There is a storm of controversy over the owner of Macy’s Diner in Portland Maine for screaming at a crying child which she claims didn’t stop crying for close to an hour annoying employees and 75 other patrons. I don’t condone screaming at any child, but this story is hitting a real nerve with people precisely because many parents abdicate authority to others rather than correcting heir own child’s behavior.
It can be extremely annoying to be in a restaurant, movie theater, store or similar public situations where the parent chooses to ignore a child’s bad behavior. Especially as a teacher, where we have learned to respond immediately to inappropriate behavior before it gets out of hand. What I have noticed over the years is a lessening of correcting by parents and a seeming lack of confidence that their own children will listen to them anyway.
I have seen school events where parents allow their children to run free in a public place without any supervision and with a lack of safety concern. Many times it is the teachers or principals who have to intervene to keep children safe. Many parents shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know how you take care of 18 children, what’s your secret?” The secret is that it is okay to say “No” to a child. They won’t break, they can face adversity and might even learn that they are not the center of the universe.
The parents of the screaming child in Portland had a right to expect fast service, but if the food was too slow, they had options. One , they could have taken the child outside for a walk. Two, they could have requested their check and gone home to make their own pancakes. Three, they could have told the child to stop crying or we are going to have to leave. four, they could have bought crayons, paper, books or other diversions if they knew they were going to be waiting somewhere. It wasn’t fair to ask the other patrons, employees and even the owner to have to be the ones to bear the brunt of their child’s outburst.If the child cannot sit and wait in a restaurant, then they shouldn’t be there. it is as simple as that. What do you think the parents could have done to defuse the situation?