Today, on the bus, I was seated a row behind a mother and her young daughter (I guess about 5-6 years old), and the child just couldn't stay quiet: she was singing constantly, saying "byebye, please come in" to every car that we came across, even parked cars, being very annoying in general.

Now, I personally am quite quickly annoyed by young children. I have Asperger's, which in my case means it's hard to just mentally ignore noises like neurotypical people can, especially if I don't really have something to occupy myself with. And young children, in my experience, are usually making rather high-pitched noises, often quite loud and repetitive, which really bother me.

I often have this issue on transit, which means leaving the situation, as recommended in How do you handle poor behavior by other people's children? isn't really an option, since it would take longer to get where I need to go.

Is it acceptable for me to tell a parent that the noises their children make are bothering me? And if so, what is the best way to inform them without making the situation worse? I'm from Belgium in case it makes a difference.

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    What's the expected outcome from telling parents this? There's a reasonable chance that they know and there's just not an awful lot they can do about it. (Depending on age of child, of course)
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 14:44
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    If you're not good at ignoring ambient noise, have you looked at picking up a pair of noise-canceling headphones? A good set can work wonders. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:20
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    @Erik I've found quite often that parents aren't always aware that their child's behavior might bother other people around them.
    – Nzall
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:34
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    @NateKerkhofs sometime, a kid signing in the bus is better for the parents than a kid crying and yelling because the parent told them to stop. It can be a gamble with some kids.
    – the_lotus
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:37
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    Hi Nate. I also have Asperger and I have the same problem. Drowning out one noise is a silly non-solution. Noise-cancelling headphones don't do it. I badly want to visit this -9 dB room. I have no answer to your question, but my solution to your problem is: avoid buses. Go by bicycle. When by train, sit in the quiet compartment whenever possible. Avoid busy hours. If a parent sits in the quiet compartment with a "normally behaving child", telling them to move to another compartment should be socially acceptable. Take care and good luck.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:53

14 Answers 14


Is it acceptable for me to tell a parent that the noises their children make are bothering me?

Sure, just as acceptable as it would be for you to ask a fellow passenger to get off their phone or stop swaying to the music in their earphones. It's not against the law to request another person stop acting in a way that bothers you. There's lots of people who go around telling others how to live their life in public, and about the only consequence is generally glares or refusal to follow the advice or request.

what is the best way to inform them without making the situation worse?

There's no ideal way to tell someone that you want them to behave differently, but if you've reached the point where you feel compelled to do so, the best way is to simply ask them.

"Will you please ask your child to be a little quieter?"

In some cultures you can deflect some of the irritation they will feel by apologizing:

"I'm sorry to ask, but will you please help your child to be a little more quiet?"

If you do have a valid medical complaint, some will respond favorably to a plea:

"I hate to ask, but I have a head injury/mental illness/etc that is exacerbated by high pitched sounds. Your child is making very repetitive high pitched sounds, and I was hoping you might be able to find a way to quiet them a little."

In some areas, requests can be softened by complements:

"You have such a lovely child! I hate to be a bother, but I'm trying to concentrate on this report, and it would be very helpful if your child was a little more quiet."

If you want to avoid offending them, you should consider the following:

  • Don't use negative words to describe their child's actions. Use "sound" rather than "noise", for instance.
  • You don't have a right to a quiet bus ride any more than they have a right to make as much noise as they want. Don't phrase your request as though your rights or needs are greater than theirs, or in a way that suggest they are doing something wrong or bad. You have a need, and you are expressing it, but you aren't necessarily more important than them.
  • Try to engage the adult in conversation to gauge their mental state - if they are already tired or stressed, do you really need to add to that by asking more from them?
  • It used to be that "children should be seen and not heard" but parents today are more ready to assert their child's right to enjoy life, sometimes loudly, and will instead demand that others accept that children have as much rights as adults to shared spaces. Don't go into the conversation with an expectation that they will comply - the more you phrase it as a request rather than a requirement, the more likely they will comply with the request.
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    I agree with almost all of this and think it's very well put - I do think you're being a bit overly pedantic with the first paragraph; specifically, "Acceptable" denotes to me that OP specifically asks after the social appropriateness, not the legality, while you really answer "legal" or "possible" while suggesting it is not really acceptable (hence the glares).
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:40
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    @Joe Yes, the OP never specifies whose acceptance they are seeking. Do they want to know whether society finds it acceptable? The parent they are asking? The bus company? Legally? It may be obvious to us that it's legal and there are no significant repercussions, but on the other hand I don't want to give them the impression that everyone finds it acceptable and no one will find offense with it.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:52
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    I think there are better ways to word the requests than what are presented, but I think this are some good tactics. I wouldn't use a form of "be more quiet", as it seems more commanding (even if not meant that way). I'd suggest something more like "Could you ask them to sing a little more softly?" -> You're not asking for silence, and are "asking" for very little, but the message will get across all the same. IMHO, handling adults is all about not putting them on the defensive in even the slightest.
    – user11394
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 21:30
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    Small point, I don't know if this is cultural or specific to me, but I think "would you mind" is less confrontational than "will you please". Is it just me? I'm British.
    – Jim W
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 17:54
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    Where I live (Michigan - United States) the community buses have a noise policy. If you (or your children) are overly noisy to the disruption of a large portion of other passengers, you will be asked to leave the bus at the next stop. Teenagers are, well I won't say frequently, but most often kicked off the bus of all passenger demographics. There are signs with the rules stated clearly, and if you don't follow them, you're off. Granted, children get lenience, but I have seen parents asked to take their screaming child off of the bus downtown. Similar policy exists in Aix-en-Provence, France. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 4:17

I can relate; I cannot tune out noise either (never have been able to), and it does add to my stress level. People noise is especially distressing to me, though particularly when I'm trying to get something done that requires (for me) relative quiet.

Is it acceptable for me to tell a parent that the noises their children make are bothering me? And if so, what is the best way to inform them without making the situation worse?

I think that depends on the type of noise the child is making; is it really outside of socially acceptable norms? If it truly is, then it's acceptable. If it's not, then it's not.

One major difference between my experience and yours is that I only ever perceived this as my problem. I never considered that I had any right to ask people to stop making noise for my sake. (Please don't get me wrong; I have often fervently wished that someone would just stop talking!)

I guess what I'm saying is that the attitude with which you are approaching this affects the way you might seek to deal with this problem. If you approach this with an attitude that you have a right to/need to control the noise level around you, you will desire to trespass on the rights of others. If you approach this with an attitude that you have a problem with noise level around you - which is not the responsibility of others to fix - you will seek solutions by dealing with your own levels of anxiety/irritation/other that will give you ways to soothe yourself in all such situations.

...the child just couldn't stay quiet: she was singing constantly, saying "byebye, please come in" to every car that we came across, even parked cars, being very annoying in general.

Maybe it was just excess energy or ebullience; maybe the child had a neurological disorder of her own. In any case, it is actually her right to sing and speak. I cannot myself imagine asking someone on public transportation to quiet their child. Most parents try to balance the needs of others against the needs of the child - that's commonly known as making their child behave properly in public. If the parent isn't doing something in that situation, either they don't know it's a problem or don't care about you - in which case, they will not take kindly to your request - or they know there's a problem, and they have decided that the only reasonable way to deal with it is to allow the child to chatter on.

In any case, I see a problem with the fundamental way you're approaching this.

Please consider that you might be asking people to give up freedoms they have in order to help you feel better (something that is not looked favorably upon in general). Playing loud music in the middle of the night? Your need wins. Dog constantly barking in the house next door? Check. You win that one, too. Kids running up and down the stairs all day in the apartment adjoining yours? Check. Evangelicals preaching to you at your front door? Check. Telemarketers bothering you? Check. Child singing and chattering on a bus? NOPE.

Work on developing coping skills for such situations. They will help you far more than the alternative.

Such skills can be to meditate (with practice you can do it almost anywhere), to practice mindfulness (paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally), to play games in your mind or on a phablet, to carry noise-cancelling earphones wherever you go, to listen to music that you especially like through earphones; to imagine what it is like to be that little girl in her sing-song world, making up a non-judgmental different reality, to practice empathy. Any of a vast number of strategies can be learned to deal with stress.

Coping with stress: Divergent strategies of optimists and pessimists.

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    +100 for "my problem". It's not unfair to ask people for help with your problems, but at the end of the day, your problems are not theirs.
    – deworde
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 15:44
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    If I were significantly better at communicating, this is the answer I would have written. Your point that the child may not be neurotypical is a good one, but I think it's worth noting that children in general are not neurotypical by adult standards; to impose adult standards of behaviour (like expecting them to sit quietly for a half hour bus journey) may be very stressful for them. Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 19:01
  • "Please consider that you might be asking people to give up freedoms they have in order to help you feel better" - Let's not get carried away. The child was just mindlessly singing, without any consideration for those around her. If you the OP mindlessly screamed without any consideration, she wouldn't like it either. Kids just don't yet have a well-developed sense of others' personal or auditory space. They're just unaware, and unfortunately many parents don't make much of an effort to educate them. Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 12:28
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    @deworde - yes and no. If someone yells in your ear, it's your problem caused by their behavior. The question lies in where you place the boundary between reasonably acceptable behavior vs. unreasonably impactful one. And it's largely cultural - as the OP noted, the rules used to be for children to be quiet and NOT bother adults for a large swath of history. (or for unrelated topic, you used to consider that someone smoking on the bus is expected and reasonable. Most Western countries, that isn't true anymore).
    – user3143
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:59

The best thing you can do is to politely request that they try to quiet their child. Maybe phrase it something like this:

I'm sorry to bother you, but I am trying to work on this / having a really stressful day / etc. and your daughter's high pitched talking is really bothering me. Can you please try to quiet her down a bit? I'd really appreciate it.

As long as you use an appropriately polite tone, I would hope the mother would at least try to hush her child.

Some people might take it (or anything you say to them) the wrong way. At that point, the only thing left to do is try and distract yourself some other way, possibly headphones with music or moving to a different part of the bus where the road noise might drown out the child a little.

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    To me, this seems to imply that your day is more important than my day. You might be having a stressful day, but I've probably been dealing with this incessant singing for hours before we got on this bus, and will continue for hours after we get off this bus.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 15:28
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    It's more like saying that it's annoying him more than it's annoying the mother, which is probably true because otherwise the mother would've said something already.
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 15:45
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    I'd refrain from telling any parent that their kid has a "high-pitched" voice or something like this. To me, that comes off as quite negative right from the start, and I'd expect a knee-jerk reaction instantaneously (or, at best, passive-aggressivity). Everything else seems OK though, for the general idea and sentiment.
    – haylem
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:56
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    @Erik or maybe the parent has given up trying to quiet the child and doesn't have anymore techniques.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 17:31
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    I would estimate about 60-70% of parents would be quite annoyed by this request, no matter how politely worded. Anyone who has had young children knows that a loud, happy child is an almost best case scenario. The alternative is probably a loud, crying child.
    – Tenfour04
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 14:11

A polite request to the parent, in most situations, would not be taken amiss. In particular with a small amount of information as to why you're specifically asking.

Hello, Ma'am, I'm sorry but I have a bit of a headache today. If it's possible could you ask your child to lower her voice some? Thank you.

Be very specific as to the particular behavior you are addressing. Focusing on behavior means you can be specific with what is an issue, and the parent can be specific as to what their children need to stop doing. If you're simply frustrated at children's general behavior, either figure out a way to state a specific behavior or find an alternate solution.

However, there will be cases where this doesn't go over well; in particular, when parents are already stressed about their children's behavior (which may be expressed in multiple ways, including by ignoring them). You will have to decide when this is likely to work and when it's not, and be willing to live with the consequences (ie, an aggravated "Don't tell me how to raise my children" or some such).

I would suggest asking this only when the children are acting well outside of normal, at least in one way (for example, very loud pitched screaming); in particular, when you can specify the exact behavior, and it's clearly out of normal bounds. If you're simply annoyed about "normal" children's behavior, that's not really appropriate to bring up; children will talk, they will comment on moving busses and such, and you're going to have to find a coping mechanism to deal with that element. But children acting well outside of reasonable norms, particularly with high volume or physical contact, it's certainly appropriate to ask (politely) of the parent for them to stop.

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    " If you're simply annoyed about "normal" children's behavior, that's not really appropriate to bring up" reminds me of the recent question travel.stackexchange.com/questions/48775/… where a youth is asked to give up their rights to an adult merely because many adults believe they have more rights to something than a youth does. You can ask a cell phone talker to get off the phone when sharing a bus with them, but they certainly don't have to. I agree with the above statement - it's not appropriate, but it can be done.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:36
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    This question reminded me of that also - as almost the converse question, really. That was "how does a not-very-pushy person deal with inappropriate pushy requests", and this is "how does a not-very-pushy person make a sometimes-inappropriate pushy request", sort of.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 16:37
  • Great answer. I'd even go so far as to say that even some "normal" behavior is disruptive, and most parents know this. As long as the request is specific and directed at the behavior (not the child) any decent human being should be able and willing to at least try to redirect the kid. Do unto others...
    – Jax
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 22:45

I'd say that having a coping strategy ready for this is going to be much more valuable to you than attempting to stop someone else making annoying noises.

A set of professional / musician earplugs, for example, can make a huge difference with general & background noise reduction while not preventing you from hearing other people speak to you.

Your chances of getting other children to quiet down are shaky at best, and may aggravate the parent - but a good set of earplugs or noise-cancelling earphones will always work.

If the child's behaviour is way out of line and is genuinely causing a problem for you (rather than you just finding it annoying) then a polite word with the parent may be in order; just don't expect it to be fixed as soon as you say something - chances are the parent is already trying to deal with it.

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    I like this answer because it provides a permanent fix for a problem they will encounter throughout their life. Otherwise they will have to ask for quiet from people around them whenever they encounter it.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:50
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    thanks - my philosophy in general is that you can't control other people (or atleast, not all of the time) but you can control yourself. if you can fix a problem by changing your own behaviour, you can have a 100% success rate... but making others change for you - probably not!
    – nurgle
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 15:44
  • As much as I agree with the top answer and how well put those suggestions are, as the father of loud, young kids I have been at both ends of this situation and I'd recommend noise-canceling earphones as being the solution I expect to be most effective. It is hard to control young kids and just ends up stressing the parent when they find it is impossible to control their little one (it's a bit different when the child is older, like say 8 or 9+). Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 5:30

I had some entertaining experience with a loud boy in the bus. In order to overcome the issue I created an Origami bird and showed the boy how the bird can move its wings. The boy was amazed and spend 15 minutes with the bird. Finally, the bird was destroyed and the boy became quiet - I think he was sad he cannot recreated the bird...

In my opinion this non stressful interaction useful for the both sides (I had a great day after that).

this is the link to the origami bird I did for a boy -


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    give a boy an origami bird and he will be quiet for 15 minutes, teach him how to fold one and you will enjoy the whole travel noise free -- author: me
    – WoJ
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 8:29
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    This is great, and is the classic "distraction technique" of modifying behavior that does tend to work well when you have something creative to offer. For my own kids I've used stories or random non sequiturs which end up making their gears turn (and end up leading to fun conversations :) ) Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 5:31

I think your request would go much better if you politely ask the child to stop. This is, of course, assuming the child is old enough to understand you - otherwise I doubt even the parents would have much luck.

Telling the parent that they should quiet their child puts a lot of stress and attention on them that they simply don't want. I think its most likely that they won't respond well to this, even if they are too polite to say so to your face.

You could say (without irritation) something like:

Excuse me, little miss. You sing beautifully, but I really have a headache. Can you sing a little more quietly for me?

This puts no pressure on the parent but will certainly alert them that the noise is bothering you. They will likely reinforce your request with the "I told you so" look. If it seems likely that the child will ignore your request, they may try to distract the child in some other way or they may not - at least then you know they are at least aware that the noise is bothering you.

It's still possible to get the "Talk to me, not my child" response. In my experience, this hasn't happened.

My own experiences from the past were from working retail - asking children to sit on their butts (in grocery carts) for safety reasons. Usually parents already have asked them once or twice, so getting the parent to do it a third time, and having them go through the stress and embarrassment of having a stranger watch their child not listen, is just not as successful as asking the child yourself and reinforcing their parent's requests.

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    I like this because I prefer treating children as equals. On the other hand many youth see adults as authorities of one form or another, and will not stand up for their own rights in the face of even a very polite request ( see, for example, travel.stackexchange.com/questions/48775/… ) so I'm a bit torn as to whether this is a good idea when the child is traveling with their parents. As a retail worker, you were in a position of some authority. That is a different relationship than a fellow passenger.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:57
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    @AdamDavis I certainly see your point. I think I would still ask the child, but I would make sure the parent is around to supervise as well. They should be able to stand up for their child's rights, if they think your request imposes on them. (if I were asking something that seemed unreasonable, I personally, would add the phrase: You don't have too, but will you... to make it clear I didn't expect them to say yes if they didn't want too) Note that the main problem with the question you linked is that people ask "not politely" and seem very pushy towards the OP. Don't do that. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:22

As a parent myself, I understand if some of kid's behaviors are annoying to some people. But a kid singing a song repetitively is very different to kids who kick other people's seats. I myself would scold my kid who did the latter.

But kids are kids, they do things repetitively when they learn something new so we have to understand it as long as it is not hurting you physically.

But as a person who has Asperger's you can try using noise cancelling headphones when commuting; you cannot always explain yourself so I'd rather do that if I were you. Win-win situation. We also do not know what the parent is coming from at that point in time.

As the quote says, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."


One thing you could do is talk directly to the child.

I'm sorry to bother you, but I am not feeling very well. Would it be okay for us to be a bit quieter for a bit? You know what it's like when you're poorly. I'd really appreciate it.

Obviously, you have to judge the situation (I recommend looking at the child while talking, and when you pause immediately looking to the parent to make sure they're not looking angry) and make sure you're not coming across as a threat, but a lot of children will respond well to being treated like a person instead of a problem.

To be honest, the main danger you run is that the child will then start "shushing" EVERYONE else on the bus (including her own parent), but hey, that works in your favour...

  • And instead of asking this, maybe starting an actual conversation with the kid is less stressful too.
    – Remco
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 20:31
  • Adults should not talk directly to children - child protection trumps all other causes nowadays and it is no longer acceptable for adults to approach children. Their motives, however honest, will be misconstrued. If the child is bothering you, move away - end of story. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:55
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    @OwenBoyle that's a rather sweeping statement to make, and also dependent the situation (compare an adult talking to a child already sitting near him with a parent right there, to an adult approaching a child while a parent is not visibly nearby) — I do agree that it's an important factor to bear in mind when considering whether to start a conversation, just not necessarily to this degree.
    – Acire
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:43

You understand what it is like to not be neurotypical, and therefore perhaps also to exhibit behaviors other people might find annoying -- though we all agree that the proper response from them is to let you be, unless you are truly and objectively disruptive.

Maybe it would help you to empathize by remembering that children are also not (yet) neurotypical adults, and cut them the slack that you would expect for yourself.

A child talking and singing, having a high-pitched voice, talking to or about things that you would not, is normal and acceptable behavior for them. If not at excessive volume (let's say, not louder than two nearby adults having a conversation on the bus), it is not something to interfere with, IMHO. Annoying to you or not, it seems just as improper to ask a child to stop normal behavior as it would be for somebody asking you to stop something that is normal to you, but annoying to them. It is common courtesy to allow a certain amount of annoying, but normal, behaviors in a public place to pass without comment.

My answer is based on the assumption (from my read of the original question) that the child's behavior is not outside of developmental or societal norms, is not bothering anybody else enough to mention it, and is not technically misbehavior -- not kicking the seat, yelling, saying socially unacceptable things. Misbehavior is a different story, and not one you seem to be asking about.


No, there is no good reliable way to achieve this

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no, it's not acceptable for you to complain to a parent about a young child singing quietly on a bus. There is no socially good way for you to accomplish this, it would be overstepping your bounds.

Context is everything

Imagine you are eating a Bacon sandwich. I'm a vegetarian and on a diet and I don't like bacon, so I come up and ask you to put your sandwich away. This would not be reasonable because eating a bacon sandwich is inside socially acceptable bounds.

Imagine instead you are eating a bacon sandwich and you walk into a synagogue. In this instance it would be acceptable for me to ask you to put your sandwich away because eating bacon in a synagogue is not inside socially acceptable bounds.

Context is everything. Context is often hard for ASD people who tend to try to extrapolate general rules. I should know.

Young children burble and wriggle and talk quietly to themselves and there's little any parent can do (short of yelling) to prevent this. For this reason, quiet baby noise in a public, non-quiet space is socially acceptable.

However, quiet baby noise in a space where you could reasonably expect silence (such as a cinema or theatre) is not socially acceptable. Parents of young children generally do no take them into such spaces because of this.

You are highly likely to create conflict

Parents of young children receive special consideration (help on and off transport, doors held open, etc) because of the hard job they are doing. Attacking that would be going against that cultural norm and would have to be handled very sensitively. If you are on the spectrum I suspect sensitivity may not be your strong suit.

In addition, most parent's are highly protective of their children, and may also be sleep deprived. Any perceived slur against their child or parenting style coming from a stranger is not likely to be taken well.


Have a good distraction for the kid with you.

"I'm very sorry, but I have a condition that makes it really hard for me to hear your child's singing. Would she perhaps like to watch Sesame Street / play Minecraft / etc on my phone / iPad / etc?"

This avoids all the cases where the parent is unable to quieten the kid, and makes it rather hard for them to say no without thinking of some alternative themselves.

Of course the kid's sounds will be replaced by those of Sesame Street in this case, but it'll probably be a lot less loud.

  • 1
    some parents (like me) won't like their kids being "silenced" with an electronic gadget. Apart from that my phone is way to value for giving it to an unknown child which might drop it etc.
    – arved
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 9:43
  • Of course, those parents can say no, that's not his problem. Origami birds as mentioned elsewhere are a cheaper (and maybe less effective) example of the same idea, that if you want the kid to do something else, it helps to have something prepared for the kid, and preferably something that will work on a lot of them.
    – Remco
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:15

It depends how loud the child is and how old the child is.

If they're shouting their head off, they're old enough to know better, and their parent(s) aren't intervening, then consider saying something. If they're no louder than regular conversation, or if they're too young to reason with (anything under 2, pretty much), or if their parent is clearly trying to keep order and the kid is playing up, then there's nothing you can do.

If they're not that loud and it's just that they have a high-pitched voice which gets on your nerves, that's YOUR problem. Own it. The rest of the world doesn't stop for you. I'm sorry if this is unsympathetic to your condition, but the solution is for you to develop coping strategies (headphones, music, phone games, whatever).

If they're too young, then sure, that's annoying. But there's nothing anyone can do about it, so there's no point asking the parent(s) to do anything because they can't. Babies just do that, and the rest of the human race has to grin and bear it, because that's the price of continuing the species. This is something you need to expect in a public environment, and again it comes down to YOU getting some coping strategies.

And if the kid is clearly acting up and the parent is already doing what they can and is stressed out, please don't make things worse for them. They're having a bad enough day as it is, and if you start having a go then you're likely to either drive them to tears or drive them to have a go back at you. Kids sometimes do this, and again the rest of the world just needs to remember they were that age once as well.

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    The OP did ask for ways to do it without making the situation worse, and appears to have no interest in "having a go" at parents. You touched on this very slightly in the second paragraph but the rest of the answer isn't particularly constructive.
    – Acire
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:44
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    STFU? Really? Do unto others, Graham. Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 2:24
  • Edited for politeness, though @graham makes a reasonable point. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:39
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    @Erica It's constructive in the sense of giving reasons why the OP shouldn't expect this to happen. In any public space, he must expect to meet children behaving this way, because this is entirely within the bounds of normal acceptable behaviour for children. Unless the child is genuinely out of control, the problem is entirely the OP's, and under no circumstances should he/she ever expect any parent to take any action. Apologies for impoliteness, but the idea that children should be muzzled for the OP's benefit would be offensive to most parents.
    – Graham
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:55
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    I'm more concerned with the phrasing (e.g. the rest of the world doesn't stop for you, if you start having a go, emphasizing it's [OP's] problem) — that doesn't seem to be necessary to make the point that "some children are naturally chatty and developing a coping strategy is the best way forward for everyone". This answer was flagged and you've gotten multiple comments about its tone. I am simply asking if you can see a way to rephrase this to be more considerate of another Parenting user... that is, after all, what you are asking the OP to do to another bus passenger.
    – Acire
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:58

I'll offer a slight spin on the answers that were given:

No, it's not acceptable

Should it be acceptable? Of course. We should be able to ask people to respect the other people in their immediate vicinity. And we should be able to approach parents that are not aware of their child's own behavior and how it's affecting that particular social contract.

However, odds are that you will not receive the response you were hoping for in most cases. People aren't, in general, fans of people telling them how to parent. And those parents that aren't aware what their children are doing in public tend to be the type of parent that really doesn't like people telling them how to parent.

So, by all means, you have the right and many would argue, the obligation, to say something, but it probably won't result in an outcome that you were hoping for.

Instead, I'd suggest some headphones when dealing with public transit.

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