurants.
The parent has few options: remove the offending child, or feed it, or stick something in its yowling mouth, such as a pacifier. Airplane etiquette: Don’t get on the plane in the first place if your little monster is prone to tantrums.
The second type is of the Kids Gone Wild variety. This type of young miscreant, normally between the ages of three and eight, exhibits extreme bad behavior with no sign of parental discipline or control. These are the hardcore screamers and disruptors. Parents must learn that this type of behavior is no longer tolerated.
There are exceptions and variables in every situation. To wit:
Autism: This condition is often a great tragedy for the kid and the parents. The cause is still unknown, as more and more American children are afflicted with autism. Unfortunately, autistic kids are known to throw the most full-on, ear-shattering, skull-splitting tantrums you can imagine, tantrums that can last for minutes or hours.
This can be most unwelcome in the checkout line at WalMart. Or especially on an airline in the seat in back of you. Rule: Autistic kids should not be exposed to public situations where their tantrum can ruin everyone else’s day. This is tough love, and the parent is expected to find alternatives.
Bad parenting’s dark side: It’s one thing for rotten parents to expose the rest of the world to the little monsters they have created. It’s quite another when we look at the rising incidence of child abuse in the USA. It has become so endemic in our society that government agencies (called Child Protective Services, or CPS in most states) are overwhelmed, often underfunded, and unable to cope with even the most urgent cases.
Thankfully, there is a national organization called Childhelp. Liberty & I were once involved with Childhelp; they do wonderful work in the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Visit their website at www.childhelp.org for details. Call their 24-hour hotline at 1-800-422-4453 to report a case of child abuse. All calls are anonymous.