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Reality Check: Rude Kiddies

Q. When I was at the movies with my daughter, the 4-year-old behind me kept kicking my seat. I asked her to stop, but she kept doing it, and her mother never tried to stop her. What should I have done?

A. When you asked the child to stop kicking your seat, you were asking her mom as well. Either she didn't feel it was necessary to correct her daughter or she was so busy trying to make sure the child didn't spill her drink and popcorn that she honestly didn't notice that the kicking had started again. In any case, a movie theater isn't the best place for a discussion, particularly not a heated one.

There are times when actions speak louder (and yet quieter) than words. You might have tried changing seats, assuming the movie wasn't sold out and your child would have followed you without giving you a hard time about it. This would have ended the kicking, allowed you to enjoy the film, and might also have demonstrated to an oblivious mother and child that they were being extremely inconsiderate. And your own child might have seen that such people can be dealt with peacefully and pragmatically.

If you couldn't change seats, then all you could have done was ask the mother nicely to stop her child from kicking and leave it at that. When you go to a children's movie, you're bound to meet up with some unruly kids. Who knows  -- maybe your daughter was doing something that annoyed another parent.

The important thing is that you and your child have a nice outing together. Little annoyances are everywhere, and sometimes you just have to ignore them, lean forward in your seat, and enjoy the show.