I just posted this on the NewsShopper blog. I thought I'd repost it here. I expect I'll get a few responses from angry NewsShopper-reading parents along the lines of "what do you expect us to do with our kids?" and "how else should we travel?". Don't know, don't care. Just keep the bloody things under control.
It seems to be a growing trend that people are taking their children to work. Or are meeting up with their spouses and kiddies after work and going home together.
Whatever the reason, there seems to be a token child, hardly ever the same one, on my train every evening on the way home. And not, I should add, a quiet, well-behaved, you-really-wouldn't-know-it-was-there, child at that.
Last night I sat opposite a mother and father who had a rather precocious little girl with them who spent the entire journey from Charing Cross to Orpington either jumping around in her new sparkly pink shoes or laughing and squealing. They were on their way back from the Kylie exhibition at the V&A.
Did her parents keep her quiet? Did they even try to suggest that being so noisy wasn't a good idea? No, of course not.
The bloke that brings his dog onto the train occasionally had a better behaved charge than that child.
Not everyone likes children. I don't mind them. I have none of my own (partly through choice and partly through circumstance) but there are lots of young children in my family. None are as badly behaved as the ones that ride on my train. And when they do step out of line, their parents and grandparents are quick to step in.
Taking the kids on a day out is a good thing. There are lots of things to see and do in London. However, I really don't think that bringing tetchy children into contact with tetchier commuters is the best of ideas. The trains out of the rush hour would be a lot better.