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Parenting as Mushy as the Mashed Potatoes

Comment

Dear Annie: My grandfather passed away last month, and the wake was catered by a close friend of the family who owns a restaurant. He closed off a section of his dining hall for our family.

The meal included 15 children under the age of 10, and they were absolute monsters. My nephew threw his shoe across the room and then tripped a waitress. These kids crawled under the tables, poking us with forks and smearing food into the carpet. My cousin's 8-year-old daughter put open condiment packets in my purse and a baked potato in my mother's coat pocket and then mashed it into the fabric.

People from the other area of the restaurant complained after my nephew threw food at them. My husband and I left, leaving a large tip for the servers. Other relatives did the same. The dining room was an utter disaster. Before we left town the next morning, my husband and I stopped by the restaurant and left additional money for the inconvenience of cleaning food out of the carpet. My grandmother asked the owner for a full bill of the damage and presented it to those children whose offspring made the mess. It started a huge family row, and of course, nobody is taking responsibility for their kids.

I've never seen such appalling behavior, and I doubt my grandfather would have appreciated such disrespect. My husband and I are tempted to send the restaurant owner an anonymous money order because we doubt he will otherwise be compensated.

My parents are supposed to have their 50th anniversary party at this restaurant next month, and the guest list is almost identical. They're too embarrassed to go, but don't want to lose their deposit. Should I send the money order? Whatever happened to manners? — Shocked Granddaughter

Dear Shocked: They apparently got stuck with the mashed potatoes. What terrible behavior from the parents who allowed their children to run amok.

And they do their children a disservice by making them unwelcome everywhere.

We think your parents should go ahead with their plans to celebrate at that restaurant but issue invitations only to the adults. Children who are too immature to behave in public and whose parents refuse to control them should not be included in these events. We suspect your parents paid the cleaning bill, so instead of "donating" money to the restaurant, you might consider doing something special on your folks' behalf.

Dear Annie: Every time I look in the papers, I see articles about wars, death, etc., but never about the homeless, especially homeless children and runaways. Why is that? These children are our future. There seems to be money for everything from new jails to fixing swimming pools, but not a word about money for the homeless. Why? — Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: In the news business, death "sells." Runaways, not so much. But there are articles on the homeless if you look, and shelters are funded through federal, state and city government allocations, as well as by private philanthropy.

You sound like a kind person. Please look for a shelter in your area and volunteer your time. It would be much appreciated.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Cal in Maine," who complained that his grandchildren rarely communicate with him. I have reread and shared that letter many times.

I totally agree with him, as my older grandchildren seem to care little about keeping in touch. But I also now remember how little I cared about keeping in touch with my own grandparents 40 years ago. I guess what goes around comes around. — Lois in Omaha

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

89 Comments | Post Comment
LW1--While I'm the first to admit that children under the age of 10 tend to act like absolute monsters, that's no excuse for the parents whose job it is to discipline and set boundaries. While parents with common sense would explain to a child beforehand that a funeral is a solemn event at which manners and best behavior are expected, it's sad to say that in today's world of molly coddling and distracted parents (e.g., those whose careers are more important than the job of raising their children) we're faced with consecutive generations of spoiled rotten little brats who have no manners or social skill who grow up to become insufferable entitled, difficult adults. While it's honorable of you and your husband to offer money and other compensation to the restaurateur, it's not your job nor responsibility. Moreover, trying to drill any sense into the ignorant parents will be like shouting into a black hole of stupidity. If you wish to avoid similar displays of children running amok and destroying whatever isn't nailed down to the complete aloofness of their parents, my advice is to avoid this crowd like the plague.

LW2--"Every time I look in the papers, I see articles about wars, death, etc., but never about the homeless, especially homeless children and runaways. Why is that? These children are our future." No, the children described by LW1 are our future. If you think about it, that is much sadder and more terrifying than the plight of homeless children. Sorry.

LW3--Again, I look to the children of LW1. The LW from the other day, whose wife took it upon herself to raise her grandchildren five days a week for nine months of the year to the dismay of her husband and obvious detriment to her marriage should have a look at your letter as a stark reality check of what her own future holds. If that LW's wife thinks for a minute that any of those grandchildren will call, write, visit or be there for her by her bedside in her twilight years, she needs to think again.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris
Tue May 7, 2013 9:24 PM
LW1
Your family's behavior at this restaurant sounds truly appalling! If I were your parents I would cancel the family
celebration for the 50th anniversary, forfeit my deposit and consider it money well spent to avoid having to share another meal with my progeny. They would probably be a lot happier taking a cruise or going out to celebrate with friends.

LW2
Good point. You might consider writing and posting articles or otherwise publicizing issues you feel deserve more attention than they are receiving from mainstream media. No need to rely on a dying breed of corporate controlled "news" sources and syndicated content providers (eh Annies) when there are so many opportunities now for anyone to get the word out.

LW3
I often wonder how many of you old coots that write to advice columns about being neglected by the younger generation actually make a real effort to connect with your grandchildren or if you just expect them to cater to you in your dotage. Maybe you want them to listen to the same three uninteresting stories you've repeated ad nauseam or perhaps you want to complain about your many ailments. I have to say that my grandparents were some of my best friends. They took a real interest in me and took the time to listen to and appreciate my perspective as a young'un and someone who could be a bridge to current culture and a changing world. I appreciated their sense of adventure and fun and the willingness to take risks that open-minded people seem to acquire when they no longer have to worry about what the world thinks of them. The challenges they faced over a lifetime and the changes they saw in virtually every facet of society over the years were fascinating to hear about first hand.
Comment: #2
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Tue May 7, 2013 9:48 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the final letter on 19 September 2012, which itself referred to the first letter on 26 July 2012.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Tue May 7, 2013 10:38 PM
I've seen articles about the homeless. There's a recent one from City Limits online magazine. It's called "On the Street, Making Plans: Q & A With a Homeless Girl." The girl tells you why she lives on the street, and it's definitely an interesting piece to read.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Enis
Tue May 7, 2013 11:17 PM
I have a 5 yr old and if she behaved that way ANY time I'd send her too her room and give her a huge lecture on proper behavior.
Make the next party adults only. The brat pack will be at home and their "parents" will boycott.

I just saw a story about ordering "pending" food and drinks at coffee shops. You pay and a homeless person can come and get what you paid for at no cost.

I remember years ago when my husband's grandma had surgery we went to visit. We sat and chatted with them for two hours. They had plenty of amusing stories about their travels and friends, but every single one ended with "They're dead now." I don't regret the visit. Now that out of the six grandparents alive when we married 10 years ago only one is still alive. I regret not visiting more. We are going to see grandma this week.
Comment: #5
Posted by: MT
Wed May 8, 2013 1:25 AM
To LW1: I began taking my kids to restaurants at about a year old. If they could not behave they were taken out to the lobby and I quietly explained why what they were doing was unacceptable. And yup on a bad day I might have to do this 2 or 3 times. Since they were about 4 or 5 I have been able to take them to restaurants and often get compliments on how well behaved they were. It sounds like these parents need to step up and teach some basic manners. Acting like those children do will not help them at all as they get older.
To LW3: A thought, I keep in communication with family members of all different ages by communicating the way they do, via e-mail and social media sites They seem more comfortable communicating this way and I feel it is good for my mind to learn something new on the computer once in a while.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Carla Charter
Wed May 8, 2013 2:51 AM
Sorry, but that behavior is not normal. When "normal" kids get bratty in a restaurant, they may run around, laugh, scream, maybe crawl under the tables, etc. Annoying and bratty, yes, but motivated by wanting to have fun and getting too caught up in the moment. What you're describing--poking grown-ups with forks, throwing shoes, throwing food at people they don't even know, putting food in purses and pockets and making an intentional mess for someone else to clean up--that behavior is vindictive, bullying and sadistic. It sounds like two or three children were the ringleaders and hopefully the others were just following, but either way, you have some very disturbed children in your family. Not just undisciplined--DISTURBED. The fact their parents did nothing about it is a telling sign that it's not just the kids who are dysfunctional. Instead of giving more money to the restaurant or your parents, send each of your relatives a gift certificate for a shrink or maybe take the whole family for group therapy instead of dinner.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Jane
Wed May 8, 2013 3:14 AM
LW1 - Like Carla Charter, I taught my kids from a very young age how to behave in public, and they knew better than to even THINK of acting the way the children did at the funeral the LW described. I also always got compliments on how well behaved they were. The parents of those children are not doing them any favors by allowing them to act out in public, since it's doubtful they'll be welcome at any adult functions in the future and they will grow up to be spoiled, selfish, and entitled adults.
.
In any event, if I were the LW's parents I would go ahead with the celebration but make sure that the invitations state "adults only". Any of the parents whose children were present and behaved badly at the funeral should be excluded if they will insist on bringing the kids with them.
.
As far as the money order is concerned, it might be a good idea for the LW and her husband to find out who actually was stuck with paying for the damage and possibly helping them out if they feel they should.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Kitty
Wed May 8, 2013 3:24 AM
LW1 - I have to agree with Jane on this one. With kids that little, you have to expect that they'll be constantly moving, getting out of their seat, crawling under the table and even running around a bit. I'm not saying the parents shouldn't stop them...they should...but it's one of those "kids being kids" thing. But throwing shoes and food? Purposly putting open packets in your purse? Smashing a backed potato into a coat pocket? That is NOT normal kid behavior! They're out for destruction!

If I was in your parents' shoes, I would do one of two things. I would make the invitations for adults only or I would canel the party, forego my deposit and spend my anniversary another way. But...parents like those sound like they would ignore the "adults only" part of the invite and bring the kids anyway. I went to a wedding like that once. The bride put "adults only reception" on her invitations and everyone brought their kids anyway. Since the parents in your letter weren't embarrassed about their kids' destruction and instead got angry, I would bet that they would ignore the "no children" part of the invite. So I would cancel the party and do something fun. Who needs the stress and headaches?

LW2 - I work in the media. Wars, death, sex, etc sells. Homelessless does not. It's sad, but the media puts out what is going to sell. Volunteer for a homeless shelter or something in your community that helps homeless kids and teens.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Michelle
Wed May 8, 2013 3:49 AM
LW1: The behavior of these kids sounds awful, but such behavior doesn't develop in a vacuum. Somewhere along the line your family decided this kind of behavior was better to put up with then try to control. The relatives who should have been controlling those children were the parents of those children, and for some reason they didn't, nor do they seem to feel responsible if it's true that "nobody is taking responsibility for their kids". Definitely make it clear that children are not invited to the anniversary party, stand your ground firmly, and if that means some family members don't want to go, so be it.

LW2: There are all sorts of important pieces of information that are left out of newspapers and out of TV news, because "news" organizations are more interested in ratings than in news. You seem to be quite compassionate, and I'm sure you can find a way to keep informed and to help out in your community.

LW3: The interesting thing about this discussion is that it started with a letter from someone complaining their grandparents were distant and didn't seem to want much of a relationship. Clearly, it's more than just a generational issue, it's simply a matter of some people making the effort to maintain relationships, and other who aren't -- regardless of age.

@JustBecause, today I remembered to bring the peanut butter pie!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 3:55 AM
L1- I'm surprised nobody stopped the children when the parents didn't. If I saw my niece or nephew doing something destructive, I would have said something. These are family members, right? If the parents get mad, so what. It's better than destroyed property.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Renee J
Wed May 8, 2013 5:57 AM
I had the misfortune to lose both grandmothers early; in the years where contact was pretty much managed my parents, but as a teen I have a few precious letters from my grandfather, who later moved to our small town and taught me to drive a manual and wire outlets. Because of him I was the only girl in a carpentry class of 20 boys. My other grandfather didn't even really talk to my mother (his only child) so we knew him only vaguely. He and my mom made up in the couple years before his death, but if I had sat down to write him a letter I wouldn't have known where to start, and I think neither would he. So, I guess my question to the original letter writer would be, how well do you know these grandchildren? Do you know what they're interested in? If you ask about their lives, are you someone they'd want to tell, or do you just come off as a nosy stranger? Would you be willing to get a facebook account and follow them online? Life does get busy, and blood isn't enough reason.
Comment: #12
Posted by: catakit
Wed May 8, 2013 5:58 AM
LW1 -
There are several things here.

1. Frankly, I have never seen such appalling behaviour myself, even from the worst spoiled brats I have ever seen. I would hazard to say that it goes beyond misbehaving, crossing into the "acting out" category. Dropping a baked potato into granny's pocket and mashing it into the fabric? Throwing shoes across a room and then purposely tripping a waitress? Those are not pranks, they're acts of aggression. These kids are not just unruly, they're ANGRY. Children are not generally born angry, they become so because something is being done to them.

Even in the absence of other clues, I would be very tempted to call CPS. Children THAT unruly certainly are not kust not being taught basic manners, they're lacking something essential.

2. Your mother is the one who asked for a full assessment of the damage. Don't send a check to the restaurant - send it to her.

3. Whoever is in charge of the guest list for the 50th anniversary should it make it crystal clear that children are not invited and will NOT be allowed in should these clods have the gall to bring them anyway (they probably will). If the entitled parents get all huffy and threaten to boycott the event, tell them sorry, you'll be missed. Well, perhaps not so much.

And frankly, I would also be sorely tempted to exclude any "adult" whose wild animal brat caused damage that they refuse to pay for.

At any rate, your mother should decide now if she wants the celebration at this restaurant to go on or if she prefers to cancel. Considering she asked for a bill of the damage and plans to compensate the owner, the deposit could be part of that, so it won't be a complete loss.

P.S.: What the HELL is wrong with people like that and just how entitled can they be, that they would expect anyone at all to put up with this? I'd be curious to know if they tolerate this kind of behaviour in their own home.

P.P.S.: How are the parents of these brats otherwise? I am beginning to wonder if these people are not using their kids as a weapon in proxy. You know, like people who "train" their dog to be aggressive, vicious and dangerous, because they're mad at the world and a dog is legal, while a gun is not?

Comment: #13
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 6:12 AM
OFF TOPIC ALERT! I have a question for the parents of this forum, particularly Carla Charter and Kitty. What did you do/how did you treat your children that led them to act respectfully in public? Did you talk with them beforehand? If they did misbehave, what did you do? How did you react? (Kudos to you both for raising good kids!)

I'm just asking for my own knowledge. I'm really struggling with the issue of whether or not I want kids. Or more specifically the question of "Would I be a good mom?" I'm afraid I'm going to be one of those parents whose kid screams the entire time in the grocery store, or who knocks over a display in the post office (based on a BTLer's antidote from earlier this week.) I'm afraid my reaction would be to scream (which doesn't help) or continually say the kid's name, saying "Get over here now!" (which doesn't help.) I tried asking my mom what she did for us kids, but she always responds "You were just good kids who never threw tantrums" which is true, we didn't, but I want to know what she did to prevent that. I don't think all three of us instinctively knew how to act in public. Anyway, it's off topic, but I would appreciate any feedback... I really don't want my siblings writing in some day, talking about how awful my children are.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Casey
Wed May 8, 2013 6:13 AM
LW1: I agree that the kids' behavior was very unacceptable, but other than the one kid whose age was cited (8 -- and for a girl that age to do that ... totally immature and unacceptable), I would like to know one thing: How much under 10 were these children?

I think the mistake in the first place was bringing the kids to a funeral luncheon. Sure, you can try to impress on them respect for decorum, but I'd almost guarantee you that a good share of these kids are way too young to understand what it means to sit down and sit still and behave at a formal dining hall. Indeed, they'd rather be up and running around and playing, just like they were doing here. Especially when I'd bet that most of the parents were trying to have conversations with their guests and other family members; no wonder they weren't taking control of their children.

It's easier to say this in hindsight, but the best thing to do in the first place would have been for one of the adults (a younger adult or two, maybe) to take the kids to a Chuck E. Cheese's pizza restaurant or, short of that, a YMCA (where running around and all that might be acceptable). Or even if those things weren't available, leave them at home with a babysitter – sorry, no alternative, especially if they're too young to understand why they need to behave.

One thing is for sure: DO NOT invite the kids who were guilty of the misbehavior to the anniversary party. Perhaps those who did behave, if any, might be allowed to come (as I'm sure not all 15 of the kids were bad), but NO WAY should the ones who did things like throw shoes or put a baked potato in her grandmother's(?) coat and smear it into the fabric be allowed to come.

Paying for the cleanup was a good gesture, but unless you can get a bill or other statement proving that the responsible family members paid for the bill, I'd hold off.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 6:14 AM
This is second or third letter we see in advice columns recently, about brats acting like Tasmanian Devils in restaurants. Tell me quite frankly, American neighbours, is THIS the kind of behaviour you're confronted with every time you walk into a restaurant?

Comment: #16
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 6:16 AM
Re: Chris (#1)

"While parents with common sense would explain to a child beforehand that a funeral is a solemn event at which manners and best behavior are expected ... "

This may or may not have happened. Meaning, you can explain this to your children that his best behavior is expected, but you try getting a 5- or 6-year-old to sit still for two hours (when it's a challenge to get him to do so for 15 minutes(!)). Get him around children his own age, whom he might not get to see except at Thanksgiving and Christmas ... .

That said, I highly doubt this is the norm. This was just a bad, bad situation all the way around that should have been planned a lot better than it was. (Meaning, younger kids stay home in the first place, where they can watch "SpongeBob" and run in and out of the house and play with toys and do all the stuff they wanted to do at the funeral luncheon but can't.)

I think the moral there is, know your kids. If they're too young to sit still for that long, it's a good idea to NOT BRING THEM in the first place.


I think next time, the kids stay home or go to Chuck E. Cheese's. Your treat!

Lise (#13)

"1. Frankly, I have never seen such appalling behaviour myself, even from the worst spoiled brats I have ever seen. I would hazard to say that it goes beyond misbehaving, crossing into the "acting out" category. Dropping a baked potato into granny's pocket and mashing it into the fabric? Throwing shoes across a room and then purposely tripping a waitress? Those are not pranks, they're acts of aggression. These kids are not just unruly, they're ANGRY. Children are not generally born angry, they become so because something is being done to them.

"Even in the absence of other clues, I would be very tempted to call CPS. Children THAT unruly certainly are not (j)ust not being taught basic manners, they're lacking something essential."

In no way do I want to stick up for these kids – however, the acting out bit, which is definitely a possibility ... if anything, it may be because they do not understand why they must behave in public at a function like this. They're too young. (I wonder how old the kid was that tripped the waitress ... 4?)

MAKE THEM STAY HOME!!!!!!!!! The 8-year-old needs counseling, to boot.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 6:26 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette (#16)

"This is second or third letter we see in advice columns recently, about brats acting like Tasmanian Devils in restaurants. Tell me quite frankly, American neighbours, is THIS the kind of behaviour you're confronted with every time you walk into a restaurant?"

Actually, I can't remember the last time I saw this type of behavior. Then again, while I do see SOME running around, it's not nearly to this degree.

I think most parents know that if their children are going to be this badly behaved at a family restaurant – or any other restaurant where there isn't a game area with loud noises and bright lights abounding and mediocre pizza/watered down soft drinks as the main course (Chuck E. Cheese's qualifies, IMO) – THEY STAY HOME!

The question I have is, at what age under 10 (or even under 8, given the behavior of the girl who mashed a potato into her grandmother's dress) should a kid be expected to behave at a funeral luncheon?

FWIW – I've been to a few funeral luncheons where kids were far better behaved than what was described. Then again, there weren't as many kids under 10 (in fact, most that I've been to were adults-only, except for older grandchildren), and there was an area outside the venue where they could at least go out and release their pent-up energy for those who did come.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 6:35 AM
LW2: Have you spoken to the editor (in chief, community or otherwise) of your local newspaper about the idea? Does your community have a homeless shelter or organization that is active in the community?

Is homelessness a problem in your community?

Some of those questions, when answered, may explain why you don't read too much about homelessness. I'd think in the very least if a newspaper were to do stories on homelessness, they'd want to localize it and make it relevant to readers like you.

I know the daily newspaper where I came from has a homeless shelter and organization that it has written extensively about in the past. (It was named for a homeless man who died in a house fire; he had taken shelter on a cold December night in an abandoned house, set a small fire to keep warm ... and the fire spread, trapping him inside.) Several years ago, a veteran reporter wrote a (IMO) Pulitzer prize-level story about the life of a homeless woman, who went from promising high school student to dead in a homeless camp and how things went horribly wrong for that once beautiful young woman. (Yes, alcohol was involved in her life).

That's just one angle. There's many different ways that a "homeless story" can be reported, but I'd think the news staff wants to make it relevant to the readers and not just do some generic-type story. And if it's a smaller, rural area – even though homelessness is certainly not unheard of here – if it's not a major problem, then there may not be an urgency to do something. (Although a story on homelessness in rural areas might actually make for interesting reading, since it seems to be something thought to be only an "urban" problem.)

If you have any ideas, I'd recommend sharing them with the editor. Good luck – you've got some good ideas there!
Comment: #19
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 6:46 AM
Something sounds very wrong with these children. The running around and climbing under tables is in the realm of normal childish behavior, but the malicious pranks sound like anger. I expect part of the issue was the fact that there were 15 children being ignored. I doubt a pack of 5 would have gotten that out of hand. Growing up, whenever there were functions with lots of kids, 2 or 3 of the older kids were designated to be "in charge," and we would make up games or play cards or whatever to entertain ourselves. Coloring books, something?

Sounds like there were a lot of unprepared parents. When I bring my 2 kids somewhere, we explain the rules before hand, bring toys/games/coloring books/whatever is appropriate. We are teaching them to engage in the conversation respectfully. When they start getting bored or restless, out come the activities. Or we tell them to take a walk (or take one with them, depending on whether it is a private hall or a public restaurant). Usually that calms them enough to sit back down at the table for a while longer. And then we leave when it gets to be too much. And we don't keep our kids out past bedtime very often. It's simply unfair to expect a child to be on their best behavior when they are tired and cranky. If we do have to take them out past bed time, we bring a stroller. And for my older son, we put together a couple chairs and let him lay on our laps.

Children have their limits. When you reach their breaking point, it is senseless to stay and inflict ensuing tantrums on other people. Part of your job as a parent is to help stretch their limits, but you can't expect a 2 year old to have the same attention span as an 8 year old, for example. In this scenario, I don't blame the kids, I blame the adults.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Bean123
Wed May 8, 2013 6:51 AM
Re: Casey
You teach your kids how to behave by modeling good behavior, positively reinforcing good behavior, and not giving reinforcement (attention) to bad behavior. There are lots of good parenting books out there--I like How to listen so kids will talk and how to talk so kids will listen. But I think being calm and collected and showing your kids how to deal with life's obstacles (oops, I spilled, let's clean it up, instead of d**m it I spilled!) goes a long way. Kids do what you do. So be the person you want them to grow to be, and you will do fine. The other part of parenting is understanding where a child is developmentally and having age appropriate expectations. I personally don't think a wake is an appropriate place for a young child.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Bean123
Wed May 8, 2013 6:58 AM
@Lise #16 - There are plenty of brats in most restaurants but not to this extreme. I blame the parents more than the kids because often they are usually chatting with other adults oblivious to how their rug rats are behaving. I've seen some pretty appalling behavior but LW1's family took it to the extreme. I think it was a very good move with the family going back to give more of a tip.

I do think parents made their kids behave in a restaurant or store much more while I was being raised but then again, parents could give a light swat on the behind without fear of being arrested or accused of child abuse.
Comment: #22
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 7:05 AM
I have another question for my Canadian neighbors and it's an honest question. I'm trying to whack the hornet's nest.

Is it really common for some parts of Canadians to really dislike other parts? The reason I ask is because if you go back two days ago, PB is still posting as of early this morning and there is so much hate coming from him about Quebecians (not sure how to spell it but that's the term he used) and this has come up in the past… usually against Lise.

One of my coworkers is a dual citizenship citizen. He's Canadian and married an American. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I don't know where in Canada he is from and since he's a sales person and works from home and it's not like I can ask him.
Comment: #23
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 7:27 AM
Sorry, I called it the worng thing. This is part of what he actually said.

You're a typical entitled Quebecer. -- you feel that you shouldn't have to pay your own way through life. You always have an excuse. Everything is always someone's fault, from your work situation to your childhood to your marriage.

Comment: #24
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 7:32 AM
Re: Casey

I won't be much help for you, but my memories are that distraction worked best. Making sure my daughter always had something interesting in her hands. Once the boredom was addressed, everything fell into place.

My parenting experience was not typical though. My daughter has autism, so while she was a handful in some ways, she was an angel in other ways. I make no apologies for her screaming in stores with electronic anti-theft systems when she was little (2-3). She had sensory integration disorder, and her therapists advised forcing her into those stores as the only treatment is akin to setting and pinning a broken leg without anesthesia - you hope to cause so much pain that they become numb to it eventually. I figure the people around me would rather have her grow up to be a productive member of society with her taxes paying their social security rather than their taxes paying her permanent stay in a residential home because she was still low-functioning. It worked; she used to be low functioningh and now she can go anywhere, do anything, and dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer.

I raised a good kid though. I feel my crowning achievement to date was leaving her home alone for a weekend when she was 16. When I came back, the cats were alive, she was alive, the house hadn't burned down, and no parties had happened. How many 16 year olds can accomplish that?
Comment: #25
Posted by: Krystyne
Wed May 8, 2013 7:36 AM
Re: Bean123

"Something sounds very wrong with these children. The running around and climbing under tables is in the realm of normal childish behavior, but the malicious pranks sound like anger. I expect part of the issue was the fact that there were 15 children being ignored. I doubt a pack of 5 would have gotten that out of hand. Growing up, whenever there were functions with lots of kids, 2 or 3 of the older kids were designated to be "in charge," and we would make up games or play cards or whatever to entertain ourselves. Coloring books, something?"

Yes, yes, YES!!!

There was ZERO reason what apparently happened at that restaurant had to happen. Even with some quick planning, a few ready-made activities for this situation would have helped. It doesn't take that long to plan to set aside one or two tables in the corner of a room or buy a coloring book at the store, or even download a movie from Netflix on the computer.

Perhaps an activity room would have helped, too (a place where the kids can run amok without disrupting the funeral luncheon), with a couple of the teen-aged kids/young college students that came along supervising. Especially if there's no Chuck E. Cheese's-where-they-serve-mediocre-pizza restaurants nearby.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 7:49 AM
Re: @Lise Brouillette #13
"Even in the absence of other clues, I would be very tempted to call CPS. Children THAT unruly certainly are not just not being taught basic manners, they're lacking something essential."

The L1 scenario doesn't sound like more than a bad case of kids run amok to me. Calling CPS over something like this wouldn't quite rise to the level of that California woman who called 911 after receiving the wrong order at a Burger King drive thru, but I'm sure CPS would not care to involve itself in restaurant policing. Didn't you ever see the pranks and hijinks they pulled in Cheaper by the Dozen? Anyhow, kids do tend to run wild when bored and left virtually unsupervised as sounds like the care here. And no, these types of extreme incidents are not common in the U.S. in my experience.
Comment: #27
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Wed May 8, 2013 7:53 AM
@Bobaloo, responding about whether the kids should have been there at all, I think it's a good point. I guess a good question for this family to ponder is whether or not this behavior is typical, or if it was really just this one occasion. A funeral and funeral luncheon is difficult for children to process, and if the parents were also numb with grief and incapable of responding well to their own children's misbehavior, then you do have a recipe for disaster. (In which case, the aunts and uncles stepping in to gently but firmly get things back under control would have been acceptable).

So IF this was a situation in which normally-better-behaved-kids ran amok because they were stressed and antsy and too young to really deal with the situation AND their parents were shell-shocked with grief, AND this doesn't usually happen when these kids are out in public, then maybe we should give these families just the TINIEST bit of a break.

@JustBecause, you may be looking for rational explanations where none exist. Trolls live to troll the internet. And to do funny dances for us while we eat donuts.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 7:54 AM
@Mike #10- I posted Awesome on remembering my peanut butter pie but that post never took so thank you
Comment: #29
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 7:55 AM
Re: Casey
I think one of the most important things is to treat children with respect. No, they're not adults, but they ARE people, and they're neither slaves nor imbeciles (the WAY I have seen some parents treat their children...). I'm having trouble being articulate about this, because there will certainly be some people who will think this means accepting any behaviour. It most certainly does not.

But it entails taking for granted that the child is capable of understanding what you're telling him, which in turns entails explaining to the child why you do things and why you expect whatever out of him. Even children as young as two understand a lot better than most people credit them for.

As a case in point, I will repeat an example I have given before : when my daughter was under two, she developed a huge rash on her boum-boum because she was teething molars. The pediatrician explained teething molars made her produce some acidic bacterial whatever stuff, hence the rash. He gave me some cream to put on the rash and some syrup to put in her mouth.

I remember her standing in the crib watching me pour it into the spoon. I tasted it with the tip of my tongue, went blpblpblpblpblpblp and almost choked on it. Then I looked at her and said, kiddo, I'm not gonna lie to you, this tastes AWFUL. But (gentle one-finger pat on the diaper), this will help THERE. I then presented the spoon. She looked at it with distaste. She then sighed hugely, closed her eyes and opened her mouth with a look of resignation. Swallowed, cough-cough, shook herself like a dog. If I had pretended it was sweet candy, I would have won that battle but lost the war - she never would have trusted me again.

This is difficult to address in an orderly fashion without preparation, but I will say:

1. Don't lie to them. Tell it like it is. They can take it, much better than a lie. It also teaches them the value of honesty.

2. Explain why you do things, and why you wants thing done the way you want. They understand a lot better than you think. If they don't understand it all, aw well. Whatever they do understand is not a loss. Also teaches the value of respect.

3. Don't put them down. Don't call them stupid even when they did something stupid. Their frontal cortex is non-existent and they're inexperienced - but NOT stupid.

4. Don't humiliate them publicly. Save the punishement they deserve for the privacy of home.

5. Keep the punishment in proportion with the offense and try to separate cold fact from hot emotion. A broken knickknack deserves more or less punishment or reparation depending on whether it was broken on purpose or not, not depending on how much the thing meant to you.

6. If the child is being well raised, the "look" and a controlled, angry low voice will be a LOT more effective than screaming, which basically indicates a loss of control and weakness.

7. Keep the punishments consistent. There should be a scale of what deserves what, and not be an arbitrary thing on the spur of the moment and depending on how stinkingly mad you are - which may depend on what kind of a day you had. Make a written list if you need to.

8. Keep a well-established routine. The younger the child, the more they like to know what's coming. Routine is the emotional anchor of children, what they rely upon to feel that the world is safe and predictable.

9. Don't be afraid to admit you were wrong and apologise. Children who see you admit you were human will realise they're allowed to be human too, without the world screeching to a halt or anyone dying of shame.

10. Have them participate as much as possible, in whatever is age-appropriate. A four year-old child is not old enough to choose his own toys. But he IS old enough to point to the outfit he likes best out of a choice of three at the store. A child old enough to have an allowance is old enough to learn to budget, and to start participating in the household finances. It's amazing how most kids become less demanding when they know how much (or little) money is coming in and how much this or that costs.

11. Don't tolerate disrespect if they start sassing you because this is something they picked up from school or telly. Remind them that you do not treat them that way, that they wouldn't appreciate being treated that way, and that is why it is unacceptable.

12. Give them responsibilities. Even a very young child can be in charge of a chore. Give praise for work well done, and impress on them that the time saved by the participation of all is what makes it possible to find time to all go to the park and play.

13. DON'T just give them everything they want.

14. Do give them the opportunity to do something for themselves. They should have unpaid chores that are part of their contribution to the household, but they should be allowed to earn some extra money with extra chores if there is something they want to buy for themselves that you find is hardly a necessity.

15. Allow them their own uniqueness. They ARE people after all, and they are allowed to have different opinions, perspective, tastes, reactions, personalities, talents, shortcomings, metabolism, etc. Just because they are still dependent on you does not make them carbon copies!

16. Allow them to make mistakes. With bounds of reason, of course.

17. Generate discussions with them on varied subjects, from something seen on telly, in the paper or the Internet, real life. Respect their opinions.

18. Make sure there are some activities you do only with them, as a group and individually.

19. Teach them what you know: how to clean the house, how to cook, how to balance a checkbook, how to sew or knit, how to fix the pantry or the car, how to fish - makes them more and more self-sufficient and that is yet one more activity you can do together.

20. Listen to them carefully. Not only are they allowed their opinions, but when they try to tell you about a real problem, they may have difficulty verbalising it.

21. Anwser their questions honestly. If you don't know the answer, admit it, don't bullsh(i)t. Research it together. Don't elude questions you are uncomfortable with. That only teaches them shame, and to go to someone else.

22. Don't drag them into your fights. They don't care that your MIL "forgot" your birthday and it is not their battle.

23. Don't sweat the small stuff. Young children don't care one hoot or a holler if they're being bathed in the kitchen sink or if their dungarees were picked up at a garage sale for 50 cents.

24. As much as you take their opinion into account and respect them as separate human beings, they are not adults yet and YOU are in charge. Without becoming dictatorial about it, they have to be aware that YOU have the last word on any decision. Do explain why you took an unpopular decision, but don't back down if they refuse to understand. A family is not a democracy and, as cordial, benevolent and friendLY as you may be, a parent is not a buddy.

25. Distribute praise generously, but don't gloss over their shortcomings. They can be made aware of them without being made to feel like monsters of humanity. They do need to know what needs to be corrected and how to go about it, and especially they need to be taught that you can disapprove of something they do without stopping to love them.

I think that's it for now. I'll add more to the list if I think of anything else! ;-D

Comment: #30
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 8:00 AM
Scenarios such as that described by LW1 raise my blood pressure - and not so much at the kids, of course, but at the granite headed "parents" who are either too lazy or too stupid to do anything about it. And for Lise, no, I rarely see obnoxious behavior (beyond the noise of tiny children) in restaurants from kids and nothing like what was described here. One commenter says: "Children are not generally born angry, they become so because something is being done to them. " And that's only half true. Children also become angry because of what is NOT done to them - the correction that assures them on a daily basis that someone cares about how they behave and how they grow up.

Neither of my daughters what have dreamed of acting like this - at home or in public - and they were both active, independent people from a very young age. My oldest could count on having Mother's hand (mine!) clasped firmly on her elbow to the accompaniment of narrowed eyes and a deadly calm voice saying "How DARE you behave like that." (And it wasn't a question) At home, the rare tantrum was met with a swift swat on the butt and delivery to the "tantrum room" - their own bedroom - where they were free to holler all they wanted without bothering anyone else. They were told when they were fit for civilized company, they could come down. Their choice.

Casey, planning ahead of time before you have children doesn't hurt, but it also doesn't guarantee you're going to stick to your plan. Babies may not be born "angry" or "well-behaved" but they are born with their own little seeds of a personality. Some will try you to you limit just for the entertainment value and others will go out of their way to be compliant - or to appear to be. You have to know yourself. If you're afraid of being the "bad guy", if you want to be your children's "friend" above all, don't have kids.

I wonder at the whole "death and sex sell" thing about newspapers. Homelessness isn't "news." Vagrants, bums, hobos, derelicts, rail-riders - whatever you want to call them, have been ever with us. It is only in the last half century that our standard of living has been so high that we have the luxury of wringing our hands over them. The tragic part is, of course, children who end up on the street - but again, it isn't news. This is feature article territory and I agree with those who say put your money where your mouth is and volunteer.
Comment: #31
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Wed May 8, 2013 8:01 AM
Re: Casey #14
My kids were raised years ago, when it was still permissible to swat their butts when they misbehaved, and also, at a time when kids were taught both in school and at home to respect people in authority. Unfortunately, that isn't as true today. Both my kids (one of each sex) were told in no uncertain terms that not only would there be immediate physical consequences for misbehavior, but punishment of being on restriction later. Being sent to their rooms these days is no punishment because they have their TV's. computers, game consoles, cell phones, etc. Back when my kids were little, being sent to their rooms was boring as HELL.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Kitty
Wed May 8, 2013 8:06 AM
@Mike- I understand that PB is a troll and that there have been other Trolls on here looking to get a rise out of the regulars but most often it is directed at Lise but I did notice in the past that some of the Trolls verbally attack Canadians from a different part of Canada.

The last company I worked at I was the HR manager and it was a manufacturing plant with about 70% Latina's (mostly girls) and about 5% Latino's (Men). While they all appeared to be from close to the same area, there was often friction and sometimes down-right hate from one group of Latina's to another group. I'm not just talking about childish stuff... I'm talking sometimes physical altercations or things like one group taking something from another and throwing it away. As an HR Manager, it was an ongoing battle to keep the groups from acting out against each other. The difference is that they were from different Countries
Comment: #33
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 8:14 AM
@ Lise- As one of your American neighbors, I can say that I have honestly never seen a child behave like that, and definitely not my own. I've seen kids scream and cry, but almost always it's because they're tired, and it's mostly very young children. I can't blame a tired kid. it's usually because Mom or Grandma, rarely Dad, wants to go back to the dressing room to try on something else, or go to one more store. I feel awful for the kid. They need water, food, and rest just like adults do. But no, I've NEVER seen anything like this.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Emily
Wed May 8, 2013 8:23 AM
LW1 -- Agree with those who say this seems to go well beyond just the typical "kids behaving badly" thing. While I have seen kids climb under tables, run around, etc., I honestly do not recall ever seeing kids throwing food at other diners (or, at least, not on purpose -- I do remember my brother blowing the wrapper of his straw at me, and because I ducked, it hit the woman sitting behind me -- but that wasn't food, and it was not intentionally directed at someone outside our party), and I certainly don't recall seeing kids purposely mash food into someone's pocket, put open condiment packets in someone's purse, etc. And while I have seen some pretty blase parents out there, I am AMAZED (as another poster noted) that not one single adult at that event put a stop to that behavior. I realize people are not at their best when they are in mourning, but I simply cannot imagine being at ANY event where I would be so paralyzed (either with grief, joy, what have you) that I would stand by and just let this stuff happen, even if they weren't my kids (but were relatives of mine). So, to me it DOES sound like there is something wrong with these kids, and it sounds like what is wrong is that they're being raised by a pack of wolves.

The anniversary celebration either needs to be canceled, or it needs to be made adults only. Frankly, since there are already bad feelings between various family members related to the matriarch trying to get the parents of the unruly kids to help pay for damage to the restaurant, I would think it unlikely that some of those people would even show up for the party -- not out of any guilty conscious or humility, but because they are still angry at having been expected to do the right thing.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Lisa
Wed May 8, 2013 8:31 AM
Casey #14- My parents were both alcoholics, so I knew what you should NOT do when raising kids. Thank God my mom had my grandma babysit me a lot, so I had a champion who really loved me, spent time with me showing me how to do things around the house, and gave me an occasional sincere compliment. I did not know if I wanted kids, or if I would be good as a parent. So I didn't have any until I was married 5 years, and I felt like I could trust my husband to be a good dad. My college major included a lot of psychology, including child development and family relationships. You could read books to explain those things. And there are many good books out there to explain how to be firm but fair and loving with your kids. Also, watch good parents interact with their kids, at the store, in restaurants, at the park. Decide which things would work, and which do not. I used to give my kids simple, clear expectations of what to expect, for example, mommy has to stop in the store to pick up some groceries. If you sit quietly in the cart, I will let you pick out one box of cereal, and then we will go home and you can play with your Legos. If you act up, we will leave, and you won't get the cereal. As long as they were not exhausted and/or starving, they were able to cooperate and get the reward. My kids turned out to be kind, loving adults, and I am very proud when I see what a great dad my son is to my grandson. So, educate yourself, and then go ahead with confidence.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Patty Bear
Wed May 8, 2013 8:59 AM
@Casey -- Even though I got married at 24, I didn't have my first child until I was 40, not because we had fertility issues or anything like that, but because I didn't have a whole lot of faith that I would be a good mother. Now I have one and another one on the way (early June!). I'm not going to lie to you -- there are days when I'm convinced this was a huge mistake, that I'm a horrible mother, and I miss my child-free days. And then there are days when I can see that I have done something really, really RIGHT -- like the first time my son smiled (for real), the first time he giggled, the first time he gave me a kiss, the first time he ran as fast as his wobbly little legs would take him to greet Daddy at the door with the biggest smile and hug ever, the first time I said, "OK, we need to change your diaper," and he just toddled right over to the changing table and waited for me to pick him up. I'm not going to win Mother of the Year any time soon, but I think most days I do pretty well.

If you aren't at all anxious about any of this stuff, if you are sure you're going to be a terrific mother, if you are confident that you will love every moment of motherhood and certain that you have all the answers -- then you shouldn't have children, because you're a delusional idiot. Too many people have children simply because "that's what people do," as opposed to really stopping and thinking about what they can offer a child, what it takes to raise a child, etc. I remember telling someone years ago that I wasn't sure if I'd ever have children, and said much the same thing you said in your post today (only I also said I believed I was too selfish a person -- or at least too selfish at that point in my life) to be a good mother. And she said, "see, that's EXACTLY why I know you'll be a good mother -- because you have actually taken the time to think about all of this. You have actually taken the time to think through how your life would change -- and still get the fact that no matter how much you think it through, you still don't really know what it's going to be like. Too many people just mindlessly have kids without really thinking about why they want that experience and what they're willing to put into the experience and what they will need to sacrifice for it. That you have thought this deeply about something many people just assume they're going to do with hardly any thought at all is exactly why I hope you will one day have children."

And trust me, you and your siblings threw tantrums and acted out like other kids. No doubt, you were generally good kids, but your mother, like so many mothers, remembers your childhood through rose-colored glasses. And you don't remember throwing tantrums because you were about 2 at the time. Sometimes, when my son does something "bad" -- melts down for no obvious (to an adult) reason or decides he doesn't want to eat something that he previously loved to eat, etc. -- my MIL will act like this is just so bizarre, and she doesn't remember any of her three sons doing that. And let me assure you, her three sons did the exact same thing -- it's just that the last time she had a 21-month old was more than 40 years ago. My mother occasionally does the same thing -- she makes it sound like my brother and I were little cherubs 24/7/365. Look, my brother and I WERE exceptionally good kids, if I do say so myself (she said, breaking her arm to pat herself on the back), and like your mom, my mom says we just always seemed to sort of magically be good kids. But we had our moments. I don't doubt it for a second, even if I don't remember melting down for no apparent reason, I'm sure that I did. Parents don't remember every tantrum. They don't remember every battle on the changing table. That doesn't mean they didn't happen.

While there are a lot of things good parents must actively and proactively do, taking advantage of "teachable moments" and creating "teachable moments" -- you're also parenting even when you're NOT actively trying to teach your child something. Be the kind of person you want your child to be, and they will see that. It's a little scary to think about it that way, because obviously, we adults all have our moments, too -- moments that we wouldn't particularly want our little ones to emulate -- but there's also a certain reassurance that comes with knowing that if we are good role models at least MOST of the time, they are going to learn from that (and then we just need to remember that kids also need to learn that nobody is perfect, so when we have our moments, they are learning that, too).

And if I'm making it sound like I have all the answers -- believe me, I don't. I've only been a mom for 21 months, and I've still got a LOT to learn, still so many challenges I have yet to face. But I can tell you this -- I'd rather have someone who isn't totally sure she's ready to have children become a mother than someone who's never even thought about it at all.

And let me add just one more thing: I am not one of those people who, now that she's drunk the Kool-Aid is trying to get everyone else to drink it, too. I respect Jane and others who are child-free by choice and know they are not going to have children. I do not believe that parenting is for everyone. I am not trying to convince you to have children. If you don't want them, don't have them. But if the reason you're hesitating is because you're questioning whether you would be a good mother and wondering how the good ones do it -- that's a sign that you likely will do a decent job of it should you decide that's what you want to do.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Lisa
Wed May 8, 2013 9:00 AM
Thanks for the feedback, everyone :) It really does give me hope for being a good parent (not that I'm currently trying to get pregnant.) If I do get pregnant though, in the way distant future, I'll probably be back here, asking for advice :)
Comment: #38
Posted by: Casey
Wed May 8, 2013 9:01 AM
Re: Bobaloo #17
"I wonder how old the kid was that tripped the waitress ... 4?)"
I don't care if he was 4. If he did it on purpose, he knew what he was doing, and fully intended to hurt (even if he is too young to realise the possible extent of that hurt). I remember my daughter at that age. Even children that young are perfectly capable of intent.

@JustBecause #23
There is some sportsy rivalry between sports teams boiling down to long-time resentment dating back from the times of the Conquest... and that itself hails all the way back to the Middle Ages and the 100 Years War. The rest is no different than what we hear Americans say about Texans, Midwesterners, Californians, East-coasters, Boo-ostonians... (;-D)

As for Toad Prince, well, he is a troll. Trolls are basically full of hatred and him being probably Canadian is incidental. We don't know that he is a Quebecer - I personally don't think so.

As for his obsessive focus on me, well, if we go back to the Bloom Hilda incident, when the Delphi sleuths got on the case, they found out that she was really someone who was having trouble getting invalidity, hence her hostility towards my welfare check (100% bitten by the green-eyed bug, she was), and all these comments towards me, Miss Pasko and others on how fat and ugly we were, and how we spent all day on the Net, were basically describing HER.

It could very well be that this is a second verse to the same song, and that Prince Toad's hostility towards me is basically self-hatred. People who do what he does are not happy with themselves anyway, that's for sure!

@EstherGreenwood #27
There is a difference between bored children acting UP, and troubled kids acting OUT, which is what that was. I would hazard to say that not all of these children are freaks and that most of them ended up following the leader, but there is definitely something wrong with the ringleaders and I'm not the only one to see it. This is NOT normal behaviour out of a merely bored kid.

"but I'm sure CPS would not care to involve itself in restaurant policing."
I wasn't suggesting that they be called on the spot (I would have thought that was obvious enough, but apparently not), but after the fact, explaining to them that they might want to investigate why the kids who instigated such aggressive destruction would be so mad at the world. And yeah, they ought to be interested in THAT, not in the baked potato mashed into grandma's pocket. Try to make the difference.

For you to call it mere pranks... you're minimising. Frankly, I find THAT more disturbing than anything else, hence my post #16. As in, how often exactly do you see stuff like that, and are you guys SO USED to such appalling behaviour that you no longer think anything of it? Oye vey, man. I think I'm beginning to see Chris' point.

Comment: #39
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 9:06 AM
Re: Maggie Lawrence (#31)

Agree completely that "homeless" stories are best done as features.

I realize it's important to present facts, but – and keep in mind I don't know what exactly the LW is wanting for "homeless" story coverage – a laundry list of statistics tends to bore readers and often doesn't translate well into "what does it mean to me"?

I do like the idea of "putting your money where your mouth is." For now, that is the best solution – man a soup kitchen, open a workshop to teach some of these homeless people how to read (I'd bed a lot of them are functionally illiterate and lack even rudimentary writing skills).

Mike H (#31):

While I'll do my best to cut this family a little bit of a break, there still could have been something done to get these kids under control. Obviously, the LW wasn't so forgiving ... and I wouldn't be surprised if a good share of the other guests were, shall we say, less than pleased at kids running around and causing trouble as described.
Comment: #40
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 9:08 AM
LW2 could be a kind person, or they could be the kind of person that just expects others to take care of society. There are plenty of people out there who expect government to fix every problem without taking the time to help people out themselves.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed May 8, 2013 9:11 AM
LW1: I probably would have herded the kids to their parents and asked them to take control. Of course, I have been known to get up in church and go sit with some teenagers that were being loud and obnoxious during the service. I sat there thinking "Boy, this is going to make some people mad." But instead, people from all over the congregation and the pastor came up and thanked me. Even one set of grandparents of one of the kids involved. The pastor even gave me a smile and nod from the pulpit. Not one person said a negative thing about it. I would be willing to bet the people who own/work at the restaurant appreciate the kind gestures many of you made and will be willing to have you back. But I would make it clear the kids not come due to the unfortunate circumstances of the last meal held there. Let them know that because they would not parent the way they should have that now the kids must stay home.
LW2: I work for a small community newspaper and unfortunately tragedy sells. We put out about 200 papers in the racks each week and at the end of the week we pick up about 100 that are left. When a teenager in our community was killed in a car accident we only picked up two papers. We can print a feel good story and it will have an average sell. Sad, but true. And yes, we do concentrate on the feel good stories and we would rather print those than the tragic stories.
Comment: #42
Posted by: GSDluv
Wed May 8, 2013 9:23 AM
The problem is with LW2, not with the news. I see articles about missing children and things like that not irregularly. I quick google news search shows that there are at least several of these every day in newspapers around the country.

So, no, the issue isn't that papers don't report on those things. The issue is that LW2 has a misperception that newspapers don't report on those things. Nice job, Annies, buying into something that LW2 just totally made up.

Here's my letter: "I just learned that Russia has decided to invade the U.S. What should we do about it? I expect an answer to this problem, not an intelligent response explaining that I'm just making this up.
Comment: #43
Posted by: myname
Wed May 8, 2013 9:24 AM
@Casey

26. Don't turn the dinner table into a battlefield. Have them try a little of everything but, if they really can't stand the liver with spinach, mashed squash and curried mushrooms that you love... PB&J sandwitch time, and they can make their own. On whole wheat bread. Eating is one of the sensual pleasures of life, It should not become traumatic.

27. If they make some placemark for you for your birthday, USE IT. They'll feel like a million bucks. Put their drawings on the fridge. Save the best of them in a box when you need to make room. Even then they're older. My daughter was so gratified when she saw I was using a card she had sent me for Mother's Day to keep place in my book!

Comment: #44
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 9:28 AM
Re: Maggie Lawrence
"Children also become angry because of what is NOT done to them - the correction that assures them on a daily basis that someone cares about how they behave and how they grow up."
I was including that as well in my comment (that was me), which is what I meant when I also said, "Children THAT unruly certainly are not just not being taught basic manners, they're lacking something essential." We basically agree on that one.

Comment: #45
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 9:40 AM
@Bobaloo, agreed, something could and should have been done at the restaurant. And, in fact, I think it would have made more sense for the LW to step up to the plate *in the moment this all happened*, rather than leaving the restaurant and then wringing her hands and tsk-tsking after the fact.

Seems to me that if the gathering were parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles -- that *everyone* who was an adult member of that family had a responsibility to rein in the terror, and not simply leave it up to just the parents. Especially when it became obvious that the parents were not planning to, or not capable of, stepping up to the plate and being responsible.

I know for sure that my aunts and uncles and grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles never once would have shown any hesitation about reining in my childhood behavior IF they felt I was running amok AND my parents weren't responding! (And believe me, there were times when I was a little hellion as a kid!)
Comment: #46
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 9:44 AM
My philosophy of parenthood (ok, not mine originally, but I forget now where I read it) is that 99.9% of what children do comes naturally to them. It's up to you, as the parent, to decide what you will and won't tolerate, to lay down simple rules, and make sure the children understand the consequences for not following the rules. Children need to know what the rules are. Of course, the rules are dynamic and change a bit as they get older, but my basic expectations never do - we treat each other with respect, love, and humor (humor is essential!!!). I would never claim to be the best mother ever, I've certainly made plenty of mistakes along the way, and I lose my patience pretty much on a daily basis. But so far it seems to have worked (my kids are 12 and 9 now). I always get compliments from teachers and other parents about how kind, polite, and well-behaved my children are. Crossing my fingers that they grow into delightful adults!
Comment: #47
Posted by: C Weisinger
Wed May 8, 2013 9:47 AM
Following up on some of the interesting discussion about homelessness and news, I really wish that news organization -- internet, newspaper, tv, radio -- did a better job of regularly informing us of the statistics that matter. Instead of focusing so much on the DOW and on unemployment figures (important, but not the be-all and end-all of what quality of life in our country is about), we should be regularly made aware of things like homelessness rates in our region and our nation, crime rates, poverty rates, health, etc.

Generally speaking, I have huge amounts of faith in the American public when they are informed, because I think most people when considering issues and the facts around those issues, we make good, decent choices. But lately getting those pertinent facts to people is harder and harder -- the internet gives us more noise and less signal -- and so our national discourse is difficult and our decisions as voters aren't always matching up with what we say we want our country to be.
Comment: #48
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 9:48 AM
@Lise #39- Thanks for the explanation and the sports rivalry makes sense to me. After all, I'm from a Philadelphia suburb and Philly fans have a reputation of some of the meanest around. Also, I have noticed a growing hatred in the US where politics are concerned. You can read BTL of almost any article and it's full of hatred from the democrats to the republicans or vice versa. My own Aunt who I was very close to as a child has so much hate towards a certain political party that she has Oster sized almost all of her friends and family (including myself) so I'm not saying the US is without hate. I just wondered if there was a divide within Canada that causes some to hate more than others.

Thank you for the troll explanation as I wondered the same thing about PB and other haters (that they are self loathing that is).
Comment: #49
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 9:57 AM
Re LW1: I have not seem children act this extreme in a restaurant setting (other than Chuck E Cheese) Perhaps some crying and screaming, but no food throwing! One thing I thought of-the restaurant owner may not want to have the party in his restaurant anymore and may be willing to return the deposit. Another note: these same children evidently behaved at the funeral service since the only mention of unruly behavior was at the wake.
This did remind me of a situation when my best friends Mom passed away. After the gravesite service, and as the casket was being lowered, about 6-7 kids were running around the graves, screaming, chasing each other. I was surprised that the parents didn't stop them, and I felt really bad for my friend. The parents were engrossed in conversations and weren't paying attention.
Comment: #50
Posted by: Paige English
Wed May 8, 2013 10:14 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette

"There is some sportsy rivalry between sports teams boiling down to long-time resentment dating back from the times of the Conquest... and that itself hails all the way back to the Middle Ages and the 100 Years War. The rest is no different than what we hear Americans say about Texans, Midwesterners, Californians, East-coasters, Boo-ostonians... (;-D)

As for Toad Prince, well, he is a troll. Trolls are basically full of hatred and him being probably Canadian is incidental. We don't know that he is a Quebecer - I personally don't think so.

As for his obsessive focus on me, well, if we go back to the Bloom Hilda incident, when the Delphi sleuths got on the case, they found out that she was really someone who was having trouble getting invalidity, hence her hostility towards my welfare check (100% bitten by the green-eyed bug, she was), and all these comments towards me, Miss Pasko and others on how fat and ugly we were, and how we spent all day on the Net, were basically describing HER.

It could very well be that this is a second verse to the same song, and that Prince Toad's hostility towards me is basically self-hatred. People who do what he does are not happy with themselves anyway, that's for sure!"

All true.

Or maybe I just don't like pompous people who try to bully others and then pull the woe me routine when people retaliate.

And I just don't like people who use the system.
Comment: #51
Posted by: Princess Bride
Wed May 8, 2013 10:51 AM
@Lise, @JustBecause, I'm not sure I understand the references to sports rivalries, because I believe it is a well-documented fact that all Boston sports fans are reserved and demure. ;-)
Comment: #52
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 10:57 AM
Lise, Yes, obnoxious kids in public are becoming more common while the parents ignore them. I don't go to restaurants where the management won't do anything to protect the other diners from the brats. Olive Garden is terrible about this and their food is not cheap. I speak to the management as soon as I encounter a problem. Sometimes they offer to move us to another table farther away, sometimes they try to intervene with the bratty family. They are very careful not to offend the bratty patrons but they are losing money from people like me. Can you imagine what the offspring of the children in Letter 1 will be like if they ever have any? Other diners give the parents dirty looks but the offending parents never notice. I understand small children are difficult but they do NOT have to be taken out in public all the time. Leave them with a sitter or the other parent. Do NOT inflict your monsters on other people. Parents like this are selfish and rude.
Comment: #53
Posted by: locake
Wed May 8, 2013 11:03 AM
@GSDluv -- Years ago, I worked for a small, daily newspaper. I frequently took calls and/or received letters from people complaining that we never published any "good news" -- that we were only interested in publishing all the horrible things that happen. Whenever someone said this to me, I pointed out that we actually dedicated an entire page once (sometimes twice or three times) a week to good news. Indeed, the name of the page literally was "Nothing But Good News." Now, one page a week doesn't equal out to the pages devoted to the crime blotter, etc., but here's the thing: hardly anyone ever read the Nothing But Good News page. How did I know? Well, for one thing, when these people were told of the page's existence, they had no idea it was there, even though it had been running on the same page, same day of the week for YEARS. For another, I never once received a call or letter to the editor about the Nothing But Good News Page -- not even the time when there was a REALLY glaring error on the page that, if it had happened on practically any other page of the newspaper, we would have gotten tons of calls and letters about it. Why did no one call? Two possibilities -- people figured this news is so soft and fluffy as to be not that important, so who cares if there's an error, OR people simply aren't reading that page. Either way, clearly none of our readers were prioritizing that page.

On the other hand, we also had a page called "Oddly Enough" -- similar to "News of the Weird." Now, hardly any of the news on "Oddly Enough" could have been considered important or relevant -- it was just odd stuff. But people LOVED that page. It was clearly well-read. On the occasions that we nixed "Oddly Enough" due to space constraints (typically to make room for much more important, hard-hitting stuff that people SHOULD have been interested in), people complained. When we nixed "Nothing But Good News" for the same reason, nary a complaint.

Bottom line: sex, gore, tragedy and really strange stuff sells. Good news doesn't, even though many people DO enjoy reading a feel-good story and many people complain about how the media focuses on sex, gore, tragedy and really strange stuff.
Comment: #54
Posted by: Lisa
Wed May 8, 2013 11:03 AM
Re: Mike H #39
You're so right! We would be a much more informed citizenry if we had statistics on these issues. We could get a much better picture of the scope of these problems and be better prepared to support realistic solutions. I have often wondered, for example, how much is spent regionally per capita on aiding the homeless but just haven't had (or taken ) the time to research it. It would be so helpful if these types of statistics were reported by the media.
Comment: #55
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Wed May 8, 2013 11:06 AM
@Mike- If I recall correct, I think Boston is pretty close to Philly in the harsh fans department. Boston fans are much more loyal though (from what I hear). Honestly, sports is not my thing but hubby and my father are big sports fans.
Comment: #56
Posted by: JustBecause
Wed May 8, 2013 11:06 AM
Re: @Lisa #54
Very interesting... Thanks for your insider perspective.
Comment: #57
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Wed May 8, 2013 11:15 AM
@Lise & JustBecause -- totally agree with the sports rivalry explanation and also some general regional rivalries, as well. But it often goes beyond that, as well. For example, University of Michigan and Ohio State University have a well-known sports rivalry, but it derives from the fact that many years ago there were a bunch of border disputes between the two states, with each state claiming the other state had drawn up its borders incorrectly.

But some of it goes even well beyond that and is just one of those ugly things about humanity: the need to discriminate, vile though it is, is part of our baser nature. Where I live, we have a very large Spanish-speaking population. You would think that they would want to team up and collaborate in order to get the English-speaking population to do more for them, but the reality is that among the various groups, they look down on one another and outright hate one another. Don't mistake a Cuban for a Mexican, or vice-versa -- that's an easy way to get beat up where I live. And while I am using the Spanish-speaking population as my example, this is hardly limited to them. As another example, the different forms of Judaism frequently look down on one other -- some reformed Jews think Hasidic and orthodox jews are nuts. Some conservative Jews don't think reformed Jews can even claim to be Jewish. Some orthodox Jews don't think conservative Jews are Jewish enough. Etc., etc., etc. We all of us, on some level, want to believe we are "better" than someone else. Whether it has to do with level of education, wealth, skin color, religion, country of origin, etc. -- it's in all of us. Some of us recognize it, realize it's something ugly, and try to stamp it out in ourselves as best as we can. Some of us don't.
Comment: #58
Posted by: Lisa
Wed May 8, 2013 11:17 AM
@Lise - I eat out several times a week; I live in suburban area of a Midwestern U.S. city, and work in a suburb on the other side of the city. I'm a parent and a grandmother. I don't see this kind of behavior NEARLY as often as I read about it in advice columns.

@Casey -- I'm a big believe in parents not setting kids up to fail by putting them into situations they're not prepared to deal with, and in parents being mindful to what's happening with their kids. You don't take a 3 YO into a crowded grocery store at 5 p.m., for instance -- particularly if he's overtired and hungry -- because that's practically inviting a meltdown. When the situation can't be avoided, it means you engage with the kid in conversation mindfully... even if it slows you down a bit. "Should we get apples or bananas? OK, apples -- which color? Red, that's good. Now, we should probably get some peanut butter, too -- can you find the picture of the peanut butter jar in my coupons? Nope, that's chili; try again."

It sounds looney tunes, doesn't it? But kids don't like being ignored any more than other people do, and adults often do ignore them while they run down a "to do" list in their head or chat on the cell phone. And the result is that kids often act out, particularly when they're tired or hungry. I found engaging them in conversation was often a great way to occupy the mind so it didn't devise bothersome ways of finding amusement. Bonus: it helped them all become verbal at an early age, which helps immensely in learning to read.
Comment: #59
Posted by: hedgehog
Wed May 8, 2013 11:29 AM
Hey Brian - do you work for Chuck E Cheese or something?
Comment: #60
Posted by: Bobaloo's biggest fan
Wed May 8, 2013 12:41 PM
@EstherGreenwood, I've often bemoaned the fact that we don't have one simple source to be kept updated on a lot of these statistics... much the same way we might flip to a newspaper or cable tv or internet site to check the weather, sports scores, and stock market in a quick and easy fashion.

@JustBecause, my smiley face on the end of the comment was quite deliberate! :-D I recognize the fact that Boston is a rabid sports town, and quite fiercely loyal. Why, I myself have been known to exhibit very unBuddhistlike behavior while at "the Gahden."
Comment: #61
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 1:12 PM
Re: GSDluv (#42)

"I work for a small community newspaper and unfortunately tragedy sells. We put out about 200 papers in the racks each week and at the end of the week we pick up about 100 that are left. When a teenager in our community was killed in a car accident we only picked up two papers. We can print a feel good story and it will have an average sell. Sad, but true. And yes, we do concentrate on the feel good stories and we would rather print those than the tragic stories."

I've noticed about the same thing. Fortunately, in the year since I became editor of the newspaper I work at, there have not been any tragedies in the primary community I've covered or the one to the west. That said, there was a 14-year-old girl who died in a wreck about a month after I started, but I did not pick up papers from that part of our circulation area that week. I am sure, however there were way fewer than normal papers left from that area, with the normal numbers elsewhere.

Like you said – we'd much rather print "feel good stories" than the tragic stories. But all stories must be told, otherwise we're not doing our jobs.
Comment: #62
Posted by: Bobaloo
Wed May 8, 2013 1:44 PM
@ Casey: What a nifty thread you started!

@ Lise, re #30 & #44: Clap clap clap clap clap clap!

@ Casey again: Copy and print those two, and save for when/if you do decide to make a kid. More good stuff: #21 from Bean123, #25 from Krystyne, #31 paragraph 3 from Maggie, #36 from Patty Bear, #37 from Lisa, #47 from C. Weisinger, & #59 from Hedgehog.

@ Lisa (#37): “If you aren't at all anxious about any of this stuff, if you are sure you're going to be a terrific mother, if you are confident that you will love every moment of motherhood and certain that you have all the answers -- then you shouldn't have children, because you're a delusional idiot.”

OMG that needs to be tattooed on the forehead of every female between ages 14 and 40--backwards, so they can read it in the mirror every morning. I will permit them to get it lasered off on their 40th birthday, because if it hasn't sunk in by then they're hopeless.

And your friend was right.

****************

@ Lisa (#35): I agree with every word except the last three of paragraph 1. Wolves generally make very caring, responsible, and attentive parents who also understand the value of appropriate discipline. The children described by LW1 would be *better off* if they were being brought up by wolves. Not only would they have better manners as cubs, as adults they would have more self-respect and superior life-skills. Furthermore, among wolfpacks the aunts and uncles are allowed, indeed expected, to step in and exert parental authority when necessary, and not one adult member of the family would consider letting cubs' behavior get so far out of control as to make it impossible for the group to sit down to a nice meal together (due to the kids' accidentally scaring away the nice meal). Wolves are intelligent and sensible. The parents of the children described above are neither; and the aunts and uncles could use a little wolfish gumption.

@ LW1: Jane, Michelle, Mike H, Lise, & Bean123 are correct: That situation was far more than a normal case of kids being hyper in an unfamiliar and stressful situation. What they got up to was vicious and assaultive. They were screaming in rage a very clear message: “Okay, NOW will somebody please pay attention to me? Still nothing? How about if I try THIS?” That much hostility (stabbing people? tripping people? lobbing missiles? destroying property?) doesn't get pent up over merely one brief family event; the fact that even such extreme behavior as described failed to elicit any response from their parents suggests just how adamantine and impenetrable is the neglect being experienced by the children in their homes. So, yeah, intervention of some sort would be a good thing, if not by CPS then at least by the elders of the extended clan--if only any of them had some of the above-referenced admirable lupine character traits.

One question, though. Possibly there is a marginally mitigating factor which could have contributed an extra dimension of freaked-outness on this specific occasion. Was it an open-casket funeral and were the kids marched past and forced to look at Dead Grandpa? I might be stabbing my idiotic relatives with forks in that case, myself.

Comment: #63
Posted by: Khlovia
Wed May 8, 2013 1:50 PM
Re: @Bobaloo #19
Excellent suggestions to LW2.

@Bean123, @Krystyne, @Lise Brouillette, @Patty Bear, @Lisa and others
Great parenting advice…
I'm going to copy today's posts and save them for my daughter when she is older and possibly considering parenthood.
Comment: #64
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Wed May 8, 2013 2:01 PM
Re: JustBecause
I think there is rivalry and hatred at different levels and degrees.

When Trudeau imposed bilingualism throughout Canada, oooh boy. There was much rage in the western provinces, and there were some who couldn't look at a bilingual box of Corn Flakes without railing about French being "shoved down their throats".

After the PQ won its first mandate, oooh boy. The hysteria amongst the English was like milk boiling over. I don't remember who coined the term "angryphone"... it was like some people just couldn't stand the idea that the French-Canadian no longer be under their thumb, where they had been for several centuries. The order of things had changed, imagine that. English people left in droves, fleeing to the English parts of Canada.

When the PQ tabled Bill 101, oooh boy. I was a full time student at Dawson College back then - an English CEGEP. Some of the yurunda that I heard, some of the things that were said to me... I remember saying to one of them, "You do realise that my English is better than yours, right?", while the teacher was looking on in disgust and muttering something about the shame coming out of Holocaust survivors' children (they were all Jewish). More Anglos leaving in droves.

And yet more while the first and second referendums were being campaigned for... And how different the aftermaths of the loss, and between the two speeches... Rene Levesque's whispy voice stating, with tears in his eyes, "Well... the people have spoken... see you next time!" Compared to that walrus Parizeau pulling a tantrum and blaming the ethnic vote. Particularly distasteful considering some rabbis in Outremont actually made a big show of aligning with him... and inaccurate, too: it was not the ethnic vote that sank the referendum. It was the fact that the French vote itself was divided - not everybody saw the break-up of the country as the magic wand that would solve all ills, especially not after a couple of recessions in between referendum #1 and #2, especially not with that racist hypocrite walrus at the helm.

And now that PQ has regained power (water under the bridge, reallly...), more anglos are leaving and talking of leaving. This is a bit hasty, really: the QP only have a minority government. Minority governments don't usually last very long. But, in light of PQ's Pastagate and assorted shenanigans, they are not being rational.

Back in 1980, we hadn't yet had time to see the long-term effects of Bill 101. By the second referendum, we had, hence a different vote from a lot of people, including me. And then, Parizeau was not popular, and for good reason. This xenophobe with a rabid "maudits anglais" problem yet had no problem having his children educated in England. He is quite a snob with his oodles of money, and frightfully British in his mannerism - must be trollish self-hatred at work again. I'm not the only one who wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him (which won't be far given his girth), and who wouldn't trust the birth of a brand new country to the likes of HIM - even if everything else was right with the principle, which it isn't.

But unless they cheat more than Bush did in Florida, I fail to see how the PQ can win a third referendum... which is why the radical factions are growing desperate.

But... in Quebec, referendums and speculation about their results are ONE hot button topic that many otherwise civilised people cannot discuss rationally. It's one of the subjects I can't touch with my ex customer but still friend Norma - she turns into a rabid angryphone and I become the enemy, even though I am NOT a separatist.

The funny thing is, Quebec no longer is the sole province talking about separatism. BC has a mind of its own about that, seeing that they have a ready-made market with China and Japan right next door. And Alberta too, as they're getting tired of having to share their oil wealth with the rest of Canada through perequation... another hot button!

As far as I've ever been able to see so far, most people on either side of whatever fence are quiet people in good faith who just want to live in peace. The foaming-at-the-mouth fanatics are the ones who make the news of course, but they are always the exception, not even the minority.

And it's funny, you know: half a century after Trudeau's bilinguism being "shoved down the throat" of some unwilling Western rednecks, there are plenty of people in the prairie provinces nowadays, learning French (which they don't need) just for the heck of it. I see them at Tam Tam, visiting Montreal, and insisting we speak only French to them so they can practice. Funny how some things come full circle!

And oh yeah, when we still had a hockey team in Quebec City, there was "bitter" rivalry between Quebec and Montreal... But it was more the gently teasing the Boo-ostonian accent type of thing, as in, "those hoodlums from Montreal", and "them hoity-toity, high-fallutin' ones up in the clouds on the parliamentary hill". ;-D

Comment: #65
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 2:42 PM
Casey: In a pinch, I'd offer the kids dessert if they behaved, if it was an important enough occasion. I only had to remove my four children from the local ice cream parlor without giving them any ice cream once. :) And one time I had a child throw a fit and refuse to go into the restaurant. We had errands to run and we had to skip lunch, but picked up something on the way home. Guess who didn't get any? I try to somewhat match the consequences to the behavior--if you can't behave during a meal, you don't get the meal, perhaps only for a few minutes until you settle down if it's a minor offense. I'd have taken a child outside for putting a potato in someone's pocket, and they would have come back in and apologized, perhaps offering to pay for the dry cleaner. I'd have taken the child home if need be....I feel sorry for the people in that letter--if they can't control these kids now, wait 'til they're teenagers. They're not doing those kids a favor.
Comment: #66
Posted by: deb
Wed May 8, 2013 2:48 PM
I absolutely LOVE this thread I started :) It's so much fun to read everyone's comments!
Comment: #67
Posted by: Casey
Wed May 8, 2013 3:24 PM
@Lise, it really drives me nuts when people argue vociferously for monolingualism. There are so many recorded advantages to being multilingual, that it is just simple stubbornness and backwardness to refuse to encourage a mulitlingual country.

It's also interesting to contrast the separatism in Canada with the seccessionists in the south. There are frankly plenty of people "up north" here in the US who wonder if winning the Civil War was worth it, and would be perfectly happy if Texas seceded, for example. Or South Carolina. Or Alabama.

And everyone knows it's pronounced "Bahstan". Or "Title Town", if you prefer. ;-)
Comment: #68
Posted by: Mike H
Wed May 8, 2013 4:30 PM
Re: Mike H
If a little fairy was to grant me one wish that had nothing to do with money, I would choose to understand, speak, read and write every language humanity has even produced, past and present. Linguistics is one of the subjects I would love to study in dept, but...

One important reason I was so impressed with the ex LOML when I met him was the 30 languages bit. People in America may sometimes find it impossible to believe that anyone could speak that many, but they forget (or don't know) that South Asia alone harbours over 500 of them. Although Iffa's level of knowledge of so many languages is remarkable, it will not be rare to find some nobody dude in a village who can't read or write and yet can speak 10 languages fluently. Europeans often speak three or four, often well enough to read and write them.

I can speak only four, and only two of them fluently. I find myself rather ignorant compared to people in so many parts of the world.

Comment: #69
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed May 8, 2013 7:02 PM
LW1: I don't have kids, but my mother raised me to behave well in public and I know many people who raise their children in the same manner. To answer LW's question: Forgo the deposit and have the party somewhere where you can get a bouncehouse for the kids. Have a nice picnic in the park and let the kids run around.
Comment: #70
Posted by: PuaHone
Wed May 8, 2013 9:10 PM
I've had a bit of a chuckle at the "normal kids don't behave this way" today. I worked with kids under the age of 12 for five years and it sounds pretty normal to me. Even a usually well behaved child who is wound up (lots of people, lots of kids, probably sweets) has just spent a long, somewhat confusing time having to sit still and is now being completely unattended by their parents can behave this way. And all it really takes is one to get the rest going. Their parents should have been watching them better, they should probably have not been kept at the funeral tea once they started to get hyper, but they certainly aren't disturbed. Any pre-k classroom at 5 o'clock on a rainy day can attest to that.
Comment: #71
Posted by: wyn667
Wed May 8, 2013 9:13 PM
Lise- Thanks for the detailed information as I wondered what PB meant by calling you a separatist... I took that as your country being divided into at least 2 groups. The sports rivalry made some sense as to why there may be friction but not to the point of someone calling you a separatist. Honestly, your explanation doesn't sound all that different than what we experience with US Politics.
Comment: #72
Posted by: JustBecause
Thu May 9, 2013 3:37 AM
Re: wyn667 (#71)

And I think you make a good point, too, about kids being antsy and hyper, especially after a long two days.

For a 5-year-old, for instance ... it IS asking WAY too much to have him "behave" for, say, 10 hours at a time (travel time in a car, then a two-hour funeral (service plus gravesite and the time before and after), then several hours at the restaurant with no play area), when he'd rather be playing and watching Elmo.

If any of you know going to a one-hour church service well, it can be challenging enough to expect a young child to sit through – say – a simple one-hour service (assuming no children's sermon and no childcare available). So how are you going to expect, say, a 6-year-old to sit still and behave for five, six, seven hours?

Older kids are able to sit still longer because ... well, they're older!

Find a goddamned babysitter and STFU! Anyone who doesn't think this way can stick it.

PuaHone (#70): While indeed good parents raise their children to behave in public – again, how old were you before you could sit still for several hours at a time? It's different for a 10 year old (who is better capable of doing so, albeit not perfect) than a 5-year-old, who'd rather be – as you suggest – playing in the park where he can run around and get dirty and wrestle with his buddies and such.
Comment: #73
Posted by: Bobaloo
Thu May 9, 2013 6:16 AM
Lise (Comment #13):

Very astute observation! My brothers and I are survivors of physical abuse. While we were terrified of moving a muscle when our alcoholic father was around, we were absoluted monsters when our parents left us with sitters. More than a couple of them vowed never to come back. When I grew up and began the healing process from the damage done to me, I discovered that more often than not, our prisons and juvenile detention centers aren't populated by people who weren't "whupped" enough as children; they're full of people who were beaten (and worse) whenever their abusers got the chance. Others had parents who never held them accountable for anything they did wrong, and this is a form of neglect. Either situation would merit a visit from CPS.

I too have been to social occaisions, restaurants, etc. with small children, and I agree that very destructive behavior involving others' personal possessions (purses, coat pockets) is actually pretty unusual, especially in the case of the eight-year-old, who has likely had the chance at least to learn in elementary school that getting into others' personal property is wrong.
Comment: #74
Posted by: northbysouthwest
Thu May 9, 2013 6:33 AM
Re: wyn667 #71
My father and stepmother each had 7 brothers and sisters. I have seen countless family gatherings, weddings, funerals etc, where there were more than 15 kids under the age of 10. I have never seen anything like this, and yes, they got bored same as any normal kid.

I'm sorry, but I think you've seen so much of this appalling behaviour that you've gotten to the point where you think it's normal. It's not. And I'm worried about what else you think is normal coming out of kids, on the excuse that they're "all wound up" and bored, the poor babies.

@JustBecause #72
While there was once a time when separation was pretty much the only option in order to protect French in Quebec, it is no longer the case. Not only Bill 101 has done a very good job of that, but the geopolitical environment had altered. With communication technologies giving emergence to the global village, the tendendy now goes towards the grouping of large ensembles (European Union, African Union, free trade zones), not infinite cell division. There have been treaties signed, which would have to be renegociated, which wouldn't be to the advantage of a separated Quebec, as it wouldn't have whatever leverage Canada does.

Given the separatist leanings that BC and Alberta themselves have developed over the decades (which had no reason to be 60 years ago), I believe that Quebec leaving the confederation would not result in a Quebec/rest of Canada dual block, but in the balkanisation of the entire country. There would be Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, and THEN the rest of Canada. Perhaps not even that, since the remaining pieces would become geographically unconnected. The maritime provinces (always the poorest, subject to seasonal work and environmental vagaries, and most dependent on perequation) would end up like third world countries. I believe over time we would, one after the other, end up being absorbed by the US.

The US of A doesn't have all that good a reputation when it comes to the treatment of its minorities. Given that, under the system of a confederation, the provinces have authority over their education system and a number of other things, I believe the survival of French is much safer within Canada than within the USA. Just like it is necessary for us to be ganged-up together in order to (barely) fend off the repeated attempts (sorry to say) of the US government and different commercial lobbies to take advantage. Even united, still, we're getting regularly screwed. If we have to meet the menace piecemeal, we don't have a hope in hell. United we stand, divided we fall.

And that's another thing: The USA would have a vested interest in Canada being split up in weak bits and pieces. If such pieces end up being absorbed one by one, then Canadian water resources become American and there is no dispute about the northwest passage anymore - and its incalculable underwater energy riches. The shredded, impossible-to-police-on-the-ground northern border would become American, not Canadian. No need to check with Canada for permission to install bases and missile shield apparatus. The USA would become direct neighbours of Russia, in a much more direct and intimate way than the Alaska proximity. That, added to control over the northwest passage, would change the geopolitical balance - don't think that there is any love lost between the USA and Russia. Among other important strategic results.

And then, there is the small detail of what would happen to outside-of-Quebec Francophone minorities. It is difficult enough for them now even with Quebec occasionally snarling in their defense. If Quebec leaves Canada, they'll be totally helpless and first in the line of fire for retaliation. And speaking of which, in 1980, at the time of the first referendum, we could have afforded the economical backlash if the rest of Canada had decided to behave like a vindictive husband in a divorce. Not anymore - there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and a few bridges have fallen.

For all these reasons, I am vehemently opposed to separation - not because I'm such a federalist, but because I'm being pragmatic and, after a careful risk/benefit analysis of the situation, I have determined where Quebec's best interests lay. In fact, the best interests of everyone in Canada. And I'm not the only one - it's not for nothing that there were these huge demonstrations from the rest of Canada during the last referendum, urging Quebecers to vote No.

The idea of our own country is VERY appealing. Very romantic, very idealistic, and a hazy dream Quebecers have been fantasising about and holding dear to their hearts ever since the aborted revolution of 1837. But not necessarily the best option anymore when it comes to survival, both economical AND cultural.

And the ageing, now very bourgeois old guard members of PQ know all this. But they don't care about what separation would cost Quebecers, or the rest of Canada and other French communities abandoned because of the secession. They want to go down in History as the first leaders of the new Republic. The end. Nothing else matters to them. I am personally not prepared to commit suicide for the sake of their own self-aggrandisement, and indeed I do care enough about the survival of French in North America to choose the best option to ensure it.

Both stand-up comics and political pundits have come up with the principle of a "free Quebec within a strong Canada". Funny as it may originally have sounded because it seems so contradictory, I don't think it sounds so crazy after all. The world is made of contradictions, and this actually may hold the solution. After all, a balance of power is basically nothing but a symetrical contradiction.

Comment: #75
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu May 9, 2013 7:16 AM
Re: Bobaloo #73
"how old were you before you could sit still for several hours at a time? "
As far back as I can remember. And the same went for all the kids I knew at the time. And that is because I knew there would be consequences if I didn't behave.

Brian, there is a big difference between bored children misbehaving, and the outright delinquent behaviour described here.

Comment: #76
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu May 9, 2013 7:23 AM
And besides, all of you out there who seem to think that expecting a child to sit still for several hours is pure torture and the most unreasonable thing to expect, and boo hoo hoo, poor little tykes... at what age do children start school in North America? Seems to me it's 6 years old (I started at 5 1/2), and school certainly is a place where sitting still for several hours is EXACTLY what is expected of children. Get real.

Comment: #77
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu May 9, 2013 7:34 AM
Who's Brian?
Comment: #78
Posted by: JustBecause
Thu May 9, 2013 8:08 AM
Re: JustBecause
Bobaloo as far as I know.
Comment: #79
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu May 9, 2013 8:30 AM
Yeah Lise, I thought he might be Bobaloo but I've only heard Bobaloos Biggest Fan call him that and I took it to not be very nice (kinda like he was mocking him) so I was surprised to see you call him that so I wondered if Bobaloo told others BTL that his name was Brian.
Comment: #80
Posted by: JustBecause
Thu May 9, 2013 9:53 AM
Re: JustBecause
I never read anynegative vibe in Bobaloo being called Brian and he never denied or corrected it, so I assumed it was his name. It's a nice name.

Comment: #81
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu May 9, 2013 7:44 PM
@Lise- It is a nice name but I don't believe I've ever seen Bobaloo respond to Bobaloo's Biggest Fan in any way, shape or form and I assume that is because Bobaloo sees him as a troll so he ignores him. I didn't think that you would do it in a mean way since Bobaloo seems to respect you more than most. Thanks for clarifying.
Comment: #82
Posted by: JustBecause
Fri May 10, 2013 6:47 AM
I was under the impression that his name Brian also, but I don't remember how or why.
Comment: #83
Posted by: Zoe
Fri May 10, 2013 10:12 AM
Bobaloo, is your name Brian and do you mind being called by it?

Comment: #84
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri May 10, 2013 2:02 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette
I usually don't comment but I felt your outdated reference to Bush cheating needed a little updating so I am posting information from WAY back then:
On Nov. 12, 2001, The New York Times ran a front page article that began: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."
Another Times article that day by Richard L. Berke said that the "comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots solidifies George W. Bush's legal claim on the White House because it concludes that he would have won under the ground rules prescribed by the Democrats."
On Nov. 18, 2001, Linda Greenhouse wrote in the Times that the media consortium's count of all the disputed Florida ballots - in which the Times participated - concluded "that George W. Bush would have won the 2000 presidential election even had the court not cut the final recount short."
Three prominent articles in the NYT (a liberal newspaper in the US) should be enough to finally put this to rest but people are still uninformed about this information and the final results.
Since you brought US politics into your comment, I felt the need to correct misinformation that is still being promoted. As for LW #2's concern as to why there is rarely any homeless articles in the news these days, those homeless stories will again appear in the news once we have a Conservative president or majority of Congress back in office. We have homeless tent cities throughout the US with our bad economy and hardly a mention in our bias news articles these days.
I hope you won't be offended by my clarification but I do get tired of misinformation of our US 2000 election still being publicized.
Comment: #85
Posted by: Mandy
Sat May 11, 2013 9:16 AM
Re: Mandy
There has been consistent testimony to the fact that voting machines were often rigged to register a vote for Republicans when it had been made for Democrats. How often that happened is impossible to assess. Thank God we don't have voting machines here in Quebec.

There have also been countless testimonies to people being prevented from voting on the flimsiest of excuses - Often Blacks... coincidentally statistically deemed most likely to vote Democrat. If you don't remember the scandal about both that and the machines, I do. Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe transmitted an offer to send in independent observers (I'm still laughing about that one).

I don't think Bush needed to steal his second mandate... by then he had become a "war President", the poor victim to whom 9/11 had been inflicted and therefore almost a saint. But the first one? It sure looks like it.

No, I don't get offended by clarifications, but I do get tired of people who don't realise they themselves do not have all the facts.

Comment: #86
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun May 12, 2013 8:33 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette
You are welcome to your opinion also but I see from your reply that even though you are not a US citizen you certainly have a Democrat political bias and just as we all do, choose facts to fit your choice. There is so much you ignored such as the Black Panther Party voter intimidation in 2008 elections as well as the voting machine scandals in our past election where GOP votes were disappearing. Or Al Franken still in office after it was determined the fraudulent votes he received is what put him in office. As for a "war president", our current President Obama has done more war-mongering than Bush, still has Gitmo open etc. and is following most of the "horrible" actions of the Bush 2 administration. I could go on and on but to it is useless. I just bristled to read the statement of "Bush stealing" the election in Florida and thought I would put forward some truth but you ignored my comment facts completely. I knew you would come back days later to read a reply to because your entire life seems to thrive on this comments web site. Good day to you.
Comment: #87
Posted by: Mandy
Sun May 12, 2013 9:40 AM
Re: Mandy
You are perfectly right about Obama continuing the war-mongering that started long before him and even long before Bush Jr.

You are perfectly wrong about any Democrat "leanings" I might have, and there is a very good reason for this, which you evidently don't know: foreign policies are NOT determined by the president in office, which is why they don't change from one president to another, and not even from one party to another. It is domestic policies which will be night and day depending on who and what is in office.

And yes, you are perdectly right that there will have been plenty of wrongdoings, electoral and otherwise, from both sides of the fence, long before Bush's time. What's that got to do with anything? Twenty wrongs don't make a right and it doesn't change what Bush did in Florida.

But you wanna pull a Princess Bride and shoot a little personal, below-the-belt dig at me about having no life? Suit yourself. If that is all you can come up with, then you don't much of an argument.

I'm never coming back to this thread, btw, and I only saw your response because I'm archiving it, so if you want to respond, do it on the current thread.

Comment: #88
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon May 13, 2013 9:57 AM
Although Lisa B is not returning to this string and completely ignored my true facts about the Florida elections per the liberal NYT, I do have to note her HUGE statement error "foreign policies are NOT determined by the president in office, which is why they don't change from one president to another, and not even from one party to another". Huh??? Why do the American people and our press always question during a presidential campaign how much foreign policy does a candidate possess? Because a US president directs and drives our foreign policy. Only our US president does with the aid of our Secretary of State. Congress doesn't handle foreign policy but domestic. You have it completely backwards. I little common sense goes a long way in life. I didn't want such a foolish statement to be left for others to believe it was true.
Comment: #89
Posted by: Mandy
Fri May 24, 2013 9:49 AM
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