Saelynn's Blog

Passions of a library nerd

On Children (or rather people with children)

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Working in a public library is great most of the time. But I do not work with children or teens most of the times.  I am very lucky to work in a municipality where the majority of users are adults, and that the Youth Department is two floors above me.

Children are our future. I get that, also, that most people end up having children. That is also great.  But there are a couple of things that really bother me as someone who works in a public space and lives in an apartment.

For the library- it really bothers me that the caretakers of children cannot seem to arrive on time to a program, often arriving up until the program is over. It is not only rude and disruptive, but it sets an example to kids that functionality is not important.  Also, that interrupting people is fine. I do get that wrangling children is often difficult- I babysat for years, but if you know that functionally is an issue, start planning to arrive early, and then up arriving on time!  There is also the use/ownership of space issue.  We get people who become upset that there isn’t a  “family room” on every floor, or that the kids aren’t allowed to run down concrete stairs, yell in quiet areas, or get titchy when I suggest that changing a child on a chair that people sit on isn’t the greatest idea.

As a childless person who lives in a building with multiple units, I have more problems. I have been lucky enough for the past year to live in a group of townhouses which share a common courtyard. This space is safe, closed in and very lovely.  But unusable to most people. Why?  Because it has become a playground. There are several young children who use the space to play, which would be okay if it was occasional and their parents reminded them to be courteous to the other residents. Sidewalk chalk on the ground is okay, it washes off. Sidewalk chalk on the walls, is less nice. Especially when their parents seem completely disinterested in cleaning it off. Play for a bit is okay, yelling for hours and hours is not. If adults are restricted to certain hours of evening noise, children and their parents should be encouraged to use local parks and recreation centres.

Mostly my frustration come fromthe societal belief that children can do no wrong, and that calling them on their behavior (telling them to stop crawling on tables, please be quiet) is not allowed. I have even heard someone say that you cannot ever tell a caretaker that their child is wrong/disruptive. This bothers me. When I hear people complain about the rudeness of today’s youth and their sense of entitlement, I see it starting with their caretakers at home, and in public spaces.

This is a rather cranky post, but my complaints are aimed at less than 20% of caretakers, most people with children are fine.

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Written by saelynn

May 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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