Clamp down please on toxic tots in public places

By Kate Stewart

Seriously people, what is up with the kids of today? From 18 months to 18 years these defiant devils of doom are becoming more prolific when it comes to publicly spitting the dummy. Even more disturbing is the trend that parents seem to think it's okay.

I am a firm believer that children should be seen and not heard and when it comes to "seen", I'm happy to accept a photo, no actual contact is required. Back in the olden days, when I was growing up, we had no need for naughty steps, reward charts, therapy sessions and Ritalin. I was raised to have a healthy fear and respect for my parents. My mother, the old withered crone as I affectionately refer to her, could command that respect with "The Look".

Our eyes would meet for just a split second and in that brief and silent encounter she was able to convey the following message: "Kathryn Jane, if you carry on with that behaviour be assured that when I get you alone I'm going to rip off your arms and legs, impale you on a red hot poker and feed you like a lollipop to pride of wild lions."

I can only dream at what it must feel like to possess such a talent.

Whilst I am the first to admit that the parenting style might be somewhat unconventional, I certainly would not have tolerated my life forms having mammoth meltdowns in the supermarket or staging a revolution in a crowded restaurant.

Seeing these antagonistic ankle-biters behaving so badly annoys the crap out of me and my self-confessed lack of maternal instincts only amplifies the situation. Ever practical, I just want the offending evil entity to shut the hell up. It's a test of my self-control not to say anything. It helps that I can flit off to my happy place where I am safely able to exact my revenge - if only in my mind.

But what of the parents who don't even challenge this highly inappropriate behaviour? Some even attempt to defend and justify it. A few months ago I watched a documentary where, in America, some restaurant owners were finally taking a stand and refusing to serve these tantrum-throwing kids, out of consideration for other diners. There were airlines too, turning planes around to offload out-of-control kids. Parents were genuinely shocked and insulted, claiming discrimination and a breach of their rights and generally playing the victim. I was stunned. It shows both arrogance and ignorance.

Somewhere along the way these parents actually think that because they are paying customers they have purchased permission for their kids to do whatever the hell they want, no questions asked. When you have parents with a mind-set like this, let's be honest, what real hope is there for the kids? What you choose to tolerate in your own home is one thing but when your child's actions impact on those around them, there must be consequences. Yet we seem to have evolved into a society where no one wants to ruffle any feathers, preferring instead to remain silent. Ever the diplomat, I say bugger that, ruffle those feathers, pluck them out one by one and tell these freakish families to cluck off! These people are on private property, whether it be a local business or a plane.

I hope New Zealand businesses will follow the lead. On a road that is already heavily congested with bandwagons, the majority of which are transporting large loads of politically correct bull, I for one, am only too happy to jump on one that champions the long overdue return to something as old fashioned and basic as acceptable human behaviour.

What possible good can come from raising a child that is devoid of self- control? Tell me please, if I am missing the upside then enlighten me and I will happily stand corrected.

Right, well having got that off my chest, I feel much better. Parenting is a truly wonderful thing in my imagination. It plays host to some of my fondest child-rearing memories and to be perfectly honest I'd be lost without it.

Until next time smile loudly and should you encounter one of these toxic tots, you might want to try channelling "The Look".

Waffle's bone of contention

This week it's with Gareth Morgan and his crazy quest to cull the cat. Feral cats I can understand, but if we all just decided to wipe out whatever pees us off, I don't think any of us would be here. Who is he to decide that a bird is more deserving of life than a family pet? The brakes need to go on this bandwagon, for sure.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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