Expert Blames Parents For Bratty Kids

For the second part of The Early Show series, "The Bratty Bunch," consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen wanted to see how people react to unruly children. She used hidden cameras to record child actors who behaved like brats and annoyed the people around them.

The social experiment began on a New York City bus when a boy kicked the seat of the lady sitting in front of him. The pretend mother ignored his behavior. Immediately, the woman asks him to stop. When he doesn't, she gets up and moves.

"I was thinking I was very glad I wasn't on an airplane and this was only going to be lasting about 20 minutes or so," she told Koeppen.

Another woman looked ready to explode but changed her seat instead of losing her temper. Another passenger scolded the boy.

"How many times do I have to ask you to stop kicking me?" she asked him.

When that didn't work, she simply glared at him.

"I was really disappointed at the parent not helping to discipline the kid," she said.

In her book, "Raising Respectful Children In a Disrespectful World," Jill Rigby says too many parents are tolerating bad behavior and they're creating a generation of "aristobrats."

"We are seeing children today who think they are the king or queen of their home, and their parents are to live in subservience to them," she said.

Koeppen brought a pretend mother and daughter to a New York City park. The mother zoned out while the little girl ran all over the park, screaming.

A woman asks her to stop, but the actress said: "My mommy says it's OK," the girl responded.

"Oh, I am scared to death that my son will end up like one himself," the woman told Koeppen.

Another mother is also annoyed by the girl. She doesn't say anything, but when the girl starts kicking sand, the woman leaves. She says she wanted to set a good example for her son.

"Yeah, I didn't want to get into a confrontation over it with the mother or the child," she said.

Rigby says she did the right thing.

"Put the welfare of the child first," she said. "If I stood up and said, 'Would you do something about your brat?' is the parent going to do anything? No."

But possibly the most annoying scenario is a child acting out in a restaurant. The actress yells loudly about wanting her food and clangs her silverware against her glass.

One couple says something to the family and complains to the waitress. Another woman actually leaves her own meal to confront our little noise maker.

"You'd probably make a very good musician," she tells the girl.

"I told the mother, and the mother didn't look at me, so I thought this is a mother who can't control her children," she told Koeppen.

Rigby said that she thinks most parents allow their children to misbehave simply because they do not know how to discipline them.

"I truly believe that parents don't mean to allow their kids to be disrespectful and disruptive, but they really don't have the skills or know-how themselves," she said.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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