Kids and Noise: Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Well…another week…another entry about bad parents getting on my nerves.

Maybe it’s not so much that some parents don’t have parenting skills, but that they don’t seem to understand their responsibilities to their kids and society as a whole. They have this idea in their heads of what “kids will be kids” means, and if it’s the wrong one – and I think it is – they never know it and will ignore anyone who tries to educate them about the proper way for kids to behave during certain situations.

I was reading an article awhile back about this woman in England who had apparently spent several weeks apologizing for her kids being so noisy – everywhere they went. And she was upset because none of the adults her kids came in contact with seemed even the slightest bit tolerant of her kids.

And I’m thinking…well, just how tolerant do you expect these adults to be?

I mean, when you describe your own children with a myriad of adjectives that describe noise and chaos…it sort of makes me wonder if they even know the definition of “inside voices.”

That’s the thing – young kids need to be taught the difference between outside voices and situations where they can yell and scream all they want and times when inside voices are required. There are no walls outside, so there are no echoes of those shrill little voices just searing into your brain. And then there’s the inside voices, which kids – and adults for that matter – are supposed to use when they are inside and around other people who should not have to be bombarded with a “wall of noise.”  Oh, and that’s just one description the author gave of her children entering a room. Wall. Of. Noise.

As a fellow parent I’m not looking for an apology for noisy children – I’m looking for less noisy children in spaces where noise is not really appropriate.  I have children too, so yes, I’m speaking from experience.

Maybe it’s not so much that people are intolerant of children in general (the author’s claim), but just HERS.  She even said herself:  “Others who are less charitable might say they are, well, just loud! As they battle to be heard over one another – the noise level often escalates to multi-decibel levels.”

Multi-decibel levels?  Something she is apparently used to with her own kids and may very well be able to ignore – yet she blames other people for looking askance at them and their “wall of noise?

I don’t think this woman needs to apologize all of the time to complete strangers for her kids being noisy. Instead, I think maybe…perhaps… a novel idea, I know, but…she could actually just control her kids in the first place.

I know all the new age moms rave about their feral children, but here’s the thing, if they’re stampeding through an airport singing at the top of their lungs causing EVERYONE to look at them, then there is definitely something wrong. It’s not that everyone else is intolerant.  It’s the kids.

The whole point of the article was that this woman had gotten tired of apologizing for her kids. BUT she wasn’t going to teach them manners or respect for others or “inside voices.” She was just going to let her kids be kids.  In other words, allow them to continue to run roughshod over the personal space of others, bombard the public with their wall of noise, and completely disregard the discomfort of everyone around them.

Frankly, it’s lazy parenting. And it’s not fair to the rest of us who have to put up with them.

There is a time and a place for roughhousing and loud behavior. An airport, a doctor’s office, an airplane (all scenarios in the author’s article) and many other shared public places are NOT IT. Whatever happened to teaching inside voices, respecting others, and plain old manners?

21 thoughts on “Kids and Noise: Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

    • People get angry with the kids (and I’m one who definitely gets frustrated) but it’s not solely their fault — it’s the parents for not teaching and enforcing boundaries, manners, and respect of others. Of course I’m not talking about babies or tired children having a momentary lapse…I’m talking about children like from this article.

  1. Sadly we live in a time in society where if you chastise bad behavior someone is chastising you for chastising your child for bad behavior. When I was growing up my mother would look at my sister and I and say…don’t you embarrass me, and you knew what it meant and the look that she gave when she said it …you knew what would happen if you did embarrass her . We learned how to behavior both at home and out of the house. Our parents didn’t tolerate bad behavior.

    • I think the “mother’s look” is something that, while completely effective, has largely fallen by the wayside with newer generations of parents. On the few occasions my son misbehaved in public, I could always tell they were coming. I would give him that warning look because I could just tell his “mood,” and he would just stare back at me, then narrow his eyes as if to say “challenge accepted,” and off we went to the races. I don’t know if he would get bored and was looking for a thrill or if he thought my day needed spicing up for some reason, it never made much sense because he knew it was never a wise to do. Of course it’s funny NOW. 😀 But strictly speaking, both of my kids behaved whenever we were out in public because they learned very early on what was expected of them.

  2. OMG do I ever agree with what you said. I was in Barnes today and some kid was just whining and whining and his mother didn’t say a single word. He never shut up and I was ready to leave the store. Somehow she felt that it was okay to bring her kid into a store and ignore him while he droned on and on with half crying and moaning, whining. We all suffer from this children without manners. If people don’t want to teach their kids how to act in a respectful way they should KEEP THEM OUT OF PUBLIC PLACES. They do NOT belong in restaurants or any place where other people are gathering. Get a baby sitter or stay in with them and leave the rest of us alone. I’m so sick of it. Everywhere you go, kids are screaming and no one tells them to be quiet. Enough is enough. So many people feel this way.

    • I do agree that parents’ need to teach their kids inside voices, respect, and manners. But I don’t necessarily think the parents should have to stay at home with no break either. And sometimes sitters are expensive. PLUS if you don’t take your kids out, they’ll never have the experience and ability to learn how they’re supposed to act. However, that’s exactly where parenting comes in. If the child is loud in an inappropriate place, you teach them to behave better. If they have a tantrum they can’t get under control, you get up and walk them out until they are under control. You don’t subject the people around you to the tantrum. No one ever said parenting was easy…and that’s where I think some (or a lot) of the problem lies. Some parents simply don’t want to do the work necessary to raise respectful, caring, productive individuals.

  3. I don’t mind kids being noisy at normal outside levels outside but I cannot stand when kids are allowed to scream or shreak. My mom told us that if we did that some one would think we were hurt and not come when we did it and we were hurt. People just don’t get that. Your kid could have disemboweled themselves but if that is their standard noise level. I’m not going to even look out my window to check.

    • I agree — I would never allow my kids to just shriek and scream outside either. It annoyed ME so I know it had to be annoying to the neighbors. Some kids like to make noise JUST to make noise. I had a neighbor like that. I mean it’s one thing to be in a game with other kids or whatever and get loud, but another just to stand there and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason whatsoever. And of course, that’s all outside. Having that level of loudness inside (where others were around, like a store or doctor’s office, etc.) was just not allowed, period.

  4. my partner took both boys to an indoor play area and had to stop another child repeatingly hitting the youngest (it was lucky I was not there) he found the mother sitting there grinning like a maniac at her child, it was all he could do not to tell her exactly what he thought instead he found a member of staff and demanded that they leave.

    • Oh, I’m with YOU! I have no patience with those kinds of people and probably would’ve caused a serious scene. It’s good that your partner was there to take the high road — and the appropriate road — to get the issue taken care of. 😀

    • Oh I agree wholeheartedly! I even wrote an entry about that issue (link below if you’re interested). People will sit next to a drunk rowdy adult or crowd in a restaurant (or on a train or a bus) and see no issue with it, but show them a happy child who is laughing loudly and they freak out. That’s exactly why I mentioned in this entry about the noisy kids that even adults need to have “inside voices.” It’s not just children who can be annoying in public spaces.

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