Let me climb up on my "Old Fart" soapbox. There... A few days ago, I worked a big party at one of the resorts near New Braunfels. It was a real nice party. They had a live band, a caterer that grilled some incredibly thick ribeye steaks, shrimp and other goodies.
They served lots of beer and wine. I think it was a company party for one of the big companies in the area. People dressed up nice, and it was held at this beautiful resort area that also has a bed and breakfast. It was the kind of event that 'most' parents would get a babysitter for, and leave the kids at home.
Several couples, though... brought their kids with them. It was interesting to observe how it worked. When they got out of their car, the kids ran out, and that was the last the parents saw of them until it was time to leave. They set the kids loose like wild animals. The kids were aged 8-12, and there were about 6 of them. They ran through the area playing, even running through the stage area where the band was playing. They were acting like wild animals, screaming and yelping. And the parents acted as if the kids weren't there.
I see this behavior a lot. At the mall, and even with my next door neighbor. She pushes her kids out the door and doesn't want to deal with them. At the mall, the mothers let their kids run wild as long as they don't bother them while they shop.
It's bad parents. They don't want to be "the parent". They don't want to be the disciplinarian. They don't want to be the authority figure. Strangely enough, ... they want to be their child's friend, instead of the parent. These kids grow up never hearing the word "no". They never get reprimanded for being rude or acting up. These parents believe it's the school's responsibility to install discipline in their little animal. I don't claim to be a parenting expert. I was only a weekend father to my son, and only spent about 6 years with my step-son Josh. But I see the results of not being a parent all the time. You get kids who grow up with no rules and no limits, suddenly after high school realizing that they are in a world with rules and limitations. Some of them don't make the adaptation very well.
Today, my own mother is a wonderful friend to me. But back when I was a little kid, she was not my friend... she was a very strict parent. She constantly reminded me when I was acting up. And if I deserved it, I got my butt spanked. (that's a whole blog topic there) Sometimes when I wanted to be running with the other kids acting like wild animals, she made me sit beside her and behave.
A lot of old farts sit around today and complain about the evil kids... that they have no manners and think only of themselves. It's true, but it's bad parents.