I’ve been theorizing about something of late, and I don’t know the opinion of others on this matter, so I’m putting it forth here:
IMHO, one of the frustrating things about the loud, incessant crying of a baby in a crowded airplane or public space - or, to cite a far more dangerous situation, reading stories about how the crying of babies had the potential to betray the location of hiding Jewish families or other WWII families - is the fact that the baby doesn’t understand the situation.
Most people would probably immediately say about the situation, “It’s not the baby’s fault; the baby doesn’t know any better” - which is 100% true, of course - but, IMHO, that’s actually what makes the situation hard to bear.
It makes the situation more galling and frustrating because the situation is nobody’s responsibility. It’s not the parent’s fault, it’s not the baby’s fault, it’s not anybody’s fault. But the crying is happening regardless - and if a hiding Jewish family in WWII were to be discovered by the Gestapo/SS because of the loud wailing of a baby that doesn’t understand the ramifications of its crying (a scenario Corrie ten Boom specifically discusses in The Hiding Place), then they’re headed to Auschwitz regardless.
I don’t find the baby’s state of mind to be relevant. It’s annoying and frustrating because I can’t do anything about making someone else’s baby stop crying, and usually I couldn’t do anything about my own babies crying.
Certainly the parent has responsibility. The baby crying can often times be removed from the area. Any parent of an infant knows they are just as likely to make a fuss as not, so they can plan for that.
I have seen mothers and fathers overwhelmed by kids so they just “give up.” There are a multitude of reasons for this, from lack of experience, exhaustion or more rarely, just selfishness.
A parent who is on a bus with a screaming child could often just take that child off the bus at the next stop and calm him/her down and get on the next bus.
Of course that wouldn’t work if it was the last bus or if the weather was bad. But then again it comes to planning. Perhaps if your child is prone to crying on the bus you could leave early, thereby giving yourself a choice.
I recall as a child if we acted up my father would say “Enough, we’re going home.” And that was it. We lost out and I’m sure he was very disappointed too that his outing was ruined. But he was rightfully concerned about allowing us to act up as well as the comfort of other people, more than his own benefit.
I disagree. I think the crying of a baby is frustrating because nature made that sound grate upon our ears so we would be stirred to action by it. It is hard for all of us to override the DNA coded urge to ‘respond!’, whenever, wherever we hear it. It’s IS near impossible to ignore, and for good reason I should think.
Intellectually acknowledging that it would be inappropriate to respond since it is not our child, doesn’t help a bit to keep it from grating on us and setting out nerves on edge.
I’ve never been in a situation where I was hiding from nazis or velociraptors, and needed the crying baby to be quiet, so we would all survive. I’ve only been in sub-survival-critical situations such as onboard planes and on public transport.
Personally, I find it less frustrating than other types of disturbance. The child can’t help crying. The parents probably can’t stop it crying. Nobody is at fault, and so the situation, although unpleasant, is one that (IMO) must simply be borne with good grace.
Anyone who openly expresses their annoyance toward to parents or child in this situation is (IMO) a bit of a dick (I have seen this happen IRL - not accusing anyone here of it). What will it achieve?
Annoying and frustrating is when someone knows (or could, if they cared, know) that they are causing a disturbance - loud, tinny headphone leakage or loud mobile phone conversations in the ‘quiet’ carriage of the train, for example.
The parent has responsibility to make sure that their child has its needs met but small children and, especially babies, often cry for no discernible reason and there is nothing their parents or anyone else can do about it. The parents can and should remove the crying child if it happens during a ceremony but that isn’t an option on something like a plane.
Believe it or not, it is usually the parents that are the most stressed about those situations but it makes you feel both embarrassed and helpless. There is very little that you can do about it in many cases. For example, my ex-wife and I took our then two year old daughter to France when she was barely two. She developed some weird GI disorder while we were there but her pediatrician back home didn’t consider it to be that serious so we carried on normally until the plane flight back home.
As soon as we got to altitude, she started screaming the most god-awful blood-curdling screams you can imagine and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. I tried to calm her down for two hours until I finally just told a flight attendant I was taking her into one of the bathrooms for the 6 hour remainder of the flight. They agreed so I was stuck in a Sky Porta-Potty with a screaming endurance athlete during a long flight but at least everyone else got some respite. We later found out she was screaming because she was really constipated but didn’t know why she was uncomfortable. Babies are even less articulate than that.
I have to disagree about the more frustrating thing.
A baby doesn’t know better, so the annoyance is 1) basically uncontrollable and 2) not done with any malice. It is annoying and frustrating, yes, but I’ll put up with that for as long as I have to and take a “grin and bear it” attitude.
An older child or adult (assuming normal faculties) doesn’t get the same level of patience. After a minute of that nonsense, I’m asking security to do something. After ten minutes, I just might punch them out. The other people in the room would probably applaud when I did.
Yeah, that seems to be a common adulation fantasy on these boards, if I do or say something I deem amusing or noteworthy, adoring multitudes will spontaneously burst into whoops and cheers. Sorry, approbation fans, outside of sports fans in a bar or stadium when their team scores, unless you rescue orphans from rubble that just isn’t going to happen.
Tell you what: nothing makes you feel more like a dick than being seated in a restaurant, seeing a toddler at a table, scanning the room, and asking the host or hostess, “Um, can we get a seat over there instead?”
For me this is 99% of it. Studies have been done that show a definite acoustic similarity in the distress cries of most all mammalian young, human and otherwise. A way of diagnosing a sociopath is to study their reactions to these sounds (in an MRI etc.). It shows a physiological lack of hardwired empathy.
And for me specifically, infants and small children shriek in frequency ranges that make my head feel like it’s full of broken glass. My instinctive response to this is a strong desire to punch things, though, so I doubt it’s that closely related to a DNA-encoded nurturing urge.
Huh? It might achieve the parent removing the squalling baby from the room, in the event that said parent needed a reminder that there are other people there who have ears.