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Teach Your Children Well (and How Not to be Buttheads)

Last week my family spent the day at a museum. There were several school groups at the museum, one of being entirely comprised of teenagers. Since we had a stroller and the museum was three levels, we had to take an elevator several times. On our first trip up to the third floor the doors opened and a dozen teenagers attempted to rush in to the already full elevator (full with my family + stroller that wanted off) I finally had to yell at them to back up and let us out, I assumed they had no chaperone and that was why they were all breathing down the elevator shaft. However, once I made it off I was surprised to see a grown up chaperone at the back staring at me like I was the crazy one.

My seven-year-old still thinks farts are hilarious, but even she knows to stand back a fair distance and wait for people to exit an elevator before she gets on.

As parents we teach by example, sometimes we don’t even have to be parents, humans in general teach and lead by example. When someone sees someone else do something kind or considerate, they are more likely to do something kind and considerate in the near future. That’s not a horrible chain of events to have happen, is it?

There are a few things in particular (elevator included) that I try to be conscious of, especially when it comes to teaching opportunities with my own girls. What follows are ten basic things all humans should take note of and that all kids should know by the time they leave the nest.


  • Elevator Etiquette 1 of 10
    Elevator Etiquette
    When waiting outside an elevator, do not rush the doors as soon as they open. Wait far enough back that the people getting off the elevator don't have to shoulder check you or play chicken to make it out. When there are stairs available and you have working legs and no stroller or wheelchair, elevator goes to the elderly, the strollers or the wheelchairs. Always ask others what floor they need if you are closest to the buttons.
  • Movie Talking 2 of 10
    Movie Talking
    Do not talk during movies. People can hear you. People paid money to see the movie, not listen to your witty commentary. Laugh at the funny parts, gasp at the scary parts, cry at the weepy parts but do not chatter on about all the other parts. If you have to? SIX INCH WHISPER TO AN EAR THAT IS SIX INCHES AWAY FROM YOU. Many of the people who paid good money to see the same movie you're seeing are parents who only get to see one movie in a theater each year. You know who you don't want to piss off with your motormouth? Parents who finally managed a legit date night. Also, when you have kids of your own? LEAVE THEM AT HOME WHEN/IF SEEING A RATED 'R' MOVIE.
  • Rental Rights 3 of 10
    Rental Rights
    When choosing a movie from Redbox or other movie rental kiosk, pay attention to what's going on around you. If someone just has to drop a movie off? Please step to the side and let them. On more than one occasion I have been stuck behind THAT couple, the one who reads every last plot synopsis, debates the rating and argues about who got to pick the last movie when all I have to do is drop off a rental or pick up a reservation. Redbox has an app, argue about the movies on your phone in the car or at home on your computer THEN go to the kiosk to complete your purchase. Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Baggage Claim Blunders 4 of 10
    Baggage Claim Blunders
    For the love, do not stand shoulder to shoulder, right in front of the luggage carousel. Take four steps back, when your bag appears, take four steps forward, grab it and go. I hate having to worm my way through people eagerly awaiting their bag then getting dirty looks when I bang them in the shin with my bag because they couldn't stand back four feet. Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Give Up Your Seat 5 of 10
    Give Up Your Seat
    Give up your seat whenever the opportunity arises, especially for the elderly. Sitting is overrated, if you can stand? Let someone else sit, you never know what kind of day they have had. If it's obvious they need the seat but don't want to take you up on your offer? Say "I"m standing regardless so if you don't sit someone else will." Say it nicely of course, but make sure they know you mean business. So few people pay attention to who is around them anymore, offering up your seat to someone who needs it shows that there are people out there who still care.
  • Driving Difficulties 6 of 10
    Driving Difficulties
    If someone is driving too slow, consider the fact that they may have a wedding cake in their backseat. If they go to fast or take a corner too hard that wedding cake will end up all over their car. Can you imagine washing smashed wedding cake out of your car? If someone is driving too fast? They probably just got the worst news of their life and they are rushing to a hospital. Sure, it's not the case for every slow or fast driver, but it is the case for some drivers. Benefit of the doubt will take you a long way.
  • Hold the Door 7 of 10
    Hold the Door
    Hold doors for people, no matter what you are or who they are. If you're strong enough to hold a door open and you're not rushing into a hospital because you're bleeding, take a moment to look behind you. If someone is a few steps away? Hold the door. If someone is coming towards you? Hold the door. Especially if they have a bunch of bags or kids with them. Nothing impresses me more than when teenagers go out of their way to hold the door for me when I have a stroller. Photo Credit: Flickr
  • shopping 8 of 10
    shopping
    If you have a cart full of a thousand items? Look behind you before you unload, if someone is behind you with only one thing? Let them go in front of you. This one isn't a huge deal, but it's nice to be noticed and it's nice to be able to get in and get out when you really only do need one thing. I always feel terrible when I forget to look, load up the belt, and find a little old lady holding one can of cat food behind me.
  • Curb the Potty Mouth 9 of 10
    Curb the Potty Mouth
    Swear all you want when people you know are around. When you're in public? Keep the swears to a minimum, especially when there are kids around. A lot of parents do not swear in front of their children and for very good reason. It doesn't make you look cool or appear tougher. It makes me want to throttle you. Show some respect for yourself and the people around you and curb the effing potty mouth when among the general public.
  • Don’t Just Stop 10 of 10
    Don't Just Stop
    When walking with or in a crowd in one direction, DO NOT JUST STOP. Glance behind you (while still moving) work your way towards the edge then stop. If you do have to do an immediate stop, at least attempt a glance behind you so no one ends up with their nose in your neck, that's just awkward.

Remember, your kids are watching you. Especially when you drive. Since kids don’t drive they’re going to model your behavior in other areas of their life (which is why Addie once screamed “OUTTA THE WAY IDIOT!” while playing MarioKart with the family one night. *sideways eyes to Cody*)

Send good, considerate people out into the world, it’s really the best thing you can do for society.

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Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble’s Toddler Times. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

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