|Credit: Deb Murphy|
|Credit: Alessandra Montalto/NYTimes|
As anyone else noticed the increase of children misbehaving in public spaces? I must admit, from what I've seen in the last ten years, young parents now seem to believe it's OK for their kids to misbehave in public as long as their kids don't interrupt what they're doing. That's a broad generalization -- I have seen parents on city buses who handle a tired child, a squirming child, or a loud child with impressive expertise and consideration for the other passengers. I've seen also other parents behaving just as badly as their kids when the kids misbehave -- yelling at the kids, grabbing them, belittling them, calling them names, sometimes even slapping them. It's painful to witness it. I'm surprised when someone younger than 30 gives up her bus seat for me, holds open a door for me, or does some other respectful courtesy because it is so very rare nowadays. I miss courteous people and children who behave well (quiet, polite, obedient) in public spaces.
I don't think Americans, as a group, like for people who are not Americans to tell them what to do. Have you noticed this too? We don't take criticism well from other countries. So it's interesting that both Chua and Druckerman are Americans drawing on the child-rearing customs of other cultures. Child-rearing is the hardest, most challenging job a human being does in life and we probably need to welcome all the help we can get, no matter from where. The American way is not the only way.
So while book reviewers may savage (or not) these two parenting books, I support them and will suggest them to my friends. If I had kids, I'd be reading them. What about you?