Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We see it all the time on buses and trains – children occupying a whole seat when they could’ve been sitting on a grown-up’s lap.
When offered a seat, the parent or caregiver shouldn’t give it to the child unless the adult is encumbered with a stroller. If not, the adult should take the seat and put the child on their lap.

Parents who let their children sit while grown-ups are standing are creating tomorrow’s poorly mannered teenagers who think nothing of sitting in seats reserved for the elderly and physically challenged. They tune out civility while they tune into their music. You can’t really blame them; they’re used to sitting while adults stand. The only thing many have outgrown is sitting with their feet on the seats.

Recently, Yvonne was on a crowded bus where a woman and her two children occupied three seats. The girls couldn’t have been more than five or six years old, small enough to share one seat. It had been a long day and Yvonne asked the mother could the girls sit together. The mother asked, “Why?” She then rolled her eyes and continued to eat her granola mix. (More about the crumbs later.)

But, all is not lost. There are those parents who say, “ Let’s get up so the lady can sit down.” Or, “Come on, sit on my lap so someone else can sit.” No doubt that’s a parent whose own parents taught them better. Nothing crummy there.


Anonymous said...

sometimes even if there's a very handsome looking gentleman on the bus...i will offer to sit on his lap....
so some elderly person can take my seat....i'm quite considerate

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous and right on. Drives me crazy - I have seen children in seats as the elderly stand.
Good good article.

Unknown said...

I totally agree. As I am raising future men, I began this training early, so they would know to get up to let ME sit. However, it became a treat for them to learn to roll with the moving and shaking of the city buses or subways and hold on tight.

I must add, however, that when transport was extremely crowded and the chances of small children getting separated from me in a crush, I always let them sit while I stood!

Divamom-Act II said...

It's sad that you must spell out common sense and civil behavior in a post.

Anonymous said...

Kids in America are so lazy and did I forget to mention that they have no manners or repect for elderly people. I say just kick them in the ass and let them sit on the floor. I think they worry more about texting then they care about people. God help us.

Anonymous said...

This one is easy. When I first made NYC my home in the 70s, the signs in the subway cars were everywhere to see. With a simple drawing, the signs read:

"Little Enough To Ride For Fee? Little Enough To Ride Your Knee"

The words were directed to the adult. They brought strollers on the train back then and dealt with it.

Some 30-odd years later, there are more people living here than at that time.

How about getting the MTA to reinstate those vintage signs on both trains and buses? In that form, the signs will capture riders' attention. If the vintage graphics are not available, do it anyway.

Who knows? Maybe people will get it. Children do not rule our city.

When it comes to their children, adults' behavior in public is oftentimes a mystery to me. Be it on trains, buses, in supermarkets or restaurants, it's incredible sometimes. In what world do these adults live? Sure isn't mine.

Supermarkets and restaurants can be discussed later as there is much to talk about. I and others have plenty of ammunition, lol, including Whole Foods at West 100 St. on a Sunday.

For now, "Little Enough To Ride For Free? Little Enough To Ride Your Knee"

And 30 some-odd years later, deal with your SUV version of a baby stroller as people dealt with the simplified ones back in the day.


Elizabeth said...

As a mother of a 3 and 1.5 year old I think there is an obvious "common sense" line to be drawn here.

I do let my children sit (one on my lap) if it's a teenager / young adult near us and there are other seats clearly open. Frankly, I don't want the 3 year old standing and potentially falling in the train/bus, do I? He cannot reach anything to hold on to and usually I'm juggling a stroller and the 1.5 year old.

I get your point and I *always* offer my / my child's seat to an elderly / pregnant / disabled person, but let's also have some empathy for mothers in the city!

We're worn out enough by our little ones. Let's also be kind and considerate to them - and help them out (offer a hand when they are struggling onto the bus or train?) as well please - not just gripe about them online.