Sunday, July 18, 2010
Let me be clear - I believe children need boundaries. If they don't learn boundaries as children, they will never understand boundaries as adults. In this particular incident, I was just curious why the onus is on the adults/parents to find out if the organizers can accommodate children in such an event? If the event is an adults only talk/meeting, obviously, the organizers must make that clear and refuse participants who bring children. If they admit them, then be prepared to escort them out if the children are disturbing the session. If the organizers put up with the ruckus, don't blame the parent or the child. Technically, the parent paid good money to attend the talk, she had every right to be there. If the organisers do not learn how to set boundaries and then blame the 'guilty' participant for breaching boundaries, I felt that to be a little unfair. One can argue about common sense, but I'm sorry, common sense is not as common as we'd like to believe. Common sense would dictate that since the organisers are not lifting a finger to address the disturbance, as an audience we have a right to listen to a talk in peace and yet, no one in that audience asserted their rights by telling that parent off. They were not setting boundaries. So they gave up their rights and stormed off the talk/meeting feeling totally upset and angry at the parent and the child which I see as totally misplaced emotions.
We are a society that is quick to parcel out blame - that parents are too lenient or too strict with their children; that they have no consideration for others, etc. For parents who have issues setting boundaries, my one question is what are their role models? This to me is becoming a concern because in the light of the CRC (The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the concept of child friendly spaces, adults, parents, teachers and caregivers are now told to not scold the child and to spare the rod. Well and good. I believe that too. However, I also believe that in sparing the rod without an alternative plan is totally irresponsible. Too often I hear some NGO ranting about CRC but do not provide alternatives to work with children. Some of the caregivers I know work with children who do not have boundaries.
Some 'modern' parents have access to books/internet that teach them how to set boundaries without the cane; others learn about setting boundaries from their parents or grandparents and hence may have a cane or two in their handbag. Who is right and who is wrong? Taking sides would churn out endless debates.
By the way, who was the actor who stopped in the middle of his play to tell off an audience member for talking too loudly and then continue? The audience applauded.
1. image child cc photo by RachelH
2. image screaming face cc photo by Walt Jabsco
3. screaming man cc photo by shadow giant
4. pointing hand cc photo by sarah G