Save. Spend. Splurge.

I saw the worst behaved children on the subway yesterday

As the title says, I was on the subway the other day and saw three of the worst behaved children I have seen in all my years of riding the TTC.

Yeah, I’ve seen a couple before that.. you know, the ones who whine for no reason, start crying, kicking, screaming, and trying to do acrobatics with the poles on the train.. but these three blond devils took the cake.

The oldest girl was perhaps 8, the second oldest girl was 6 and the youngest boy was 3.

They did all of the following:

  • Throw themselves OFF the seats in a rage and start kicking, screaming, wriggling and throwing a tantrum on the floor of the subway train because they didn’t get what they wanted (eww..gross..)
  • Tried to stick their little feet in between the gap of the train and the platform of the subway stations when the doors were opening or closing
  • Tried to stick their hands into the doors of the subway train while it was moving to pry the doors open
  • Jumped all over the seats like it was a playground while the train was moving
  • Used the poles like monkey bars and stripper poles (no better way to describe this)
  • Screamed like banshees
  • Sat on top of the backs of the chairs and rode it like a pirate ship (see image below)

Here’s my artist’s rendition of what they did:


 (Original image via)

..and their useless, idiot parents?

They sat there. Doing nothing.

Not even saying anything like:

Lauren (one of the actual girl’s name), sit down properly and get off those seats!!



They were smiling at their kids, pretending like it was totally normal to have raised 3 devils showing complete disrespect on the train, tramping their dirty boots all over the seats that people would have to use later on (now you know why your coat is filthy after a week on the train).

EVERYONE on the train was staring at them in disbelief.

No one could believe their parents would just sit there, smiling, not saying a word and completely okay with the train jerking back and forth between stops, while their kids ran around with the potential of cracking their heads open.

Other kids were also staring at them wide-eyed, probably thinking:

DAMN! If I did that, I am not sure I’d make it off this train alive.

It became SO BAD that the TTC operator who stuck his head out of the window to check for passengers, caught sight of it and said on the speakerphone:

Get down off those seats!

It wasn’t until he said that, that their idiot, shameless, humiliation-proofed mother came over and tried to corral her devils by hugging them and speaking to them softly about not doing what they had been doing for the past 8 stations with nary a peep.

The father? Where was he in all of this?

He leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes and pretended like he didn’t care. Or maybe he just gave up.

I don’t even know if these parents have the ability to feel shame or humiliation at what they have raised as “children”, but I can tell you that she MAY have started to feel some sort of shame because we were just staring at them like it was impossible to believe.

I have never, ever, seen such badly behaved and raised children in my life, not to mention that what they were doing was DANGEROUS to boot, while on a moving train.

Even in Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and basically anywhere in the world I have been to (except the United States) on the trains, I never once saw children do anything like what they get away with here.

Honestly. NEVER.

After that happened, I looked down at my baby bump and said:

Baby, you pay close attention to what just happened through the bellybutton peephole, because that will NEVER EVER be you, as long as you are my child.

Those antics will not be happening on my watch.

Have the parents just given up?

Are they actually condoning and PROUD of this behaviour?

I have no idea what goes on in their heads while they are watching their children behave so inappropriately.


Update: Every parent should read this article, shared by Morgaine in the comments: How and why to be the meanest mom in the world.


  • CK

    I agree so much with this. Thank you! I was having a problem with some parents of young children in our church. The incessant screeching, jumping up and down, and disruptions while the parents sat there ignoring the bad behavior and allowing them to crawl under the pews (and I’m not talking about babies) and make it impossible for anyone else to pay attention to the service, many of us left and started going to the next closest church. I love to see children playing and having fun but they need to be taught self control and respect for others. The same is true in stores. Letting children run wild, break things, and play with things that haven’t been paid for until they look used and are not sellable anymore is wrong. (Whatever happened to “Look but don’t touch”?). Many people want children but can’t be bothered with the DAILY hard work of discipline. I say daily because some parents have the attitude that, “I’ve tried that once before but it didn’t work, so now we just let them do what they want…” Enough is enough!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I hear you. I have my own child and he is HARD to keep under control but I remind him constantly in a gritted, quiet angry voice that we are in public and he has to behave. Even at home I remind him so that he doesn’t think there are two sets of rules.

      Kids should have a minimum modicum of respect especially in places of worship. I had to drag mine out of a church when we were in one because he was so unruly and I didn’t want to ruin it for others.

  • Emily @ Urban Departures

    When my toddler was throwing his toys on the ground in public, something he knows he’s not suppose to do and I know he’s doing to test his boundaries, I gently scolded him and then eventually took away his toy when he did not listen. Then, I was scolded by a stranger who excused my kid’s behaviour with “he’s just a baby”. At the time, I was embarrassed and thought I was being too strict, but now I think she may be the mother of those kids on the subway.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Emily @ Urban Departures: I think she probably was.

      That’s funny that you should have been shamed and embarrassed for being too strict when in fact what you did sounds like you set proper control and boundaries on what is appropriate behaviour or not.

      I probably would not have been so nice. I might have just said: “He’s a baby, but he knows better. I’m not interested in raising an ill-behaved child.”

  • Budget and the Beach

    I’ve noticed when I’ve been around my parent friends that sometimes they just have this weird filter and don’t even notice that kind of thing anymore. Meanwhile I’m reaching for noise-cancelling headphones. I’m not a parent so I don’t want to come down hard on parents, but I do appreciate at least an effort of when a parent tries to discipline their child. Like on a plane. But I also know that sometimes the kid is going to have a meltdown so I try to to be as patient as possible. I was once coaching these 7 and 8 year old girls in beach volleyball. Total nightmares. Rude, spoiled, bratty, etc. Absolutely a result of bad parenting. Meanwhile I coach this 12-year old girl and she is an absolute dream. Polite, hardworking, nice. Not the best player, but the effort is there. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    Your problem will be when school starts and your little one makes friends with one of these out of control animals and your child wants them to come over to play. You always say yes to having the child over because you are even more terrified to let your child go to their house.

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses

    Ugh I hate kids like that, and parents like that. I know it must be tough dealing with a bunch of kids day in and day out but come on, show some discipline!

  • ArianaAuburn

    This sounds like then parents read too many New-Age Free-Range Child Rearing Books (written by childless shrinks!).

    These parents need to discipline their kids before they grow up and get disciplined by a prison guard.

    These kids could have gotten hurt. Trains are not 100% safe.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @ArianaAuburn: “Free Range Child”… nice.

      I was reading a book the other day — The Smartest Kids in the World and how they got that way — and it really brought to light the issue of parents letting their children behave in ways as not to hurt their self-esteem, their sense of self and confidence… but it was also saying that it was part of the reason why North American kids are lagging behind in world education scores, because they’re being given TOO much freedom.

      A little structure could have helped.

      Trains are definitely not 100% safe – I am wobbly on them and I am an adult. There were times when I almost fell because the conductor jerked to a stop.

  • Morgaine

    Sorry to comment again, but just read this article and felt it relates very well to the above …

  • mnme

    To Leslie
    I am sorry that the person who mugged you, stole your pocketbook/wallet, and phone and left you bleeding and concussed on the sidewalk and the people who walked by you assuming you were drunk did not behave how you wanted them to. Clearly, I found Leslie’s remark to be less than supportive of good behavior.

    Bad behavior is not “not behaving how someone wants them to” it is disrespectful of other peoples’ property, which someone else must pay for, it allows children to grow into individuals who believe that what they want to do is fine and that there are no consequences in the real world for them doing whatever they choose to whomever they choose to do it to.

    I agree with Mochimac, these are the people who would sue the train and anyone else if their children injured when they allowed the behavior in the first place.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @mnme: I didn’t even think of it that way, you put it in such a neat perspective!

      For me, the worst of it all was as you said — the disrespect for public property. It is one thing to ruin your own house and let your kids do what they want (hang on chandeliers, slide down bannisters.. all of which I have seen my nephew do), but it is another to expect society to be tolerant of them.

      Then again, how can children really know if you set two standards but don’t explain or discipline them? They flip flop between the two and can’t understand what the difference is.

  • Morgaine

    Part of the problem stems from this idea now that discipling children hurts their self-esteem. So parents let their children do whatever they want (or it could be that they have given up). I plan on discipling my children and parenting how my parents did, no way would I have been allowed to pull that kind of crap! And yes, its hard now to be a polite and considerate adult in this push and shove world but I’m glad that I have manners and was raised right even if this might put me at a slight disadvantage. It doesn’t mean you can’t teach your kids to stick up for themselves or be confident in their ideas/abilities.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Morgaine: Right.. so the other way (extreme) parenting of letting kids do what they want to preserve their self-esteem is better?

      I highly doubt it.

      I don’t think having manners puts anyone at a disadvantage. You can see it reflected in the way people behave at work and in their adult lives, and people would rather work with polite folk (not doormats), than rude ones.

  • AdinaJ

    I’m not sure i understand Leslie’s comment? People are free to behave as they wish (and apparently did), and Mochimac is free to comment (negatively) on their behaviour. It doesn’t sound like she got in their face about it, or otherwise impose her opinions on them. So I don’t see the issue, if one was implied.

    I find it harder these days to get worked up about public behaviour like this because I have seen SO many instances of it or similar behaviour. The whole narcissism epidemic – I’m starting to believe in it. And then I wonder if my kids will be at a disadvantage later if I teach them differently; what’s the point of being well-behaved if everyone else is a jerk – with no consequences (and potentially rewards)? It’s a rhetorical question, because I’m not about to intentionally raise a jerk but …

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @AdinaJ: I didn’t understand Leslie’s comment either. Glad to see I am not the only one. Maybe she’s just having a bad day.

      NO! PLEASE! 🙂 Do not raise your children to NOT be jerks.

      I’m so happy a mother of 2 is saying this publicly because I am a mother-to-be, and I am definitely not raising my children to behave like that, particularly since it reflects on me as a parent.

  • CorianneM

    Wow, that’s so rude of those parents! I’m all for kids running around and having fun, but in a PLAYGROUND/PARK/etc., not a train or any other kind of public place that is not considered a leisure area…

    Once I was on the train, for half an hour, and at the seat at the other side of the aisle was a boy (7-8 years old?) standing and jumping on the seat the whole time. His mom was saying (in a sugar-sweet tone THE WHOLE TIME): “don’t do that honey; please sit still”. That annoyed me to no end; the mother more than the child even. If *I* hadn’t listened to the first question to sit down and behave, my parents would *for sure* have made me behave. They would not have kept on asking me nicely for 30 minutes to sit down.

    • save. spend. splurge.


      There has to be something said for people not knowing how to deal with children. They’re rational human beings too. They can understand things if you explain it to them, even if it takes them a bit to get it.

      It’s almost like they treat their children like animals here.

  • Leslie Beslie

    I’m sorry that people didn’t behave how you wanted them to.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Leslie Beslie: Not sure if that was a sarcastic remark or not, but I’ll take it at face value.

      I expect people in public (small or big) to behave civilly and these children were just banshees out of control.

      I have never seen such ridiculous behaviour in my life and parents absolutely not doing anything to stop them from cracking their heads open.

  • jp @cashsnail

    I also used to make lot of comments (in my head) about parenting skills of other people… Until I got my daughter 🙂
    Now I’m much more moderate when I see misbehaving kids, sometimes being a parent is not easy. If you are super tired and the child is in volcano mood there is not always an easy solution.

    I also consider single parent to be super-hero every time I have to spend a couple days alone with my daughter 😀

    But kids are a blessing, even if it’s not always easy, getting a totally selfless kiss or hugs is worth everything. Seeing these little creatures growing & learning is so much fun !

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