Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Am I the only one who expects kids to behave?

While my boys' birthday party was months ago, something still to this day really bothers me about the party. It was the behavior of one guest, a six year old boy. It still galls me.

Each boy got to bring two friends as his guest to the ballgame. Yes, it was going to be a blast to bring six first-graders to a minor league baseball game. Little lady has her own special guest. Grandpa.

So I was sitting next to one guy, we'll refer to him as P, for the entire first inning. The clouds opened up on us and rained out the game - prematurely ending the boys' birthday party and causing them not to have the entire ballpark sing "Happy Birthday" while they stood atop the dugout - but that is beside the point. I sat next to this kid I didn't know for over 30 minutes.

Now I know for a fact that if my kids are with an adult they don't know very well - pretty much anyone other than me or a close family member - they behave. They more than behave, they are angelic. I expected these friends of my sons, kids for the most part I didn't know, to be the same way.

Good goodness was I wrong.

"I want something to drink." Was the first thing P uttered within 3 minutes of sitting down.

"I'm hungry" 1 minute later.

"I'm thirsty" he said again about a minute later. I know. I looked at my watch.

Now I know this kid didn't have any health issues. I had asked his parents.

"I'm bored" a minute later. "I'm bored" a minute later.

P sat next to me and complained the entire time. The. Entire. Time.

After 1/2 an hour I turned to him and asked in a firm, low voice, bordering on a growl,

"Do you always complain?"

He looked a little frightened.

"Because you know what? Adults would be a lot nicer to you, and kids would probably play with you more, if you didn't complain



He looked like I had strangled a kitten in front of his very eyes.

He shut up.

Funny thing, the boys are now in a different school and the boys have not once mentioned this kid.

Nor have we been called by him.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What a nightmare story. No, you are not the only one who expects kids to behave. But really, I don't think you can blame the kid. His parents probably give in to his winging frequently. He wouldn't do it if it didn't work for him.

Glad at least your boys didn't have any desire to continue their friendship with him. Guess he annoyed them too. lol

Flower Child said...

I was talking about this the other day with a friend - behavior outside the house vs. inside. Oooh, my mom would have been so mad if we did that in public!

Jodi said...

Did you tell the parent? Because, I, would be mortified, yes, i always expect my kid to behave.

Heather said...

I'm fairly certain that my kids behave when they're with my friends or at a birthday party. But I could be wrong.

I expect the kids left at my kids' birthday parties to listen to me and do as they're told though.

Gosh I hope my kids behave!

Mariposa said...

Children are children and they are just children so we couldn't do much, yet, I agree with you...once they are with somebody or in a place not familiar to them, they always BEHAVE... The complicated mind in me is not thinking maybe, he has some domestics issues? I will stop here before I get further with my

suchsimplepleasures said...

he sounds like a pain in the butt! bet you're relieved he isn't around your kid anymore!
and...yes, i expect my kids to behave. i've taught them to say please, thank you and to act like they didn't just step out of the zoo. thankfully...i get good reports about them, otherwise, i'd have to lock them in their rooms, until adulthood!

Alex Elliot said...

I'm pretty sure my 4 year old behaves better with other parents than with me. That being said, I was appalled a few weeks ago when I came to pick him up from a friend's house who was watching him and he started demanding something to drink without even a "please". The mom looked surprised too and said that he hadn't behaved like that for her. I'm thinking he was just worn out by all the "good behavior". No, he didn't get anything to drink!

Amy Barry said...

Hey - you probably did that kid a BIG favor. I bet no one had ever had a serious talk with him about it. Even if his parents had, kids tend to discount a lot of what their parents say but take advice from other adults much more seriously.

painted maypole said...

i worry sometimes that my daughter does that sort of thing, particularly the asking for food, because she is ALWAYS hungry. but other people assure me she is an angel. I hope they're not lying. ;)

Jan said...

I think you handled it well. I hate to hear kids whine. We have a sign in our class romm that says.... No Whining !!


Jenn said...


I remember this story. Must've really made you angry.

Kat said...

I remember when I was about 8 and an adult had a conversation like this with ME. I always remembered it! I'm sure that kid got away with it with his own family & had no idea it was so bothersome to other people. SO I think you did a good thing there.

Wholly Burble said...

Out in public, I always assume I should be shaking the puddings out of the parents not the kid--'cause they only do what they are allowed to do--or at least that's what I assume.

Knowing me and being a counselor, I'd have begun a dialogue with the child. It's usually a bid for attention, and sometimes if given positive attention, such as an opportunity to talk, rather than whine, the kid will open up to you, and later will want to perform well for you. BUT, that's me--my hubby says it's an "occupational hazard" with me--I talk to EVERYONE who sits next to me (or across from me, or off to one side . . . LOL).

Gunfighter said...

Don't get me started on ill-behaved children.

The boys in my Sunday school class know not pull any crap with Mr Gunfighter. They tried at first, oh, how they tried... but I 'm not one to put up with bad behavior.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm glad you did that. And maybe you should have talked to the parents, too - it may be they don't know how horribly he behaves. It sounds like it was a pattern with this one. I think there are many of us who have standards for kids' behavior, but unfortunately, there are a lot of folks who don't care, and who don't model good behavior, either.

chelle said...

I am impressed that you said something. I am always chicken to say anything to other people's kids, yet would be fine if someone told my kid's something similar.