leave your kids home

Pic courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net

A dying father was deep in conversation with his young son. The father, a billionaire, was on his death-bed stricken with a disease that was finally taking his life away. The son felt like an alien, his face hardened, eyes averted. The father reaches out to the son. His words struggling to offer explanation for his absence for all the years he missed when his son was growing up. Suddenly, a child’s piercing scream is heard.
Even the father would have jumped out of his death-bed and crouched in fear. But he was protected. This was a scene in the movie – Amazing Spiderman -2. Though the actors were spared the terror, we were not. A toddler was out to wreak her revenge on her family and mankind.

“You get up dad! You get up! YOU GET UP!” she yelled in her scratchy voice till all of us sitting many seats away were willing to get up and give our seats as long as she would shut up. Her embarrassed dad got up and stood in the aisle. The mom must have tried to quieten her but it had the opposite effect. The girl started babbling even more loudly if possible. She found this the right time to carry out a loud monologue in Hindi while we squirmed. The scene was lost in the pandemonium. The parents still stuck on. She continued chattering loudly drowning out the already very loud Dolby sound in the auditorium, but her parents just pressed on!

My husband and I had not bargained for a raging headache when we decided to watch this latest craze of a movie with our kids. The place was teeming with kids of all age groups and their parents/guardians. Some of the older kids would spontaneously launch into conversations forgetting that it was not their living room that they were seated in. The younger ones are a goddamned menace. They don’t listen to anyone least of all their own parents. They talk, yell, and sing, just about anything to drown their boredom in watching a movie they don’t understand a word of. Why are they taken to such movies in the first place? I had seen parents bringing little kids to Life of Pi. Life of Pi? What did they think — it was a cartoon film?

Yes, I am a parent. I have my deepest sympathies for the poor parents who get no opportunity to catch a movie in the theatre. Well, I have been there too! But seriously this cannot be their idea of fun. If I was in the place of that little girl’s parents, I would have walked out a long time ago. But they continued to put us all through misery sticking around till the end of the movie while she did not allow her dad to sit next to her mom. And we tolerated it out of decency.

That brings me to the question of why parents take toddlers to theatres? Have the others not paid ticket money to watch a movie in silence? And don’t they have any sense to get up and leave when the child creates a ruckus? Somehow, in public places, we are expected to put up with loud, absolutely boorish children, just because they are well… children. And I hold such parents in really low esteem whose kids run around in aisles, monkey around, yell and talk and basically make a real nuisance of themselves. Do they think that we ought to babysit their kids or turn a blind eye or rather deaf ear to such misbehavior?

What does the theatre do? They just ramp up the volume till you are in danger of losing your hearing completely. Yet, these kids manage to scream louder.

I think all theatres must have rules that if children make too much noise, the parents must be asked to leave! Please leave your kids home when you go for movies.

What have your movie going experiences been? Have you felt disturbed by little kids?




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60 Thoughts on “Leave your kids home, will you?

  1. Some parents tug their toddlers along to movie theaters thinking that it their living room letting loose their kids in the aisle , bawling. Can’t they let others watch the movie in peace having paid exorbitant price to watch it.

    Cell-phones are the greatest nuisance, ringing with loud volumes threatening to drown the whole hall. The caller will answer proudly telling the person on the other end about his exact position. Hell! can’t they keep it on mute and answer going out of the hall.

    • Yes, cellphones are another nuisance. The problem is that we just hate following rules and civic sense if often just thrown to the winds. Everything works when out in public. I have the exact same questions as you do, Kalpana.

  2. I just came after reading Seeta’s post on her visit to Wagah border. The word ‘uncouth’ is now screaming around in my head. As a nation, I am ashamed to say, we seem to have no civic sense. As for common courtesy, what animal is that?


    • Exactly, Dagny! I feel as parents we take a lot of leeway and expect others to understand. At least leave if your child throws a tantrum. Why make the experience miserable for everyone? Seriously, where is common courtesy?

  3. I HATE it and have experienced this unruly behaviour by kids in cinema halls so often. We understand that the kid is not paying any attention to the parents’ attempts to calm him/her. But how hard it is for the parents to step out of the hall with the screaming child? I think, there should be rules and parents should be asked to leave the hall!

    • I Hate it too, Shilpa. I really think that such rules must be enforced in cinema halls. It seems rude but then why should some people have the power to spoil someone else’s experience in a public place?

  4. That must have been so so distracting! If it had been me, I would have walked out too. It boils me when I see kids misbehaving with no consideration for people around them. I cannot still understand those parents who take their toddlers to movies which are clearly not suitable for them. Even worse, when the parents turn a deaf ear to their unruly kids! So annoying!

  5. I have often incurred the wrath of many when I say that toddlers have no place in cinema halls etc. I agree parents need a change too, but really inflicting screaming toddlers on people is so not a good idea. Either you teach your child to behave or if he/she is too young then please leave them behind. When you become a parent, it automatically becomes your responsibility to teach your child to behave as well.

    • The worst part is that toddlers are creatures who cannot be taught anything. They do what they want to do. Basically they are unpredicatable. Some parents take them close to their nap time. But the loud noises in the theatre can wake them up. Or they can simply be in a bad mood on that day — your bad luck. Either way, the parents must have the gumption to step out to see if the kid can be calmed down. If not, they must leave the theatre saving themselves and others the misery.

  6. Haha! Well, I do take my preschooler to cinema halls and thankfully she is a cooperative little girl who has not bothered us or the fellow watchers much. But we always take corner seats so that it is easy to make a hasty retreat, should things go out of hand. Once or twice when she did throw tantrums, my husband took her out to play while I enjoyed rest of the movie. 😛

    • You do it perfectly, Priya! Who can say how a kid behaves especially the really young ones. The prudent thing would be to step as soon as you sense a tantrum. That is perfectly fine but sticking around with a hollering kid is just so insensitive to others. Glad that your girl is so well mannered.

  7. I am not really sure what to say here 🙂 I love movies and the entire movie theatre experience. And so does my wife. During our pre-parent years you could almost say there was hardly any movie that we hadn’t watched in the theatres. Of course when we had our little one, we stopped. For 6 months, for a year, for 18 months. And then we went finally, with our little one in tow. (Yes, those of you who are reading this may roll your eyes at me. I wasn’t going to just decide without trying. Never have and never will). The decision was based on research we had done. My little one loves music and he loves to shake his head and hand at that. He cares not much for animation, so we decided to go for a movie which had a lot of songs and on a weekday rather than a weekend. The theatre wasn’t that full and somehow apart from the occassional nod of the head and wiggling of the hands he was largely mesmerised. But the second time we did it, it went awry after one hour. He wasn’t noisy or talkative. just wanted to get out. So we did that. Walked out. Of course as much money was lost on the tickets, again since it was the weekday, it didn’t bother us too much. And now that he’s grown up, we take turns. Yes, it’s not the best, but I agree, we’d rather go alone than take along someone who doesn’t want to watch it. Even if its a toddler 😛
    It’s the same with restaurants and eating out. And somedays even shopping. It’s unfair to expect a toddler to sit in a place for a more than five minutes (yes, I’m aware that there are people who boast of their kids being saints and silent. I don’t!). So the best solution is not to take them. Or take turns if you can’t find someone or there isn’t someone at home to take care of them. I agree with everything you have said there Rachna. Parents need to take a call. and let common sense rule over emotions. Then all will be fine 🙂

    • Oh, and did I mention. If you do have a rather cooperative child, still go ahead and take aisle or corner seats. It’ll help you make a hasty exit if you have to 😉

    • You are the kind of parent we need around more often. Of course, we can’t cloister our kids but once we see a tantrum brewing, we have to make a hasty exit. I remember doing exactly the same at an eatery when my younger son started throwing the salad down. He wasn’t going to let us eat that day. So we exited and picked up some stuff to-go. So, yes I am only cribbing about insensitive parents who feel it is okay to subject their misbehaving child on others. Glad that R has been mostly well behaved :). They do get better with age. Now I can watch any movie in the theatre with both my kids in peace :D.

      • Thanks Rachna. Purely from a very selfish point of view, I can’t wait for Rishi to grow up and hope he enjoys movies as much as we do 🙂

        • I hope so too :). As they start growing up, you also have a dilemma of which movies to take them to. My husband and I prefer to watch most movies when they are at school. Like I said to R’s mom, you are not even sure which movies to take the kids to with all the violence and inappropriate content that is there in most movies. Like it or not, our movie outings have reduced. I hope they don’t for you :).

  8. The brat is nearly 6 years old and we have taken her to only two movies..chota bheem and frozen…thats it…I havent watch a single movie after the brat was born..my problem with cinema halls is that the sound is toooo loud for a child! Its not right to subject small kids to such scenes and movies..I wish parents would understand that!

    • Yes, we watch very few movies with kids and mine are older at 12 and almost 8. Most often you cannot say how much violence there will be even in kiddie movies. It is very loud so we normally carry cotton to stuff in our ears. Animation movies like the ones you’ve pointed are generally safe bets. We prefer recording movies at home and watching. It is a rare movie that the family sees together these days.

  9. A year back while we were holidaying in the US, we went to see The Lion King. My husband and me had a few comments on the scene that was going on and so we started whispering. Whispering. This lady sitting in front of us let out a big ‘SHHH’ and we were scared!
    As Indians, we are a decent and tolerant society. Trust me, we do not want to be that lady. It was incredebily rude! Of course constant crying is unacceptable. So is talking on the phone. But a little chatter should not be a problem.

    • A little chatter is not a problem in India at all. But it becomes a problem only if people raise voice or chatter incessantly. At the end of the day, in a public place we all must be conscious of our conduct and how it is affecting others, I feel.

  10. I have not watched a single movie in a theatre for over 3 years now. Only, and only because we are too conscious, as parents, to not hamper another’s movie experience with our not-to-be-blamed child looking to talk in a hall. And while we are conscious, so so many others care not. I like kids, but when they come with indisciplined parents, I cannot help but see them as imps. Poor kids!

    • Respect, Sakshi, that you care enough! If only more people would be conscious of their responsibility, children and parents will not get such a bad name.

  11. Oh yes, I have had my moments of irritation in movie halls where parents bring children. If you think about it a majority of them have no idea how to deal with the child when they start misbehaving. That they should leave the hall never seems to cross their mind. It amazes me how these parents can be so thick skinned.. and the worst part is they are more often than not literate (I hate calling them educated).
    I remember another incident where a mother brought her 7-8 year old kid to watch Broke back mountain….and then she disturbed everyone by getting up in the middle of the movie and making a ruckus about how it is not apt for children to watch..duh!

    • Wow! Brokeback Mountain for an 8 year old. Seriously, I have seen young kids being lugged along for A-rated movies and I wonder what is wrong with those parents. Yes, either the parents are thick-skinned or plain inconsiderate. They expect the others to understand. I get so mad!

  12. As Sakshi mentioned, we did not watch any movie for about 6 years in a row, because my girls are just two and a half years apart and by the time the elder one was sensible enough, I had the younger one who was truly a monster kid at that. We stopped going to restaurants too. I completely agree that it is the responsibility of the parents to take care of their offspring’s actions in public places.

    But having said that there is one incident which hurt me a lot. We were on a train journey (an overnight journey) and for some reason the little one fell ill and puked. Hubby and I cleaned up the entire place thoroughly after settling the kids. But we had fellow passengers (read experienced mothers) who uttered such ruthless remarks as if the kid and we did it on purpose. If it had come from inexperienced youngsters I could have still forgiven. Only I know how I managed to keep quiet for the next 4-5 hours. People that way ought to be a little more considerate and kind towards others.

    • That is really considerate of you to not take your kids along to the movies when you know that they will be noisy. I understand your angst about the train incident. In a closed space, especially when the child is sick, parents are helpless. Just ignore such rude people. I remember that in my last journey back from Hyd, there was a little girl who started crying incessantly early morning. She kept crying for quite some time. I am sure most people woke up from deep sleep. But in such circumstances, what can one do no matter how terrible the disturbance to others? At least where the child can be taken away, the parents must prevent them from creating ruckus.

  13. I agree. A theatre is a public place. If the parents cannot keep their children in line, they should get up, take the children out keeping in mind others in the hall. That would be a good lesson for the children too

  14. I would have walked to the parents and asked them to take it outside ..

    dont they follow the age limit guidance , why did they bring the little kid .. if they were so keen to see they could have hired a dvd or something

    if it was uk, someone would have asked them to leave for sure ..

    totally agree with the rule..

    • I wish I had done that. But I did feel bad for them too. Oh, in India, people feel free to take very small kids even to A-rated movies and no one stops. Yes, I know in a foreign country no one tolerates this nonsense.

  15. Agree with you, Rachna. While I try to empathize with parents having toddlers-its not easy I know-but it can be a major put off while watching a movie. Why just them? The ones flashing lights from cellphones, couples whispher sweet nothings and canoodling in the corner..there is something movie etiquette.

    • Yes, those are terrible too. But at least we can talk to them or yell at them. I know I have shushed the loud talkers and the whisperers. But those with kids are a little tricky. They will make you feel bad that you are not considerate towards the poor child.

  16. There can be rulesdrawn up where parents are asked to leave the theatre.
    it is for the others in the theatre to be polite and tell them to take their kids away..
    This is a social issue….It has to be sorted out internally

    • Yes, we can tell them politely but they will still feel bad. This is a social issue as you rightly pointed out. It is for the parents to take action on their own.

  17. like you said the parents must have walked out..that’s basic manners I think but wonder why this is missing..they misuse the basic courtesy that other people around offer which is not good…And you know why only children..I remember watching Hunger Games last year sitting next to two guys who were discussing throughout the movie what the actors were saying…God! I was so annoyed and wanted to tell them to go watch the movie on disk of they have to tell each other what dialogues were being said!

  18. I think some have this policy, I was in Ambala when the Manager asked a family to leave because their kid was creating nuisance. It depends on the management but yes, there should be a rule.

    How is the movie, btw?

    • The movie was good. I generally like Superhero movies :). Loads of action towards the end and they made it all sappy to appeal to the teens I guess.

  19. That’s nicely put Rachna, I can imagine the irritation you would have gone through.
    I hardly go to cinemas and if I ever do, I have I never encountered with such issues. Here people are just opposite to what we see and experience in India. Even children here are very silent. Sometimes I feel that me and Kiran have bigger mouths compared to kids here. I have hardly heard any screams from the next door. 🙂

  20. We love movies! And we took our kiddo with us for as long as I remember. There have been a couple of times, when we have had tantrums, which of course the father handled by either changing seats ( we mostly go after the movie has run for sometime, or on a weekday, so there are loads of empty seats) or going and standing in the entryway (out of sight and hopefully a bit less loud)! We never had to take him out… though we have once ordered food and packed it up because he was creating a ruckus!
    I am biased, surely because i have a 4 yr old boy and a 2 month old kiddo – I want to go out and watch that Spiderman thingy and I KNOW it will be awesome in the theatre… but I also know that even though my 4 would enjoy it, I have no freaking idea how the babe is going to react. It is this itch to just get out of the house!! Surely after spending 3 months locked up inside… you feel WTH! just lets go …already 🙂 🙂
    Luckily we never had a bad experience that we could not handle YET! I am sur I am jinxing it 😀
    However, I think there has to be some sense in the parents… who should just leave or stand somewhere else… if the kid is creating ruckus.

    We went to see Rio with my then 2 yr old and a 9 yr old (nephew) and these 2 teeny preschoolers with there father were sitting right next to us! And oh my! they were such chatterboxes..and that was so so distracting ( i love animation, by the way)… so I can tell you I feel you! But I do feel that father who was honestly just answering his twins inquisitive questions, I would do that too! There has to be a balance, and only a parent can bring it on 🙂

    But I swear I would just so totally HATE to leave 🙂 … just saying.

    • I know what you are saying, Veens! I have two kids too. But, I’d rather sacrifice watching the movie in the theatre than subject someone else to my kid’s tantrums. We used to utilize opportunities of visiting relatives to baby sit the kids while we went out and caught a movie :). At the end of the day, we have to be considerate to others in a public place. And most parents here just expect others to ‘understand.’ That gets my goat.

  21. It stems from a lack of consideration for others. That sense of entitlement that makes them believe if they can put with shit, so should the rest of the world. Yet we choose to keep quiet! Why, because they are kids after all.

    • In India, you know how it is. Speak a word to parents and they behave holier than thou. As a society, we are supposed to make leeway for kids :/.

  22. I agree that it should be a policy! The theaters probably think that they will lose clients but they probably don’t realize that they will gain many more if they enact this rule!

  23. In the last 6 years, We have seen only a handful of movies because of my son and that too when he is off to school. No matter how disciplined the child is, he tends to get bored when something does not interest him and that so very often in movies unless it is a cartoon movie. So I guess, considering what one must be feeling when in other’s shoes helps.

    • True, Jas! Even we watch movies rarely with kids. Family movies are only stuff that appeals to them. Rest, we watch as a couple or at home. Exactly my point! Being in another movie goer’s shoes helps.

  24. OH! Reminds me of the number of theater experiance that have been ruined by wailing toddlers,, unruly children.. SIGH!!

  25. Hahaha I am surprised at no brick bats here. I hugely dislike noisy toddlers at movie theaters and restaurants. Especially because I have two and when I do get to a movie or a restaurant, it is after some serious amount of planning with my partner. I have two really noisy and naughty boys, sometimes I feel like telling these parents, let me get my kids as a revenge for you; then we will talk!! And in all fairness it is not the kids fault at all, they don’t know any better but we do. I use to take my elder one for movies till my second one came along but only because he never created a ruckus. Now I don’t, there is no way I can handle both together. I have tried and even the younger one slept through but still it is too much of a task. We can wait for few more years for that. I wonder why can’t other parents wait or plan better?

    • See these are exactly the kind of parents we need. Arre baba we all like going out but that does not give us a right to make it an unpleasant experience for others. Wish people would be more courteous.

  26. What I find interesting is that while the kids make a ruckus, there are some who get very embarrassed and would go to any lengths to avoid. And there are some, who are totally unconcerned about it and treat it simply as a way of life.
    I always wonder, who has an easier deal 🙂

  27. THAT makes me happier that I have stopped going out to watch movies 🙂 I watch them all on TV – and no kids to makes noises here either 🙂

  28. Been there…done that..we used to go to movies all the time when Rushi was a baby and kid. He wud sit still through out the movie without any hassle. But when he was a toddler he would run around crazy. So, we always went with another 3 bachelors who took turns in running around him in and out of the theatre. Also, we sat in the disabled section where no one would sit and it is far from the audience. This facility was available only for the Indian theatre though. With my daughter, I once went to a movie and she started talking and walking up n down the stairs…that’s it..I went out and never dared to go to movies with her again. Even now, she babbles..is it over? is it over? So, movie and with her no..I rather pay a baby sitter and then go to one.

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