Child bans – whose rights?

Reading an article on children behavior and if preschool children ought to be kept away from some places and responses to this…

I don’t have children. Let it be clear from the beginning. Let it also be clear that this does not mean like I’ve walked pass them in circles as my niece is one adorable little monster and I love her just as dearly as her mother does. Taking from this experience, I am in awe how quickly people think that it is violating the rites of the kids if they are banned from some establishments on bases of age.

Few months ago I watched an interesting documentary on sex in contemporary movies (not pornography movies). Leaving rest of the documentary aside, there was a very educational chapter on banns based on age groups. One movie director explained it quite nicely: “I can understand that it is hypocritical, me making those movies and supporting the banning. It would seem like I work against myself here, but I really don’t want my kids to see what I do before they can actually understand it.” I agree. I’ve read books that seemed to make sense to me years back or never understood the point behind my teacher’s explanation on some parts, while reading them now they suddenly click. Ideas left in the past suddenly make sense and seem to work, when back then they seemed unreachable. To me that is normal – to evolve and learn and understand that things makes sense in their own time.

Going to the movies, you do choose according to the age what you will show them. So, why is it so hard to understand that if you take under five year old child to a museum filled with huge fluffy “toys”, they will never grasp the idea of why they are there, but instead try to grab everything around? How is it normal to the parent, who knows their child is in the age, where they grab everything, that they don’t take them (if possible) in a shoe shop or keep away from crystal shops? Or when the child is in the age of tantrums, you would rather deal with it in a family party than go on business meeting? YOU CHOOSE WHERE TO TAKE YOUR KID!

Yet when it comes to the rights, suddenly, the majority is against museum’s decision to ban them? I think they ought to rephrase it – it should be recommended not to bring your preschooler to the museum if you know you have trouble controlling them or if they are going through some phase in development when they are close to unstoppable from behaviorisms that would cause trouble for sure.

If it’s for example an art museum – I’d very much support it. Let me rephrase it – it’s common sense! And I am talking here from my own experience. Wonderful art all around. Mom put her 4-year old down on the floor and gave her nice jewie some candy I don’t recognize, but know isn’t that sticky unless wet, and concentrated on what the museum worker was telling her. My eyes went back to picture as well, but being curious my nature, I soon turned them back on the kid to see what she would do there, to her in a utterly boring place. I know I’d go nuts and find myself something to do in a snap. So did she. She probably had painted before, because soon she had climbed up the few steps on the stairs close by and smacked the nice sticky wet candy stick right into the original work of the local artist. It smeared some of the pastel under it and the candy flew back in her mouth. Then the scene repeated itself once more. Like “normal” citizen, I didn’t want to make a fuss and shook my head to the kid behind her mother’s back. Her “lovely” mother, whose child was now responsible for ruing artist’s hard work, just went to her kid, took her by the arm, blushed to her blond routs and bragging with her, dragged her away like nothing had happened while the shocked worker stared at the candy stick on the floor and the ruined image. Probably thinking how to explain it to the artist, when he came for his works. Who’s fault is it? The worker’s, who was occupied with the mother? The mother, who gave the kid the candy and left her unattended? Or the child, who acted out her boredom?

So yes, I do support their decisions. Kids in that age are lively and need occupational things to do – activities. In museums, where in most places they are not allowed to touch anything, they get bored. Boredom brings up VERY inventive ways to fill the empty time. There are plenty of places you can go with your child, which are family oriented, but there are places, where your own common sense should tell you no. And I think it is absolutely in order for the owner of the place or workers to say that they preferred I would not go there with the child. It’s not to violate their rights; it’s to protect them and you for having to replace whatnot.

Exceptions do exist and I know this thanks to showing off some fantastic tarantulas on Spider exhibit. It was exiting for both of us. But I also remember how hair on the back of my head rose when fathers told their toddlers not to run and they didn’t listen. Having punch of deadly spiders around and a kid, who isn’t listening, is not a good combination as this could have easily ended in tragedy. Black widow for example. The closest antidote I know to exist was100 miles from the town. Make your calculations if the child is tiny and the venom works its way into the system in extraordinary speed. Or if they’d broken terrarium of a fast jumping tea cup size birdeater, who you then need to capture amongst panicking parents and their just as scared offspring.

I often like to engage my sister and her child for lunches or events where my sister would think it’s not ok, but I think she ought to get the experience. How else would she learn? She is two at the moment. I know the trouble it would bring, so I choose the places accordingly. No museums, art shows, concerts or any other place, where it would end with horrible results. There is plenty of time for them later, when she actually starts remembering those visits and when she can accept boundaries and enjoy it just as much as we do.

But as long as your common sense isn’t working and you think your child, who can’t even read yet, understands the boring political history exhibition in museum, we do need them to act to protect you (buying the ruined exhibit isn’t as cheep as you think), your child (having a grisly bear fall over on them isn’t so pleasant) and people around you. I’m sorry, but it actually is disturbing and playing on my nerves if a bored child told off by a parent starts a tantrum. That does not make me hate that kid more or hate kids in general. But I have just as much rights on having a nice Sunday afternoon as that kid on having a fantastic time on a play ground instead of a boring museum visit. I think it is in order to have such suggestions and they give me no illusion like having kids is bad. Just think for a moment and you do realize that even if the ban is taken down again, you still think twice (hopefully) if to go in museum, where it is boring, or amuse them on playground. The under one year old baby might not even move, while 3 years old you can’t even catch up with. As it was pointed out in the article – it’s not the age, but the behavior that can turn one lovely evening into a total nightmare for more than one family on the premise.

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2 Comments

Filed under Drama

2 responses to “Child bans – whose rights?

  1. Alaina Mabaso

    Tarantulas aren’t deadly, just scary. That story about the kid with the candy in the art gallery gives me the shudders. You’re so right that most little kids would be much happier at the playground instead of the museum.

    Thanks for stopping by last week during the Freshly Pressed child bans blitz, and thanks for sharing the post here! I’ll hope to see you again sometime.

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