Papa Don't Preach
Scott Kara's (rough) guide to being a father.

Papa Don't Preach: 'NZers are an intolerant bunch of child haters'

Many New Zealanders are intolerant of children, says Scott Kara. 
Photo / Thinkstock
Many New Zealanders are intolerant of children, says Scott Kara. Photo / Thinkstock

Last week I wrote about the rigours of keeping your children under control when you are out and about. Turns out, it's a divisive and touchy subject.

And little did I know that many New Zealanders are an intolerant bunch of child haters. That might sound harsh, but given the number of respondents who were, what can only be described as anti-kids, then it's warranted.

There were some empathetic parents who offered their own tips on how best to amuse your little ones at a restaurant or on the plane. But much of the feedback was from people who wanted children to be kept under wraps until they are old enough to be obedient (the dog analogy is intentional) and know their place.

There were comments like, why bother taking kids on holiday since they aren't old enough to remember anything anyway? My simple answer to that is, because their grandparents would hardly see them otherwise.

And then there was the person who demanded I keep my "screaming kids away from adult restaurants".

Not sure I've seen a "no children allowed sign" outside any restaurants lately. And besides, as I pointed out last week, my wife and I always take the kids out early so we have finished by the time the busy period hits.

And some insisted my wife and I "get a baby sitter". If only, because they don't come cheap these days and we don't have many family in town to call on to help out. However, a babysitter is beside the point because if we want to go out for dinner as a family then why shouldn't we?

Yes, out of control kids can make a restaurant or a plane flight unpleasant - sometimes downright intolerable - for other members of the public. But we - like most parents - want our kids to be social and outgoing and the only way to teach them that is to take them out and about.

Also, given this sort of intolerance it's no wonder there is a high rate of child abuse in New Zealand society. Not to mention the impact this sort of negativity and aversion to children has on Kiwi kids' self esteem and social skills.

Like most parents, my own kids drive me nuts on regular occasions, whether it's Mia not shutting up about the latest bee that she's got in her bonnet. Or when Katie breaks down after I take a pen off her (because she's at the age where drawing on walls is fun). But they are kids, that's what they do until you teach them right from wrong.

Which is why, as I also pointed out last week, keeping children under control is first and foremost a parent's responsibility. So take it easy on the kids would you.

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