Something occurred to me recently, whilst attempting to calm Boychild down enough to eat dinner - we dared to schedule it 90 seconds into an episode of 'Timmy Time'.
We, as parents, are constantly bombarded with disapproving looks, comments and rolled eyes on trains, in coffee shops, in restaurants and in shops, for the crime of having a child who has decided to choose that moment to throw a tantrum within eye/earshot of a childless person. If that wasn't enough, we then have to put up with endless online comments on how bad we are as parents to put up with that kind of behaviour and 'allowing' our offspring to ruin the atmosphere and quiet for everyone.
So what do we do? We find a way to hush them as quickly as possible. We couldn't possibly upset the chap working from his 'office' in Costa Coffee or the lemon-sucking-faced couple with the perfect [read 'boring'] toddlers sitting reading Price and Prejudice on the 12.34 to London Bridge. Anyway, I digress, we are hushing them up...And how do we do that exactly? Usually in the way that we try to avoid most of the time - bribery. Generally in the form of food, or more specifically, the food you don't really want them to have too much of. Or else giving back the toy you had just taken away as they had thrown it on the floor in a temper far too many times.
In doing so, we are doing the things we don't agree with and would never do at any other time. It goes against how we usually discipline and try to bring up our children.
So what am I saying exactly? Do you think the judgemental childless people in these establishments realise what they are doing? Rather than helping to mould these kids they are, in effect, telling them they are likely to be rewarded for being a pain in the arse. They are helping to turn them into the little brats that we have been trying to prevent. I'm not saying anyone should have to listen to a screaming child in a public place unnecessarily but, when dealt with correctly, tantrums rarely last that long. And believe me, if it looks as though one is about to go on too long, most parents WANT to vacate the area so won't subject others to it for longer than they have to. But if we don't let them tantrum it out from time to time, they will learn to use their tantrums as a bargaining chip.
I'm also not saying that parents can offload the blame onto others either but just think about it... When that child screeches or even has the audacity to cry because it is simply a newborn and that it's what they do, do you think the parent wants to listen to it too? Do you think they have become immune?
NO!! They are embarrassed, often very tired, and acutely aware of how irritating their child or baby is being. At the point when said child is reaching their peak, if you look closely you will see other parents casting sympathetic looks across the coffee shop. And in the case of a new mother alone with her small crying bundle you may also see the beginning of tears.
There are plenty of annoying people in public most of the time but nobody would dream of picking on the fat bloke obstructing the pavement or aisle, nor would you confront the girl playing crap music from her phone or the commuter who refuses to switch off the annoying key tones whilst texting, so why is it fair game to tut loudly and comment loudly to parents who, most of the time, are doing the best they can?
Perhaps all those Katy-Hopkins-a-likes out there should start looking inside their own glasshouses before trying to throw stones into other people's.