09/02/2013

Are our children well-behaved?


The low-cost airline Scoot, which is the budget arm of Singapore Airlines, has banned pre-teen children from the first seven rows of the economy class section. This section is now called the ScootinSilence area, and is available to passengers willing to pay a supplement to avoid being next to unruly children. Last Thursday, 29 August, the "Le Matin" newspaper questioned its readers about this, receiving a variety of responses. The last of these responses said simply that parents should educate their children properly.

I thought of this when I read on that same day a small article in the Daily Telegraph which reported that Lord Rothschild was seen waiting quietly in a queue for an easyJet flight from Corfu. Apparently he did not even pay an extra fee for speedy boarding.

The same article noted that his son, Nat Rothschild did not seem to have inherited his father's pecuniary behaviour. Instead, to celebrate his fortieth birthday, he spent a million pounds hosting a party in the port of Montenegro. It was reported that there were private jets galore.

On that same day again (29 August) in a separate report in the Daily Telegraph, there was a report that the 17 year-old son of a Chinese general had been put on trial as one of the persons involved in a gang rape. His father and mother are both well known as members of the People's Liberation Army. Apparently the excessive behaviour of these young people has led to them being called "princelings": a description that could be equally well applied to children of the rich and famous in many other countries.

Coincidentally, right now in India there are many people very angry that a 17 year-old teenager involved in a gang rape that caused the death of the girl who was raped, has escaped with a sentence of just 3 years in a youth prison.

One conclusion that can be argued is that the age limits for being treated as children may no longer be valid, in that children these days develop much more rapidly and are exposed much earlier to things which my generation knew very little about. It is also arguable that for some particularly horrible crimes the age limit could be lowered if medical and psychiatric evidence shows that the "child" was well aware of what he or she was doing.

There is, however, another aspect that we might all consider, especially those of us that are not under financial or other constraints. Do we spend enough time explaining to our children what is right and what is wrong? Do we avoid excessive spending on what they want, even on limiting their pocket money to reasonable amounts, rather than what we could afford? Do we insist that they behave in a polite and reasonable manner at all times? Or do we give them plenty of things just so that we can get the same sort of peace and quiet as those air passengers paying a little extra?

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Who knows!

Posted by: Patoucha | 09/02/2013

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