LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Every Tuesday morning I take my 2-year-old to a gym class, where the teacher leads the children in songs, dances and tricks on balance beams and mats.
Most of the parents participate in the introduction and play along with their child. But at least one mom often is using her cell phone to text while the teacher is speaking.
At storytime at the library, the kids sit in front of the librarian and listen to books and do crafts. Parents either sit with their child or nearby. While most parents pay attention, one mom rests against the wall reading a book.
My friend leans over to me and says: "Do you see that lady? That is so rude."
Is it? What is appropriate mommy etiquette in these situations?
Let your child's best interests be your guide, the experts say.
"As a parent, you're kind of committed to doing an activity with your child," says Cindy Senning, a director and parenting and children's etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vt.
"Both for your child's sake and for the others that are around you, you should be participating in the activity, not doing something else. It's a little bit disrespectful."
Senning, author of "The Gift of Good Manners," says that etiquette in the mommy world is really no different from any place else. Texting during a business meeting or reading a book in a corner would be inappropriate, right? Same thing with that behavior during a parent-involved class.
Parenthood opens up a bunch of new situations that call for careful handling.
For example, what do you do when you are at a park and a child wanders over and asks to join your picnic and their parent isn't on the case?
My friend usually offers the kid an apple slice and asks him where his picnic is.
Senning suggests saying: "We're about to have our lunch now, so maybe you can go back to where your mom is and you can come back to see us in a little while."
Nice, to the point and doesn't make the kid feel bad.
Why didn't I think of that?
Jennifer Polk, a mother of two from Morrison, Colo., says she can't stand it when another mother scolds her child for doing something inappropriate, yet doesn't discipline her own child for doing something similar.
"And, along the same lines, are mothers that totally ignore their children's behavior at places like play areas, and their kids get away with everything," she says.
Disciplining other people's children is a tough subject, and Senning says the rule of thumb is that you really don't do it at all unless the behavior is hurtful or potentially hurtful.
"The trouble with trying to discipline other people's behavior is A: it doesn't work and B: you just create a confrontation. It's a worthless confrontation," Senning says.
(But parents can ask other children to meet their standards when hosting a play date in their home by explaining the house rules.)
So the message is this: don't bring distractions to parent-involved classes, pay attention to the teacher and if you can't say something nice about a kid, don't say it at all.
Wait. This all sounds familiar. Isn't this what we're trying to teach our kids?