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Mike the Mad Biologist

I would have grabbed the kid and dropped him in the seat of his grandfather.

I agree with the whole post, but I would add one thing: kids who aren't well-behaved typically have parents who are inconsiderate in many ways, not just 'public' babysitting. Don't feel bad 'returning' the child; I'm sure the parents are jerks.

minstrel hussain boy

i would add it to the ever growing list of shit that isn't my job, or my business.

i've been doing my play christmas carols in the high end mall thing this month. four days a week i set up two celtic harps (one nylong strings, one brass strings) and play carols for the shoppers.

i have to keep a sharp eye out for kids that will be compelled to go to the harp i'm not playing and fuck with it. i try to be very tolerant but dude, harps are expensive. even the small ones running upwards of 1K. over and over i have seen parents plop their kids down near me and disappear.

usually when i see that this has happened i end the set right there, and try to engage them. if they refuse to engage and are determined on a course of destruction i let them engage with the mall cop.

even though there was a lot of freedom in our house, my kids were expected to behave themselves in public. that was simply something that was expected of me, and i expected from my kids.

my son got his nickname of "booger" from those early forays into public. when he was about three i was very used to getting unsolicited compliments on his extreme cuteness and his exemplary behavior. most of the time he would be asked "how old are you?" his game was to pretend that he was shy so he would either burrow his face into my shoulder or look down and away while holding up three fingers.

the next question was always "can you tell me your name?" that's when he would shout "BOOGER!" and laugh hysterically.

even at that tender age he knew that booger is a funny word.

Susie from Philly

I'd go over to the parents and say, "You know, you might not be thinking right now what it will mean to have undisciplined children with no self-control on the loose when they're teenagers, but I'm a probation officer and take my word for it, it's not fun. You should try to get a grip on them now. It can save you a trip to court later."

Sherri

I've been in that situation too many times; I was a stay at home mom (still am, but she's 15 now.) So I had to deal with this kind of situation regularly, and I no longer have any compunctions at all about taking said kid right to the parent. I learned the hard way that I had to demand respect from the kid and the parent, or I was going to spend a lot of time watching other peoples' kids for free. Like the time a "friend" was over two hours late picking her daughter up from my daughter's 6 year old birthday party...

Sue

Is the business owner willing to accept the liability that comes with having a secluded location (the gallery) that will attract children who wander away from parents for JUST ONE MINUTE, really I just turned my back and before I knew it my kid's upstairs bleeding?
Because that's how the lawsuit will go.
And it would not be fun to be part of that lawsuit because you were there and either did or did not help. I suggest you find a different place to wait out the lesson.

Mary H

What to do? My cousin has a sign in her kitchen that says, "All unruly children shall be given an espresso and a free puppy!"

Rana

Sympathies. My brother and I were children who got carried out of a few places, screaming, under a parent's arm when we were small and ill-behaved. I'd like to think we're decent adults now. (My mother still has a splendidly fierce glare and hiss, further honed by years assisting on occasion in the children's room of the library, that can stop nearly any small child in its tracks. I'd like to think that some day I'll have that power, too.)

voxpoptart

If there's two troublemakers with no visible parents, you should talk to the dojo's manager -- and if possible, haul them to the manager directly. If you can't bring them, though, it sounds like you'll have no problem pointing them out. Suggest that the dojo is at risk of losing customers. It is, or should be, true, after all.

Rob

Maybe I'm cynical, being without children, but the way I see it is if the owner / manager of the establishment is unable to convince parents that order is expected in their establishment, I just never go back there. I don't want to give my money to a business that sets itself up as a jungle gym for hyperactive kids.

Because there's nothing I *can* do. This is America, which means that anything I say to a parent whos "busy" on a cell phone call or kvetching with someone or getting their drink on with old college buddies while their children run wild *will* be met with an indignant and self-righteous, "Don't you *dare* tell *me* how to parent *my* child!" Which accomplishes nothing except to make them feel they got one over on some interloping jerk and make me feel like I am one.

So yeah: the business owner takes it in the seat, even though it's not their fault that some parents are the worst people in the world.

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