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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.

petallus Thu 01-Nov-12 20:10:11

Ooo-er JessM hmm

BurgundyGran Sat 03-Nov-12 20:16:18

I must say this. When you say children should give up their seats for 'grown ups' please take one moment and think - is that child able to stand for a, what might be a longish journey.

When my brother was around 6, I was travelling with him and my mum on the bus. My mum always put my brother by the window and she sat on the outside seat. A very self important man said to my mother that my brother should give up his seat for him. My mother looked at the man and said, ' you look fit enough to me, in order to stand.' then the man started to lecture my mum on not bringing my brother up properly!' My mother said the man knew nothing about my brother and then opened my brother's shirt to reveal a scar that went from the centre of his chest and went round under the arm and across his back. My mother said he has only a quarter of his lung, cannot stand or walk for long and has not long come out of hospital. the man apologised but is showed he just didn't think about anyone than himself. Children are obviously supposed to be A1, never be ill, would never have serious problems.

My brother has fought all his life to be as well as he can and a lot of times he has had to be hospitalised due to breathing problems. He has worked all his life, has a wonderful family, despite his health problems got a good education, but is now having to visit the hospital more often.

Would you know if a child had Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis, breathing problems, was deaf, was asthmatic, had other debilitating illnesses that are 'hidden illness'?

Three out of my five grandchildren were born prematurely. One has lung problems as a result of being premature. The twins have problems with their ears.

I might be a bit tough on you but you cannot lump everyone in one box. If you are so knackered you need a seat, you can reserve a seat, or ask the parent/guardian of the child if they are ABLE to stand and let you have their seat. That way no one will be embarassed, annoyed, upset, feel threatened. My brother wasn't able to stand up for himself we had to do it for him, my mother didn't want to get angry with the man but he was agressive to her.

Ana Sat 03-Nov-12 20:37:57

I wouldn't expect a child to stand, but I do think there are many occasions where a child could sit on a parent's knee to allow an older, frailer person or a pregnant woman to have a seat.
What annoys me is when a mother (it's usually a mother) seems to think their three-year-old is 'entitled' to its free seat while others who have paid full price have to stand.

nanaej Sat 03-Nov-12 21:20:07

Maybe train companies ought to say that if a child is traveling free due to their age they should not occupy a seat if paying passengers are standing, Tricky for parents of a number of under 5s though!

Bags Sat 03-Nov-12 21:43:57

Once when I was travelling on a packed train with two small children and there were no seats (it was before one was advised to book seats), someone very kindly offered me a seat. I out the kids on the seat for safety's sake and I sat on the floor next to them.

Bags Sat 03-Nov-12 21:44:17

put the kids

Ana Sat 03-Nov-12 21:47:19

Difficult to do on a bus, though (sitting on the floor).

Ella46 Sat 03-Nov-12 21:53:47

I'm afraid that I wouldn't want to sit on the floor of a train or bus. People are always vomiting or treading doggy doo all over them!
Yes, I know they get cleaned but even so [yuk emoticon]

petallus Sun 04-Nov-12 10:21:36

I found a thread on Mumsnet where the OP asked if adults should give up their seat to small children travelling on trains, including the underground.

The majority of posters said they would give up their seat to a child, especially on the tube, as small children could be crushed by standing adults and don't have a very good sense of balance.

One mother spoke of her small child being knocked over by adults rushing to get the few available seats.

So, a different perspective from ours on this thread?

JessM Sun 04-Nov-12 11:00:33

There are indeed times when you would not want to make your Gd or GS stand on public transport, if they are too big to sit on a lap etc. but still small. Difficult area isn't it.

Bags Sun 04-Nov-12 12:03:48

The only vomit I've ever seen on a train came from my child, and it was on the seat, not the floor. Fortunately I had a supply of kitchen roll, a flannel (and about twenty trips to and from the train washbasin), and some baby wipes to clean up with, plus a supply of plastic bags to tie the rubbish up in. Oh, and a separate bag for her dress.

Another passenger on the train held the eight month old baby while I cleaned up the two year old and the train.

"always vomiting"? Oh, come now.

My dad met us by pre-arrangement (this was pre-mobile phone time) at the station. DD was dressed in her knickers and vest and an anorak, though the helpful other passenger did ask if I wanted help getting a clean dress for DD out of the suitcase.

Coper is one of my middle names.

baubles Sun 04-Nov-12 14:07:01

Bags that brought back memories of a car journey from Glasgow to Dublin via the Belfast ferry two years ago. DH and I were travelling with DD and DG1 aged 8 months. We were on the very last leg of the journey, less than an hour from our destination when I noticed the baby in the car seat beside me had gone quite pale. My cry of 'she's going to be sick' exactly coincided with the explosion of vomit from said child!

Without a word my DH pulled over & he pulled out my 'cleaning up sick' carrier bag and set to work while I got the baby out of the seat, stripped, cleaned and changed her. We had everything done & dusted in 15 minutes. I can honestly say that the look of complete admiration on DDs face was priceless. smile

Bags Sun 04-Nov-12 14:11:04

baubles wink

Mind you, my DD1 seems to have followed in her mother's organised footsteps grin

GillieB Sun 04-Nov-12 17:31:28

I don't often use public transport but occasionally have to use the Newcastle Metro - it was very packed one day and I was tottering as usual. A lovely young man offered me his seat and I said "Thank you. Your mother should be proud of you". A voice came from behind me, "I am!".

I, too, have read the threads on Mumsnet that young children should not stand on buses and trains - whilst I have some sympathy for this view, I do wonder when we went to this position; when I was young it was unheard of for children to take priority over any adults - basically you gave up your seat to anyone older than you. We Grans seem to have had it bad both ways - we gave up our seats for older people, but now we have to give them up for youngsters. It obviously all depends on individual circumstances.

absentgrana Mon 05-Nov-12 16:01:05

GillieB Your second paragraph reminds of something that Libby Purves wrote about some time ago. She said that when she was a child, the adults had the chicken breast and the children made do with legs and wings. When she became a mother, the children had the chicken breast and the adults made do with legs and wings. "When," she pleaded, "do I get the chicken breast?" smile

seasider Tue 06-Nov-12 23:38:02

When I was young buses always had a sign that said young children should not occupy a seat whilst full fare paying passengers are standing. I always had to stand up for adults and I encourage my DS/DGCs to do the same. I think it encourages children to show respect for adults that follows through to other areas of their life. I love my DS and DGCs dearly but do not want them to grow up thinking the world revolves round them as so many children seem to do now.

GadaboutGran Wed 07-Nov-12 14:46:54

I am often surprised by perfectly fit children not moving up to share a seat or sitting on knees when others are standing. I even saw a very over-indulged boy of about 10 sitting while his parents stood.

However, with young grandchildren, when on the Tube I do politely ask people to move so I can position a buggy in the space for this purpose and I either keep one in the buggy and 1 on my knee or have both on one seat where I can keep hold of them.

Last week I took them on an hour long journey by train to see grt gran in Sherborne. Only 3 coaches on the train and it was really full though most double seats only had one adult hogging both. No one moved when I asked f anyone could give us a pair of seats so we could stay together. In the end we sat on a four seater with table so GD could sew and GS could read and draw. The people next to us made no attempt to move up or give us half the table. The kids were brilliant for the whole journey but my knee ached by the end. The pre-rush hour homeward train was even more crowded and we sat in a pokey place for bikes. Having worked with survivors of train crashes, safety is paramount & I don't want very young kids out of my reach.

Fergie Tue 20-Nov-12 13:44:38

OF COURSE a child should give an older woman a seat! It's about manners and consideration, and if the accompanying parent tells the child to stand for someone else, they are teaching them good manners which is only a good thing. They are also teaching them empathy and the ability to imagine how other people feel. I travel on the London tube (I'm a 65-year-old woman) and would always give up my seat to someone who was pregnant or who looked more infirm - even when the strong younger men in the same carriage avert their gaze and stay firmly in their seats. I love the story about the German teenagers. A friend of mine says that when she's on the tube, the men who stand up are invariably foreign. I wonder if this is true. Is there a message here?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 20-Nov-12 14:10:46

pet topic of mine! If there are people standing DD goes straight onto my lap - no question about it. Drives me NUTS when people don't do the same. Just saying grin

petallus Tue 20-Nov-12 15:42:27

The OP suggested SMALL children should STAND, holding on to a pole really tightly.

Small children, in a crowded train, surrounded by big tall adults?

I think not.

Small children sitting on their mothers' knees fine!

Grannyknot Tue 20-Nov-12 16:28:01

Whoops, haven't revisited this thread for a while. Thanks so much for all the comments (and I did feel better for venting) - and thanks especially fergie. As OP - I stand by what I suggested which is that a small child could safely stand, close to his/her parent - the latter being either seated or standing - and learn at the same time about the importance of holding on, or of course taken on the parent's knee. Maybe I should have said "say a 5 to 7 year old, or a child who is capable of standing competiently" - but I clearly didn't mean a toddler or a child still unsteady on their feet.

thecraftymermaid Fri 23-Nov-12 20:29:23

Not unreasonable, I grew up in London and we used public transport all the time and it would have been unthinkable for a child to have a seat on a bus when adults were standing! It is just, at least it was, manners.