I love children. However, I've been called many a colourful name when it comes to my opinions about children in public. I dare say, when it comes to participating in events that are public, I find myself often powerfully annoyed by people’s kids. It’s usually in restaurant settings where others are often imposed upon by boisterous, undisciplined children; however lately, the movie theatre has been a repeat offender in the noisy, badly behaved child department.
My husband and I go to the latest showings of the movies we want to see mostly to avoid crowds and kids and texting teens. Most of these late movies end after midnight. We also tend to see movies that that are unsuitable for small children, but for the past couple of years, neither the late hour nor the movie’s subject are deterrent enough for parents who want to bring their small toddlers and infants along. Several times, and lately, this last time watching HellBoy II, we were dismayed to discover small children in the theatre, and left to deal with the consequences of it while moms & dads happily ignored it all. This time, a young couple with a small toddler settled into the row in front of us. They gave him sips from their soda, and fed him candy, and sat back to enjoy the movie, obviously quite able to filter out the ruckus the child was causing.
He was whining, crying and fussing through the whole movie. We could see all these faces turning towards them in annoyance. The child would run up and down the row and then the aisle. When the child starting climbing around the seat by my husband, he lost his temper and leaned forward to the row in front of us, asking them to control their child.
I understand people want to watch a movie. I understand it is hard to find sitters and such, but I have to question the parenting of people 1) who take their child out past nine-o-clock to see a movie that ends at midnight; 2) who feed them sugar and caffeine and sweets, 3) who think it’s okay for the child to be startled by loud noises, and scary images on the big screen, and 4) who think it’s acceptable to destroy the movie experience for everyone else simply for the sake of their own convenience. It’s so inconsiderate it makes my jaw clench.
What ever happened to common consideration, anyway? It’s like everyone has equipped themselves with blinders that shield themselves from the fact that they are in the world with other people, and that somehow by not acknowledging them, they absolve themselves of being responsible for their effect on the public.
After these repeated events with small children, I complained to the theatre; and I was told that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) prevents them from keeping toddlers from late-night shows. The onus is therefore left on the people who are being imposed upon. We have to get up during the movie, go out to find one of the kids that works there, whose authoritative presence amounts to snot, and ask them to speak to the offending person. So, in short, I have to miss more of the already ruined movie to call the theatre’s attention to a problem they essentially cause by not heading it all off at the pass. If someone at the ticket counter looked down and saw the child, and said something like: “We allow children into the theatre at late shows, and in R-rated movies, however I must notify you that the child might be alarmed or bored and may disrupt the rest of the audience; so please be advised that if a disruption occurs, you will be asked to leave and to reimburse the whole audience that was disrupted for the $8 tickets they paid to see the movie” this would solve so many problems.
Okay, that’s harsh, but when going out to the movies is a rare treat, and when it costs so much in a crumbling economy and with tight finances, when we drive a distance to do so with present fuel costs, when we make sure we choose the latest possible showing to avoid the noise and din of inconsiderate people and hapless children and obnoxious, entitled teenagers with glowing cell-phones, I guess I just get angry that someone else can decide to ruin all of that for us, just because they can’t find a shred of consideration for anyone but themselves. It’s rude.
When I was a child and I mewled out of place, I would see the hard disapproving glare of my mother and chills would shudder down the back of my spine. If we dared to misbehave we were taken out to the car, or left at home.
I think there was something valuable in that. We know how to behave in public, we're good, considerate, polite people. Never once, were we allowed to behave like these kids do. Never once would we have been allowed to disrupt the adult world; not until we earned the right to. Unbelievable.