June 2022


American Parents

During my two trips to the United States in the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to witness American parents with kids in public spaces.

I have some advice for them.

If your kid is under 10, it is unreasonable to expect them to sit through a movie. Don’t bring them to the movies.

If your kid is under 10, it is unreasonable to expect them to behave correctly in quiet and fancy restaurants. Don’t bring them to fancy and quiet restaurants.

If your kid is under 10, it is unreasonable to expect them to behave correctly in bookstores when you leave them unsupervised in the adult section of the store. Either supervise them or don’t bring them with you to the book shop.

In summary, as a non-parent, I do not want to pay for movies that I cannot hear over the cries of your kids, I do not want to have your kids scream in my ears as I try to enjoy my meal, and I don’t want your kid pestering me with questions about a book that they cannot read nor understand.

Amazingly, I cannot recall ever having had these kinds of problems in Germany.


6 comments to American Parents

  • That’s true for many children, but I can tell you there is a six-year-old in Florida who can sit through movies and behave in fancy restaurants.

    She is never unsupervised in public place.

    It’s all what you expect from, and teach, your children.

  • I went to bookstores, libraries, and movie theatres when I was under 10 years old, and I was always quiet. In fact, I was probably quieter than some of my adult peers are now in those places. 😉

  • I’ll agree with you–it is an issue of parents. Too many parents in America think their kids are perfect and are unwilling to try and teach their kids manners. They’re also unwilling to remove kids promptly from places when the kids start to misbehave. My mom was always willing to drag me out of places at the first hint of trouble.

  • i’d say, as i experienced when i worked as an Au pair in the US and also got together with a lot of people my age, it is an issue of how american parents raise their children. the paradigmatic anti-authoritarian way of raising children is lacking in many directions, leaving the kids as quite oppositional to the wished outcome. the balance between – let them do what ever they want, but keep them occupied and watched every second – well there is no possibility of any balance, but maybe i see that problem too harsh as i was raised under socialistic communistic circumstances. but something goes wrong, don’t you think – to generalize, which is not a good thing to do, i know, but why do so many american teenager freak out when they are first set free from the parents shelter, send to college…

  • I blame our society which is actively calling for the elimination of spanking. Maybe it is negative reinforcement, but I know when I saw the wooden spoon coming at me that I was in trouble and my attitude usually changed quickly.

    Quite frankly, I’m waiting for our society to start putting kids in plastic bubbles at birth. What with all the knee pads, bike helments, and other things I see today I’m quite amazed I’m alive now when I place current standards on what I did as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s.

  • Kids need to be kids, they need to get a few minor bumps and scrapes — we do seem to be an overly protective society (thanks to the lawyers who sue for hot coffee).

    Parents also need to understand that no matter how wonderful their kids are, they are not perfect. Their kid’s shit does occasionally stink and when it does, it shouldn’t be left in public. It should be dealt with, in private.