My friend Jeremy and I went to see a 9:30pm showing of Toy Story 3 last night in the theaters, as I had some time to kill between small group and work. It was the two of us, a family of four, and a family of three. The family of four consisted of the parents and their two teenage daughters. The family of three consisted of the parents and their 2, maybe 3, year old son. This toddler proceeded to range about all over the theater, up and down to stairs, into various aisles with little parental supervision. He also cried, fussed, and screamed constantly throughout the movie. The one thing he hardly did at all, apparently, was watch the actual movie.
There are several issues I have with these people claiming to be parents, but who clearly lack a basic capacity to do any such thing as parenting. The child was loosely supervised. Jeremy told me afterward that the child actually kicked him in the head at one point while he was sitting behind us during the course of his traversing the confnes of the theater. No apology by the parents or acknowledgement of said kicking. Any attempt to reign the child in results in distracting cried and excessive fussing.
Here are some general rules of thumb of parenting from a person who is probably the least qualifed to offer it:
1. Don’t bring your toddler to a movie theater to watch a movie, even to a children’s movie. Always bring the movies to them until they are or an old enough age that they can sit relatively quiet throughout the entire movie. I realize kids will be kids and that they may talk during a movie or ask questions, but they should be able to sit there next to their parent and do it. I don’t know what the exact age minimum is that would be acceptable, but the earliest theater experience I can remember was Transformers: The Movie, which came out when I was five.
2. Don’t let your child roam free in a public setting with total disregard and complete lack of consideration for the people around you. If your kid manages to break free and actually kick someone in the head, apologize. Lock. It. Up.
3. Don’t take your toddler to a 9:30pm showing of a movie. On a weeknight! Seriously! What are you thinking? I never remember staying up until nearly 11:30 as a child, let alone because my parents thought it would be a good idea to take me to a theater to see a movie. I half imagine that part of the reason the child was fussing the whole time was because he was tired and cranky.
I know this doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of “Worst Parents in th World” but at the same time, I still think these two were pretty awfl parents and I just imagined that they probably let their T.V. babysit their child for long stretches among other stereotypically bad parental performances.
Ugh. Luckily for me, I had already seen the movie on opening weekend. Jeremy had yet to see it, and he said the toddler was very distracting, though he did really like the movie.