I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with parents.
Twice in the last month, I have attended public speaking events for things involving my kids and have been frustrated beyond belief. I've just about given up on the possibility that the coming generation will ever have any ability to sit down and shut up for more than five minutes at a time, because they sure as shit don't have any parental guidance on the subject of acting respectfully in a public forum.
In both events, I had to strain myself over the sound of phones buzzing and beeping (even after attendees were asked to turn their phones off), people talking and chit-chatting and allowing their kids, little and not-so-little alike, to run around and make noise. This is winter in Ontario.. do you have any idea how much noise snow-boots on a hardwood floor make in an auditorium? A shit-ton of noise.
Here I am, trying to set a decent example for my own kids, quietly admonishing them for wiggling, kicking and whatnot but I feel like I shouldn't even bother trying to get my kids to behave when other ADULTS don't even have the manners to pay attention to what is going on.
I get that kids have a hard time sitting for a long period of time. So my hats off to those who recognize this and remove their kids when they start getting bored and fidgety. Thank you. A fidgety kid is distracting enough, but a fidgety kid whose parent is constantly going "Shhhh!!" or indulging their need for conversation, or even just ignoring the kid when someone is giving a presentation or even just is beyond infuriating. So my hat is off to the parents who understand that sometimes it's just time to leave.
But, lately it seems that the kids are only a small part of the problem. Adults seem to have a hard time grasping that there are times when it's inappropriate to be carrying on a conversation or talking on your phone or getting and walking around a half-dozen times when there is someone addressing you as part of an audience. It's rude to the speaker and it's rude to the people who are there for the performance or information session or whatever reason there is to assemble. It reeks of entitlement and tends to teach the kiddos that no matter the situation, your immediate gratification is top priority to the detriment of those around you.
As someone with a bit of hearing loss, it's especially aggravating because I have trouble dealing with excessive ambient noise.
I think kids should be allowed in public spaces. I don't want to see them shuffled away, but we as parents need to teach and more importantly MODEL appropriate behaviour in public.