That old, much-mocked Victorian proverb — children should be seen and not heard — has been replaced by a new dictum in child-centric Britain: children must be seen, heard, celebrated, praised and obeyed all of the time.
Once children were expected to fit themselves around the needs of grown-ups; now it’s the other way around. In progressive minded households, children are regarded as mini-adults with rights who must be consulted on all family matters.
We used to have something called adult time and adult spaces. It gave parents and kids a break to do their own things. Adults were mysterious creatures; now they’re your best mates (or want to be). We have kiddie time, all the time. There’s no social segregation.
In child-centric Britain, there is one great taboo no one dares to break so let me be the first: your child is not fascinating to other people. Sorry. Those photographs you put of them on Facebook and their cute sayings and their drawings and your discussions at dinner parties about your children’s educational attainments? Stop it. You’re boring us to death.
This is a good point too, although I think it stems more from parents’ sense of entitlement than anything:
Yes, I know that babies have always cried; but not like this generation. What makes it worse is that parents used to feel embarrassed and concerned about the distress their bawling baby inflicted upon innocent members of the public. Not now.
I did when I was a young father in the 1980s. If I was in a restaurant and my baby son was crying I would take him out of the restaurant and settle him down — and then return to my table. But times have changed. The onus is no longer on the parent to remove a crying baby — the onus is on you to get up right in the middle of your meal and find another table as far from the maddening cry of the baby as possible.
Nowadays, parenting consists in part of yelling at members of the public that a child has “every right” to do X, Y, and Z. Which is true, but pleasant society isn’t going to last long if polite social conventions are abandoned in favour of legal rights.
Alas, the conclusion is grim:
I realised then that the battle for Britain is over: babies and their kind have won.
I tend to agree, especially so given how much legislation is drawn up by semi-functioning adults for the supposed benefit of their children, with some of it even being derived from a kid’s homework.