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To think that small children should be encouraged to give up their seats?

(73 Posts)
Grannyknot Wed 31-Oct-12 19:27:34

Long day at work. Disruption on trains. Packed with London commuters, and because it's half term - lots and lots of jolly mums, dads, etc with expensive pushchairs, assorted kids and all the paraphernalia that shouts 'ooh see what a good/organised/thoughtful/well-to-do/trendy mother I am'. My hair is completely grey, I am sure I looked tired, laden with briefcase etc. Am I being unreasonable to expect that one of those (mainly) women might have thought to say to e.g. a 5 year old - 'Why don't you stand next to me, hold on to that pole really tightly, and give the nice lady a seat?'! What the hell has happened to teaching your child MANNERS. angry. I almost sat on the floor.

Ana Wed 31-Oct-12 22:51:29

I don't know how Yummy Mummies got into this discussion - they tend not to use public transport! confused

vampirequeen Wed 31-Oct-12 22:52:15

The child should either stand or sit on mother's knee. As a child I stood automatically and still do for pregnant women, the elderly or anyone who appears to need the seat more than me.

Deedaa Wed 31-Oct-12 23:16:38

Having worked in a coffee shop where we had a lot of yummy mummies I would say they are loud, well off, so beautifully turned out that the child has obviously be fed and got ready by the au pair, frequently seem to have difficulty remembering the child's name and spend their time glued to their mobile - or, nowadays, their ipad.
My GS is six and is usually pretty good about saying please and thankyou, and always holds doors open for people and says "You're welcome" when they thank him (often of course they don't [SAD]) It sounds awful but we don't really use public transport so the seat giving up hasn't arisen, but I hope it's a habit he'll pick up as he gets older.

Sook Wed 31-Oct-12 23:38:23

petallus what that woman did was inconsiderate and cowardly with no respect for the kindness shown to her by your (then) young friend. I do agree that respect and consideration should be a reciprocal arrangement but unfortunately it's not always the case. I would be the first to pipe up if I thought a childs good manners or consideration were not appreciated.

Bags Thu 01-Nov-12 07:27:21

Some young mothers are a bit gormless. I was on a busy bus the other day. Some people were standing. On the seat behind me was a very young mother and a child of about two, perhaps less than two. As thr bus filled up, the girl said to the child: "Do you want to sit on my knee so that someone else can sit down?" The child refused.

Sigh. Why was the girl asking the child? What she should have done is just put the child on her knee, explained why if necessary (if the child objected) and not put up with any nonsense.

Not that I'm blaming the child; it was too young to know what was going on.

On the other hand, I often encounter perfect politeness and consideration on buses by people of all ages. I don't think it's an age thing. Some people are just more thougtful (less selfish) than others right across the range of ages. School children at our local academy are taught how to be polite and considerate and on the whole they are.

Greatnan Thu 01-Nov-12 07:44:12

I don't think entitlement comes into it. When I used to use public transport, I would always offer my seat to anyone, of any age or gender, if they seemed to need it more than I did.
It has nothing to do with respect or duty - it is simple kindness.
I used to travel from Victoria to Rainham (Kent) before I moved into London, and one of my male colleagues got the same train. It is about an hour's journey. He did explain that he rushed to get to the station in time to get a seat and he saw no reason why he should give it up to some young woman who arrived after him. I took his point.

JessM Thu 01-Nov-12 07:45:44

I was heartened by a recent report by Dneice (22). A London commuter. We were talking about people occupying priority seats on tube. She said that one morning she was standing next to a pale looking pregnant woman. She was so outraged that no one gave up her seat she said in a loud voice "Which one of you is going to give up your seat for this pregnant woman?" to instant effect.
Trouble with us brits is that we are much too shy and retiring about drawing attention to ourselves in public. Or asking for help.
e.g. Excuse me, I am feeling rather faint, I wonder if one of you could let me have a seat.
I once, recklessly, offered to take another niece plus buggy from central london to the suburbs by tube and bus. shock People did not tend to offer help. I just accosted passers by and said "Excuse me could you give me a hand with the buggy please"

JessM Thu 01-Nov-12 07:48:52

Sitting on the floor sounds like a good plan.

Greatnan Thu 01-Nov-12 07:52:21

I have to use the train to get to Geneva airport sometimes, and at some stations there are no lifts or ramps, and if the platform I need is on the other side of the tracks it means carrying my case up a steep flight of stairs and down the other side. I now don't wait for any man to volunteer - I just ask them, in French, if they will help me. They look a bit surprised but nobody has refused. In the same way, if I needed a seat on a bus I would ask the nearest healthy looking person to give me one. I do realise that some people can look well but in fact have some condition that makes it hard for them to stand but in general people can be shamed into it.

absentgrana Thu 01-Nov-12 07:55:31

It is very thoughtless of mummies to be travelling with small children during the rush hour unless it is essential. It's unpleasant for the child and a nuisance for commuters.

When absentdaughter was little we had a rule that she could sit on a seat in a bus or tube train as long as there were enough seats for adults. If there weren't, she had to sit on my lap or stand next to me if she wanted to.

In 1990 I broke my leg very badly and, following surgery, it was encased in a fibreglass "plaster". You cannot put any weight on this sort of "plaster" and anyway I was told not to put any weight on my foot at the risk of doing further, possibly irreversible injury. I didn't go out a lot but one day went into work on the tube. I stood directly in front of a young man who was occupying one of those seats with a sign saying "Please give up this seat to an elderly or disablerd person" or words to that effect. He just stared at me standing leaning on my crutches. I actually had to ask him to let me sit down.

Bags Thu 01-Nov-12 08:01:15

I agree that asking for help gets results. I always ask for help if I need it. Once, when I was heavily pregnant and standing on a packed bus (I was actually fine with the standing), I found the stuffiness unpleasant and asked someone to open a window. Several people then offered me a seat. Sometimes I think people just don't notice others. Again, some people are more observant than others and some are just readier to be kind and helpful. And that's what helping people is – kindness. Nothing to do with respect, unless you regard being kind as having respect for other people, which I suppose it is.

Jodi Thu 01-Nov-12 08:03:28

I rarely take the bus these days, but took my two oldest grandchildren into town by bus as a treat yesterday. The bus filled up and when an elderly lady with a stick got on there were no seats left. She glowered at everyone, huffing and puffing her way along the bus. A young mother offered ups seat by sitting her toddler on her knee. Did she get a thank you? No. What the old witch actually said was 'about time too'.
As I was getting off the bus I stopped by her seat and told her she was very rude and giving us all a bad name.

Bags Thu 01-Nov-12 08:05:58

Good for you, jodi.

Greatnan Thu 01-Nov-12 08:22:04

When I held doors open for people, or moved to let my neighbour out of the window seat on a bus or train, if they did not say 'Thank you' I would say very loudly 'I'm sorry, I didn't hear you'. They would look puzzled and say 'I didn't say anything' and I could then say, equally loudly, 'Oh, I thought you said thank you'.
I wasn't always this bolshy - confidence came with age. My daughters would be very embarrassed but now they are old enough to speak up too! No doubt they embarrass their own daughters.

Grannyknot Thu 01-Nov-12 08:45:32

I don't know how suggesting that small children be taught manners translates into them being viewed as second class citizens. I smile at the description of the old witch on the bus, there are certainly plenty of those around too. For me the best solution would have been taking the maybe tired, maybe at-risk-of-being-pushed-off-the-train-i- the-crush, perhaps just as deserving of the seat as me, small child on the adult's lap and teaching them about consideration for others.

petallus Thu 01-Nov-12 09:18:02

I cannot disagree that it would be courteous, considerate and kind for a parent to put a small child on their lap and offer a tired looking elderly person a seat.

What I am not so keen on is the 'teach them some manners' attitude' which seems to stem from a sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude, as demonstrated by the grumpy woman someone mentioned.

But am I the only one who doesn't want to be offered a seat? I often find myself on the London underground where many people are standing and a fair number of those sitting down are young men.

I actually make an effort to look particularly fit for my age (nearly 70) and don't catch the eye of any of those with a seat because I really don't want one of them to offer it to me. If they do I feel somehow diminished and old and less exuberant than I was.

I may be like my father who fiercely guarded his independence right up to the end of his life at age 86. He could hardly stagger around the supermarket but I didn't dare offer to help him through the checkout. He could be quite cutting.

Grannyknot Thu 01-Nov-12 10:19:39

No petallus you're not the only one, I can be that person too sometimes. But when I am tired I am always grateful to someone who has the sensitivity to offer me the chance of sitting down.

yogagran Thu 01-Nov-12 10:45:49

Referring to Bags post at 07.21 this morning - I think it's a mistake to ask children if they want to do something when really there is no choice in some circumstances. I often hear mothers saying something like: "Do you want to have a sleep", "Do you want to put your coat on". Too much choice is confusing for a young child when they should perhaps just be issued with an instruction with no option to refuse.

Jodi loved your pointed, sarcastic comment grin

Mishap Thu 01-Nov-12 11:18:34

But people should not be standing in trains anyway! - I really resent paying for a seat and finshing up standing. If ever I do use trains I try to go at quiet times as my hip will not allow me to stand for the duration of a journey.

We should not take this lying down (standing up?!) - it is a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act maybe?! The service we are being offered is not of "merchantable quality"!

yogagran Thu 01-Nov-12 13:01:51

Oh wow mishap that sounds like a battle cry. I think we need to fall in behind her for this campaign [banner waving emoticon]

granjura Thu 01-Nov-12 13:58:58

Nobody is saying children are second class citizens, surely - but that they shouldn't be over-indulged, as so many children are nowadays.

So I agree, maybe a small child shouldn't stand, but certainly the MOTHER should have taken her child on her knee and allowed you to sit.

JessM Thu 01-Nov-12 16:42:03

Gosh petallus are you really? Would not have guessed.

granjura Thu 01-Nov-12 16:47:13

And that stupid advert about a woman being so delighted that her face cream keeps her so young that nobody offered her a seat- and sees that as a triumph! What a shame that we can't accept a form of respect and kindness with a smile- does not mean that we are 'old' but more mature.

Sook Thu 01-Nov-12 17:34:47

Good for you Jodi and you too Greatnan

nanaej Thu 01-Nov-12 19:55:02

Why don't you stand next to me, hold on to that pole really tightly, and give the nice lady a seat?' I assumed the mum was already standing to give her ch a seat. As I said earlier it would be appropriate for a parent to put a child on their knee to release a seat.

My DGDs frequently travel by public transport as DD does not drive & the always aim to avoid rush hour but not always as easy as it sounds when you are dependent on pubic transport!

I regularly took school children on trains/tubes and would not believe the miserable old buggers who cursed us and elbowed the kids out of the way to push to the front because they thought they had more 'right' than the children.

So good/bad manners at all ages/stages of life in my experience and we all have a responsibility to model good social behaviour!