Picture this dream scenario: My family of five is sitting and waiting in the stuffy, crowded lobby of our local family restaurant.
We are impatient.
We are hangry.
Suddenly, my youngest begins to scream.
She wants to sit on the same side of me as her older brother, and his refusal to move at her command causes the onslaught of what many parents dread in a public place - a full-blooded temper tantrum.
Embarrassed, I pick her up under my arm and dash out the door as quickly as I can.
My husband and I have a mutual understanding that with the first squeal, or scream, we grab our fussy child and get them the heck out!
Some parents, on the other hand, choose to respond in a different way.
A story recently shared on the TODAY Parents website has sparked a two-sided debate about kids and noise, and it’s one that may have you wanting to plug your ears.
The post - titled, “I’ll never apologize for my noisy kids, and parents, you shouldn’t either” - shares one mom’s perspective on how she manages the noise volume of her three young kids.
In short, she doesn’t.
The author explains, "You are hearing noise because children are meant to be heard. All of their noise — their happy noises, their curious noises and their range of noises that express the gamut of emotions they feel daily." And she’s not just referring to the happy giggles of children at play on your neighbourhood cul-de-sac. She shares that her children are free to make all the noise they please, “be it inside of our home or when we visit yours. Out at a grocery store or inside a restaurant.”
In response to opposing views that allowing her children to make all the noise they want may be a sign of disrespect in public places, she rebuts: “There is absolutely nothing disrespectful about love.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could shout out every emotion that they’re feeling, at any volume and in any place they please, regardless of their surroundings and the sensitivities of others who surround them?
No, it wouldn’t. Most of us have learned there’s a time and place for certain behaviours, and I strive to teach my children the same.
When we visit a library, a restaurant, or a retail store where lower volumes are expected, my children should not act in the same way as they would in an outdoor playground or in their own backyard.
I want my children to learn to be considerate of others, not to expect others to always conform to them should they feel the need to “express the gamut of emotions” that they may be feeling at any given time.
In public places, where a certain noise level is expected, inside voices are simply mandatory for this mom.
Perhaps you’ll never apologize for your noisy kids, but I sure will.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her online at @bitsofbee.