I'm noticing a downtrend in parental expectations for children's behavior in public these days. I'm really shocked at what parents will stand by and let their kids get away with. I'm allowing grace for those times when a parent has reached the end of their sanity rope and gives in just once, which just so happens to be while I am observing. I'm sure that happens, and I totally understand. But that can't be happening 99% of the time, which is about how often I see parents getting walked all over like doormats. At a carnival the other night I watched as a child demanded (and whined) constantly to the college students making balloon animals. The mom kept trying to change what the students were making for her son as he continued to change his mind over and over, and not in a polite way. He just cried and fussed and here they were trying to give him a balloon animal for crying out loud. If it were my child, I would have marched him right out of there (minus the balloon animal) after he had been given a clear chance to knock it off or else. In the petting zoo today parents stood by and watched their kids throw hard brushes at the bunny rabbits. How is that acceptable? Why can't the parents step in and tell their kids to stop it? It's not the responsibility of the petting zoo volunteers to stop a child who is standing right next to his parent from hurting the animals. Yet, the parents look on like- what can we do?
I don't know why this is happening. Maybe parents underestimate the level of behavior their children are capable of. Maybe parents are too lazy to put in the time and energy it takes to require good behavior and follow up with consequences. Maybe it's a result of the permissive views of our society, and that strong message of "just do what you want no matter what as long as it makes you happy" transfers over to our kids.
It's so frustrating to see parents giving in to every little whim of their children. I just want to tell some people to get a backbone. Because it's going to be so much better for them and their children if they set and enforce boundaries.