Mum asks: should young children give up seats for their elders?

Would YOU make your child give up their seat on public transport? Mother reveals she was rebuked by an angry pensioner for not making her four and six-year-old stand up

  • British Mumsnet user said her children, four and six, were sitting down on bus 
  • Older lady started complaining loudly because she didn’t make them stand up 
  • Some parents said they would have made their children share a seat
  • A handful argued kids should be standing and should just hold on properly

A mother has provoked a furious debate on whether children should be made to give up their seats for elderly passengers on public transport, after an incident during a bus journey. 

Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet the woman explained how a woman in her sixties had started moaning ‘loudly’ because she didn’t offer her one of the seats occupied by her her two children, aged four and six.

The mother-of-three went on to explain that she was standing with a baby in a pram, and so couldn’t offer her own seat.

According to the woman, who under the username ‘whatsthepointthen,’ the older lady kept ‘shaking her head’ throughout the journey, prompting her to pose the question: ‘Should children give up their seats for their elders?’

The scenario initiated a range of replies from others, with some suggesting it depends on the children’s age and how able bodied the older person is, while others claimed ‘some bus routes are not suitable for small children to stand on.’

A woman has provoked a furious debate about children being made to give up their seats on public transport after an incident on public transport (stock image)

The woman outlined in her post that her son had previously fallen over on the bus after it had ‘whizzed’ around a corner. Since then, she has always tried to get her children seats 

A popular view was that at the age of four and six, the children should have been sharing a seat rather.

One said: ‘At four and six I would have had them squash up so someone else could at least perch on the end.’ 

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The original poster gave further context, saying her her son had previously fallen on the same bus and banged his head on the floor while ‘standing up and holding on’ after the bus ‘whizzed’ around the corner, so she now always tries to make sure they get a seat.

Others agreed with her, including one who said: ‘Children should be sitting down on buses as it’s safer for them. There is a tendency for people to treat kids like second class citizens – they were on the bus first and therefore got the seats and have no moral obligation to give them up any more than the adults who were on the bus first. That’s how public transport works and if she doesn’t like the rules, she is free to get a cab!’

Many users agreed that it depended on how able-bodied the older lady was and also a person’s health

Threads from other Mumsnet users flooded in to support the view that the children should have shared a seat or squeezed up to make more room 

Another agreed, saying: ‘I’d not ask my children to stand. They have as much right to a seat as anyone else.’ 

However, others disagreed and said that the six-year-old at least should have stood up. 

One unsympathetic reader replied: ‘That’s just basic consideration. Can you six-year- old ride a scooter? If so, he’s got a sense of balance.’

One poster said she would have made the six-year-old stand but not the four-year-old – because their sense of balance isn’t as strong so they may fall over 

Another user agreed: ‘I always told my DS to stand up for a woman or an older man and now as a teenager he always leaps up to offer people his seat.’ 

While another suggested the mum’s decision not to make her children move and offer up their seats was rude: ‘If the woman was elderly and fell she could end up dying or permanently disabled. 

‘So I would get at least the six-year-old to give up a seat but I’m “old-fashioned” and polite anyway so I’d have my children stand with me (and hold onto them).’ 

The post was inundated with mixed comments – some suggesting offering a seat was ‘basic consideration’ and others agreeing they were ‘divided’ on this. 

Others took the viewpoint that other adults should have vacated their seat for an elderly lady. 

One commented: ‘I always find it bizarre that the people who are compelled to give up their seat for a vulnerable passenger, are other vulnerable passengers rather than, for example strapping twenty year olds.’ 

Another agreed: ‘Well, unless she was struggling to stand I don’t think being in her 60s makes her more worthy of a seat than a child. Surely it makes far more sense for an able bodied adult to stand up than a child of 4 or 6.’     

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