I Can't Stand Brats – and the Parents Who (Don't) Raise Them

Why won't moms and dads teach their kids how to behave?
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Postcards from Mommywood: I Can’t Stand Brats — and the Parents Who (Don’t) Raise Them

Why won’t moms and dads teach their kids how to behave?

-Diane Clehane

child having a fit

I love my four-and- a-half-year-old daughter more than life itself.

Other people’s kids? Not so much.

There are plenty of exceptions to the rule, but these days other people’s children can really get on my nerves.

I’ve always been one of those people who shot dirty looks at anyone with unruly kids in restaurants. I’ve asked more than a few flight attendants to move my seat when a fussy toddler was in the vicinity. And, I’ve always believed taking children to the movies after dark should be punishable by a fine.

I’ve discovered that having my own little girl has done little to increase my patience for badly behaved brats and their clueless parents. In fact, I’ve now got much less tolerance for temper tantrums and careless parenting of any kind.

Maybe that’s because there’s so much of it.

I know I’m fortunate that I can count on one hand the number of melt-downs my daughter, Madeline, has had. I’m sure luck has something to do with it. I’d also like to think that it’s because my daughter knows just what will and won’t fly – because I actually take the time to teach her right from wrong.

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We have a no-whining policy in our house. Please and thank you go a lot further than I want and gimme that. My daughter knows that restaurants are not theme parks, and that a visit to a store does not guarantee her leaving with a shiny new toy. These are not rules as much as they are just the way things are. I consider myself consistent rather than strict, and everyone, at least on most occasions, seems pretty happy with the arrangement.

Truth be told, I guess my issue isn’t with the preponderance of obnoxious kids that have in recent months disrupted virtually every event I’ve taken my daughter to, as much as it is with their lazy, thoughtless parents. Why is it that so many parents are adopting an ‘It’s not my job’ attitude any time their child misbehaves in public?

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16 thoughts on “I Can't Stand Brats – and the Parents Who (Don't) Raise Them

  1. I thought it was only me and my standards must be too high. I can’t stand when children are disrespectful to their parents and people think it’s funny and/or cute. And it’s even worse when confronting the parents…

  2. I see alot of parents just ignore their kids when they start to act out. They are teaching them to ignore each other vs. take the time to set boundaries and let kids learn how to live there. I agree– consistency is the biggest factor.

  3. I agree with all of you. There are parents out there who think it’s funny and cute to misbehave. When they’re in front of me during an elementary grade parent-teacher conference saying bratty behavior is “cute,” it is unacceptable. I ask, “Would you yourself do the same in front of 20-30 other people?” Consistency with expected behavior and consequences helps.

  4. While I do agree there are brats, I do have a comment for this author. Back when I was the parent of one child I thought I too was the best parent in the world and my child was the best behaved. I did my share of judging other parents and the behavior of their children. My first child didn't even think about a fit. After a few more children and no rule changes, I realized that it was not me(the parent) who was good…it was my first child. I have a few other children who are as well behaved or better than the first, but I have 2 kids that are bent on being "extremists." (I have 7 in all)These 2 fight and struggle to the bitter end over everything. They were born with these fitfilled personalities and it will take all 18 years or so that I have them to hopefully train them with better behavior. Some days they do, other days not so much. I have learned much from those days when I only had one child and when I hear a child throwing a fit in the store, instead of being aghast at the horrible parent and child I smile and thank the shopping gods that it wasn't me today with the headache and sometimes I tell the mother in question, "I guess you drew the short straw today and got the kid who would misbehave in public today!"

  5. I have an hilarious story to tell. I have a friend who has twin boys. When they were little, they were ‘monsters’ (her words) in the grocery store. So one day when they were fighting over which cereal to choose, my friend spontaneously went into what she later called her ‘robot dance’. She started making stiff robot moves (as largely as possible – and she is a large woman) combined with ‘non-verbal noises and singing’. The twins, horrified, responded with “Mom, what are you doing?” “Mom, what’s wrong with you?” and Mom, stop it, you’re embarrassing us!” At this point, she stopped, pointed at them and said “Well, you’re embarrassing me! Now pick ONE cereal or I’ll start again.” Needless to say, after a quick (and nearly whispered) consultation, they came to a compromise and picked a cereal. After that day, when the kids started to act up, get loud, or whatever, all she had to do was jerk a shoulder or other part of her body and make a small noise in her throat, and they would stop!!!! Not that this would work for all Mom’s (I wouldn’t have had the guts to do it myself) but it worked for her and her kids grew up great!

  6. Ever watch Supernanny? What on earth has happened to parents, Fathers crying because they have to discipline their kids, mothers giving up and throwing in the towel, what?? I raised three children (twins included) they knew what was exceptable behavior and what was not, why? because I was on it every time they didn’t do what they should, I was strong and hung in there, today I have three happy, successful wonderful children and guess what? They are being the same kind of parent, so I have three wonderful well behaved grandchildren. When you aren’t consistent and aren’t strong you can expect to have teenagers who will run over you and make your life a living HELL! My father would never have cried if my brothers and I didn’t obey him, we would have been in big trouble, my mother meant business when she said to move, she meant it and we knew she meant it! This is why it is harder and harder for adults to except the NO word, it has become a ME society and to me how these children are raised and not taught respect and giving back instead they are taught that everything is about them and parents think the more presents and things they buy for the kids the better, parents had better start acting like parents and stop trying to be the best friend of their children, they have enough friends they need parents!

  7. This is an emotionally charged double standard issue. I agree with hmskmomof7. I have four boys under the age of 6, which I can tell you is a whole lot different than having one little girl. The ante is upped, and the basic personalities are different. Yes, ONE little girl can probably sit through almost anything (my friend once told me that her daughter sat and colored through her three hour lunch with her friend). My four boys have a lot of energy and play off one another. However, no, I would not take them to a ballet or any other place they have no business being, and yes, we discipline them when they misbehave in public and have at times apologized to people around us. And I too am mortified when, for example, some kid is splashing me at the pool while his mother sits oblivious, chatting with another mom. Flagrant irresponsibilty for one’s child is easy to spot, but don’t judge people who have more than one child when you only have one personality, one little being to deal with…because if I had to judge, I’d say that sounds like a pretty easy task.

  8. Thank you for writing this article!! I absolutely can not stand parents who let their kids misbehave in public, and don’t even attempt to do anything about it. It is just plain rude and irresponsible. My husband and I were at a MIDNIGHT showing of a movie last week, (with friends who have young kids, but got a sitter), when a couple sat behind us with 3 kids, the oldest couldn’t have been more than 8. This was an adult movie, where youg kids shouldn’t have been in the first place. No surprise, the kids proceded to talk, cry, climb on the back of my husbands seat(!) and run around the theatre the whole time. Not once did the parents say anything, even after we had to ask the kids to get off of our seatbacks. Hello, why should I have to parent your out of control kids?!?! I completely understand that some children have more difficult personalities than others. However, blaming a childs difficult personality for laziness and a complete lack of parenting is ridiculous.

  9. Parents need to spend more time teaching their kids to respect others and behave. Great article and the mothers or fathers that this pertains to will probably make rude comments, but that is them.

    My children and grandchildren know what to expect when we are in public and in the home as well. Respect, please and thank you do go along way.

  10. You have taken the words right out of my mouth. My husband and I often wonder are we the only ones paying attention to our children. The worst thing is it’s not just the little children, my 8 yr old is having a time too. The girls in her class are rude as they can be, the mean things they say to each other already make my heart ache.

  11. It's no wonder why I don't pity blameworthy parents if they are held responsible for their kids' annoying behavior and I don't pity these parents if they don't like it that some people won't do certain things for their bratty children.

  12. I have three granddaughters who were delightful and fun when they were little. They are much older now and can't take care of themselves , clean their rooms and refuse to help their mother until they feel like it. She doesn't discipline them very well and at times she will ask them to do something and then they may wait several hours to do it. I see my daughter getting grey hair and the house is always in a turmoil. I lost my husband this year and my daughter has asked me to spend the holidays with her, The kids are being bratty and they ignore me and I try to help around the house but always get told no. We had a argument that was supposed to be a fun day but it turned out that my daughter had told me that we would leave at a certain time only to be told that she had to leave earlier and to get ready in minutes and I mentioned she said to be ready at a certain time and her daughter began to tell me that she didn't say that and we got ito a shouting match and they left. Without me. I felt so bad and cried all afternoon! I have always been generous with the kids since they were born and I guess now they expect it. I feel like I am being used and I guess I am, but I don't like the way they have become. There is a lot of frustration here as all the doors have been slammed so much they don't close right! Dad is lazy and critical of others but he tries to make himself seem nice. He has had his issues too growing up so he is dealing with his demons, there is love here and honesty about things, so I am not sure how to deal with this.I feel left out of their lives and maybe I have stayed too long but was invited to stay as long as I wanted to. This family has a lot of issues and I see my daughter as not the one I raised. She is not a good housekeeper but I don't say anything as its her house. We have given them lots of furniture, some my husband made and they never get dusted or cleaned and knobs are off and,it hurts me to see how she doesn't care about it. My youngest grandkid is lazy and watches tv all day and they are all fat! I don't know what to do if I can do anything.

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