COMMENT:

Debate raged in the UK as the weekend over the issue of whether kids should stand up for older people on the bus.

This came about after a woman travelling with two small children aged 4 and 6 was ticked off by an older woman commuter who felt the kids should've given up their seats.

The mum argued that at their young ages standing on the bus would've been too dangerous for them.

In fact her son had on a prior trip fallen backwards and landed flat on his back after the bus took a sharp turn too fast.

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So is it safest for children to be in seats? What about when the bus is full?

Should they at that point vacate their seats? What's more important? Safety? Or manners?

By not asking the kids to stand up for elders are we missing a teachable moment around respect?

How would we feel if our kids were cosily tucked into their seats and an older person fell?
Should the mum hop up at this point?

Is there an age hierarchy? Small children and older people get seats, middle-aged people can stand?

And did you pay for that child to have a seat - therefore you have bought it and have every right to stay in it?

And what about all the teenage commuters who are head down on a screen, headphones in ears, unaware of who even hopped on the bus? Should they be tapped on the shoulder and asked to move?

What if a child got up for an older commuter, then either fell, or got moved back in the crowded bus away from their parent?

It's a veritable minefield.

My view is, if the kids are little enough, sit them on your knee, or perch two littlies on one seat next to each other.

If the kids are older than about 8 then they should be able to stand and hold onto a rail or your hand.

Manners are important, so is respect, taking the opportunity while in public places to teach kids these valuable lessons is well worth it.

Pointing out that there are other people around you, to be aware of them, and think about their needs too, is an extremely important life lesson for our increasingly selfish young people.

But safety's also important. There's no point in making a small child stand and wobble in a bus aisle just because an over-50 feels more seat-worthy - which leads to the inevitable 'are children second class citizens' debate.

What's the rule here?

Sadly, there isn't one. Given that, it'd be nice to think common sense and manners would prevail.