to think that it is poor behaviour if children/teenagers play on their phones for 100% of the time at a meal out?

(151 Posts)
FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 19:54:26

Bit of a reunion with old friends today. We are scattered far and wide so don't see each other all that often and have lots of children between us ages ranging from 8 to 14, who don't know each other particularly well but have certainly met before and seen each other from time to time.

There were more than 25 of us and the only way we could configure it in the restaurant was for the 8 children to sit on a table nearby.

Aibu to be really unimpressed that 3 of these kids simply played on their phones for the entire meal and made no effort to interact with the others?

My dd said that one boy (younger than her) literally did not speak at all.

GloriaPritchett Sat 16-Feb-13 19:56:10

I normally would say YANBU, and I wouldn't be happy if it were my DC, but did they know one another? I wouldn't like to sit with 8 people I didn't know either.

TWinklyLittleStar Sat 16-Feb-13 19:58:23

YABU in these circumstances, 14 year olds do not want to get to know 8 year old.strangers. Presumably they left you and your friends eating in peace to have fun rather than whining and complaining about being bored.

HollyBerryBush Sat 16-Feb-13 19:59:55

They are being dragged out to a lunch where their parents are friends - utterly boring and Im impressed that anyone got a 14yo to go anywhere with a load of adults and little kids. Let alone parking them on a table by themselves.


But I fear that this is the future.

Pagwatch Sat 16-Feb-13 20:02:56

I am a fucking dinosaur.
DCs not allowed phones or gizmos at the table. Even DS1 aged 19.

They can be bored for a couple of hours. It won't kill them.

Pagwatch Sat 16-Feb-13 20:03:24

I mean to say YANBU

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:04:02


It is incredibly rude and the fact they didn't know each other is no excuse.

But I see adults doing this too

It's horrendous, but like Chaos I think it is sadly the future sad

Well YANBU except that Ds has autism, and if that is the future of social interaction then yay for him!!!!

Pagwatch Sat 16-Feb-13 20:06:13

Star. Ds2 isn't allowed either.
Bored schmored.


badguider Sat 16-Feb-13 20:07:09

It's a horrible situation to put them together like that when they're not family and are at such an awkward age and when there's such a difference between an 8 yr old and 14yr old.

I think there is no way in which one table of 17 and one of 8 is fair - i'd have made three tables of around 8 and mixed the kids in. It was very unfair of the adults to arrange it how they did.

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:07:11

I see adults doing it regularly. Was out a couple of months ago - next to us were 3 adults and 2 kids. Adults spent half the time on their phone,

cozietoesie Sat 16-Feb-13 20:10:22

I was going round a notable local graveyard some months back with a group led by an enthusiast. Guess what the teenagers in the group were doing?

What concerns me more than anything is that they no longer read. Books etc/

Oh no. Ds isn't allowed. But I just think that the reduced demands for conversation and eye contact is a positive for him even I he doesn't have a gadget of his own.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:14:46

They might be reading on Kindles cozie

But still rude. Even if they are

DS is only 1 but he won't be allowed. Although by the time he's a teen people will probably have microchips grafted to their heads

<shuffles off like old gimmer>

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:14:49

YABU to park young adults on a table with 8 year olds and expect them to be mates and engage. How bloody patronising. I'd have sat and played on my phone and texted my mates too.

Perhaps get allow them to join your group next time and get in on your conversation rather than designating a kiddy table.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:16:52

(I think phones at the table are unacceptable FYI- but I can see why teenagers would be stroppy and texting and facebooking if mum and dad had dragged them out and shoved them on a table with a load of kids- if you cared so much about conversation and socialising you would have had them sat amongst you!)

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:20

But the whole reason we were together is to see our adult friends who we don't see very often. The children were 14, 12, 12, 12, 12, 10, 10 and 8. The person who proposed and organised this get together is someone who doesn't live where most of the rest of us do but was very definitely the host. It was her two children and one of the other 12 year olds who spent their time entirely on the phone. All the rest of them managed to socialise.

Pagwatch Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:43

Sorry Starlight. I did get what you meant. It was just a lame joshing. Sorry.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:53

I think once in a while it is ok to ask children - heavens even 14 year olds! shock - to accommodate the preferences of the adults.

Smudging Sat 16-Feb-13 20:25:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Sat 16-Feb-13 20:26:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cozietoesie Sat 16-Feb-13 20:28:01

They don't read catgirl. Sorry.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:02

I'm quietly amazed that the two parents concerned didn't tell them to just get off their bloody phones. Parents who are scared of saying no to their kids, or just oblivious to how awful it looks?

GogoGobo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:15

YANBU. Good learning experience missed for the older ones to "host" the younger ones and socialise with strangers! What will they do in the real world when they have to rub along with randoms!

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:24

The only thing anti-social is the kids table. I bet they wouldn't have had their phone out if they were mixed in amongst the adults.

I know it's the hosts fault- and not yours, but it was a poor choice of restaurant if that was the seating arrangements.

If you want to treat them like babies, don't expect them to be stroppy and fannying around on phones. This is an age where they should indeed be mixing with adults, having conversations and socialising- and basically learning how to behave in this situation. You can't expect them to learn this if their parents have a 'seen not heard' mentality if it comes to kids- which is why it makes sense that the hosts children were the main offenders grin

Bogeyface Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:34

In this case, no I dont think it iok to accomodate the preferences of adults, if the adults stick them off somewhere on their own and then dont interact with them!

I dont allow phones at the table at all, I am very strict about it, but in this case I am on the kids side. They are dumped with a load of kids they dont know, in a place they probably dont want to be and then left to it.


Bogeyface Sat 16-Feb-13 20:33:32

Parents who are scared of saying no to their kids, or just oblivious to how awful it looks?

Or appreciate that the kids are bored and letting it go for the sake of harmony.

Remotecontrolduck Sat 16-Feb-13 20:34:14

It is anti social to not make an attempt to talk, but you can't expect a 14 year old and an 8 year old to have much to talk about really? There is a hell of a lot of difference there. It was probably quite awkward all round.

Maybe next time mix the adults in with the children.

GloriaPritchett Sat 16-Feb-13 20:34:20

I am quite surprised at myself, but I still don't think it's that bad. They've been dragged quite far away from home at half term and made to sit in a restaurant at the kiddy table with a load of other kids who they don't know and probably aren't interested in knowing.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:35:08

They should be learning to host the younger ones?! Jesus wept.

They should be learning to mix with everyone, adults included! As a too cool for school 14 year old who ALWAYS had her cousins foisted on her and forced to play entertainer at gatherings, I can understand the phone button-mashing

HollyBerryBush Sat 16-Feb-13 20:36:29

I doubt it was a short meal - and I doubt a 14yo had much to say to an 8 or 10 yo either. Sounds a bloody awful time for them TBH. Nothing in common, not of an age, lobbed in a corner and ignored by adults, some of whom were probably drinking.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Feb-13 20:38:22

So they were dragged out on a Saturday to meet up with a load of boring old people. When all they wanted to do was be with their mates. Then they finally get their and all the dc's, regardless of age and maturity are lumped on the kids table.. I know what I would have been doing. Bitching about it on fb

Porkster Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:29

Whilst I think it's a bit tragic when I see kids out with their parents for a meal and the kids are playing on their phones and not chatting - if the kids were lumped together and didn't know each other, I don't blame them.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:11

Your posts really make me pmsl HollyBerryBush, you are so consistently hostile. I haven't seen you utter anything vaguely pleasant yet. Are you some sort of construct?

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:54

ihearsounds I take it you are also 14?

LaQueen Sat 16-Feb-13 20:45:06

I'm with Pag on this one.

Our DDs have never been allowed toys/gadgets/gizmos at the dinner table, and they never will be.

Even DH, who is welded to his Smart phone, has learned to switch it off when we're eating at home/eating out (it took a few heated sessions with a whip and a chair, but he got the message eventually).

I bleddy hate to see families eating out, and half the group are buggering about with mobiles, the entire time. It just looks so soulless.

I mean God forbid, that children and adults should actually...I dunno..have a conversation with each other, and actually make a bit of a social effort, even if they'd rather not.

This sort of behaviour is simply not tolerated in my family - you are expected to pay attention, join in, take part and be sociable - yes, even (gasp) make conversation with people (gasp) slightly older/younger than yourself...and even (gasp) if secretly you'd rather be doing something else.

I (hope) I'm raising and encouraging our DDs to learn good social skills & behaviour, and encouraging their ability to chat with people they don't know that well.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:31

Why do I need to be 14 to understand their point of view?

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:48:37

'No, I'm not/*general flurry of cattiness*'

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Feb-13 20:50:32

You should have mixed the children in with the adults and had a proper social event, instead of excluding them to a table of their own.

GloriaPritchett Sat 16-Feb-13 20:51:03

To be fair, Euro, a lot of people have agreed with the OP.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Sat 16-Feb-13 20:52:21

I've had a similar thing very recently and one of the mothers ticked off her son, aged 19, quite nastily, he sheepishly put his phone away and made an effort to chat.
She spent the next hour answering calls!

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 20:54:00

Exactly- lots of people have.

Some haven't though, and that's equally fine. Why must they be faced with sarcy 'are you 14?' comments?

GogoGobo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:11

EuroShopper - so you don't see any merit in teenagers doing something for an hour or two that isn't entirely on their terms?

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:14

How would you have mixed the tables then please? Given that we were

1 adult + a 14 and 12 year old
1 adult + a 12 year old
2 adults + a 12 year old and a 10 year old
2 adults + a 12 year old
2 adults + a 10 year old and an 8 year old

and 5 adults with no children with them.

And we had one table of 8 and another table of 12.

Please tell us how we could have mixed this up, thank you.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:46

DH did this regularly. He did it during a romantic evening out just the two of us. I was so hacked off after a while I walked out.

He doesnt do it anymore.

It is extremely rude - my parents expected us as children to make conversations with one another when out in big group. Learning to socialise with new people is a great asset that some children wont have if they are glued to their phones 24/7.

fluckered Sat 16-Feb-13 20:58:36

i think it was lousy to lump them altogether like that without them really knowing eachother. they were old enough why didnt they sit with the adults and engage with everyone?

GloriaPritchett Sat 16-Feb-13 20:59:36

I would have really tried not to bring any of the children to be honest. I hated being dragged to my parents' friends' parties.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:51

4 children at both tables.
Asked the staff to put the tables together for a bigger party.
Made the reservation for 21.

HollyBerryBush Sat 16-Feb-13 21:01:16

I'm with gloria

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:01:55

I agree to some extent Gloria. Better to leave them at home if they are not going to make any effort at all.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 16-Feb-13 21:02:08

I don't think you were seated incorrectly OP, and I think that most of the posters who agree with you (myself included) think that had the DC's not been on their phones they may have been able to talke to each other and get along better.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:02:45

The reservation was made for 21 but the restaurant unhelpfully lost the booking.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:37

But hang on, how comes it was made for 21 if more than 25 showed up? confused

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sat 16-Feb-13 21:05:32

Yes, if you're going to include them in this activity that you so desperately want them to learn from.

Mixing the tables up, going to a different restaurant where they can accommodate you, saying 'no phones' and getting them involved in conversation and engaging with them. Now, I can see merit in that.

Shoving a group of bored, mixed ages group kids onto the kiddy table and bitching about them not engaging with each other and opting for FB over chatting to some random 8 year old kid 6 years younger than you- no. That's absolutely ridiculous.

You're treating them like babies, so don't complain if they act as so.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:08:56

There was one 8 year old ffs who, luckily, my 12 year old and 10 year old were willing and happy to include.

maisiejoe123 Sat 16-Feb-13 21:09:38

Adults do this as well - just look around the next bus or tube you get onto - at least 50%on their phones, checking messages, on BBM etc. My DH knows I hate this, he had taken at one point even we went out for dinner together (and this was rare!) to place his phone on the table - just in case of course. I had to say something. Nothing is THAT urgent and what did we do before the dam things.

If we have left DS at home alone when we go out we leave them the resturant number. Nothing has happened apart from silly calls, like 'shall I let the dog out', have you fed the dog', 'what time did you say you were coming back, I have forgotton and it goes on and on..../.

GogoGobo Sat 16-Feb-13 21:10:28

Ok Euro, so you don't see any merit in getting the teenagers to do something not on their terms for an hour or two because your proposal is to re-work the event and make it more palatable for them.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:10:58

EuroShopper - do you think the 12, 12, and 14 year olds who were permanently on their phones would have been properly engaged if they were on a table with the rest of us (ages 44 to 51) talking about our jobs and the good ol' days? Do you really?

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:14:02

We often have family and friend gatherings, anything from 8 adults and 8 children upwards to around 30. The children are included in the socialising.
If they weren't, then it's really up to them to choose what they do to while away the time. It sounds as if the three didn't want to be there, did the other five chat and socialise and make new friendships?

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:16:17

'EuroShopper - do you think the 12, 12, and 14 year olds who were permanently on their phones would have been properly engaged if they were on a table with the rest of us (ages 44 to 51) talking about our jobs and the good ol' days? Do you really?'

Depends what sort of an effort the adults made to be interesting and inclusive.
You obviously think YANBU, so why ask the question?

BIWI Sat 16-Feb-13 21:16:52

Oh goodness. <agonises>

I can see your point, that you would obviously prefer them to talk/chat together. But I can also absolutely see that with that age range that there would have been a massive amount of hormones flying around.

Even children that had met before/knew each other can be forgiven for awkward behaviour once the hormones start to appear.

Personally, if the 8 of them were sitting together and not making a racket or disrupting the conversation of the adults, I would have seen that as a result.

I can remember when I was that age being painfully shy, so if I had had something to distract me, I would have been very grateful.

So, I am going to say that YABU to judge it as poor behaviour.

YANBU to want them to 'behave' themselves.

But YABU to assume that they should behave as you want them to.

They, presumably, let you all get on with what you were doing?

kinkyfuckery Sat 16-Feb-13 21:17:34

So you booked a table for 21, they only gave you two tables that would sit 20, but you had more than 25 people turn up?

That sucks.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:19:45

What a sensible post. BIWI. smile

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 16-Feb-13 21:21:03

Hmmm I'm not sure about this. My son couldn't get through an entire meal with strangers without tuning out on his phone (or old iphone with no simcard which he uses as an ipod) as he has an ASD and finds these situations extremely difficult, but I'd let him have periods of interacting with people and then periods of being able to tune out on his phone and if there were other children around the same age as him I'd encourage him to interact more.

aldiwhore Sat 16-Feb-13 21:24:02

If there are other children of similar age then YANBU.

If not, then YABU... meals out were only exciting for me when I stopped being a kid.

My mum constantly huffs and tuts if the boys bring their Nintendo's to meals out... and yet, when I was a child, her bag would be packed to the brim of 'distractions' and 'boredom control' items (colouring books and pens, puzzles, toys etc.,) just because it's electronic doesn't make it bad.

I don't care 'how it looks' and I'm not scared of saying no... but meals out can be very dull.

On balance, even though I don't agree with everything you say FlouncingMintyy YANBU in this instance... in my opinion. (Though some of your comments are a bit judgey... meh, I'm guilty of that at times so won't hold it against you).

aldiwhore Sat 16-Feb-13 21:25:00

BIWI I agree.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Feb-13 21:25:24

YANBU. That is a real shame, and had I been the parent of any of those children, I would have gone over to their table and said 'come on, enough with the phones now' or something.

However, no one 12 year old is going to be the one to lay down his phone and say 'soooo, I'd love to get to know you guys better, what say you we pop our phones off and have a chat?' I don't blame them, especially if they were feeling shy or awkward. I slightly blame their parents, and I I mainly think its sad that this is very much how things are going.

out2lunch Sat 16-Feb-13 21:28:05

Anti social and rude imo
It's only the future if we let it happen


FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:41:55

Thanks. Have just kissed dd (12) goodnight and told her how proud I was of her today and that I appreciated it wasn't a day "all about her" but that her Dad and I had enjoyed it very much. I also warned her in advance that she won't ever be allowed to play on her phone when she is eating with/within sight of me, even when she is 17, so she might as well get used to the idea now smile. She was cool with that.

BIWI Sat 16-Feb-13 21:45:09

Hmm. Good luck with that one, Mintyy.

I admire your resolve/intention. But I don't think you'll find it as simple/straightforward as that once they reach their mid-teens.

<voice of bitter experience>

SamSmalaidh Sat 16-Feb-13 21:48:30

I would never allow my children to be one their phones at a family meal.

However, they were lumped together on a kids' table, and basically you just wanted them not to disturb the adult get-together - which is what they did.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:31

So, not totted it up, but I think most replies lean on the yabu side so therefore iabu to think that a group of children should be able to entertain themselves for 2 hours without spending 100% of their time on their phone? Even though 5 of them did manage that, the other 3 were not being impolite.

Ok, thank you.

IloveJudgeJudy Sat 16-Feb-13 22:03:32

I don't see a problem. It would have been different if you had included the DC on the table with some adults and mixed it up, but you didn't. You then would have had to include them in your conversation, which you, the adults, didn't want to do. You just wanted to talk about the good old days. The DC were stuck at a table with other DC that they didn't know. It's a bit different from having it in someone's house where they could have moved around.

I would have had a problem if they had been on their phones on the table with a mixture of people, but they weren't. They were on the "DC table" (in their minds, anyway). I know about this as it was like this when I was growing up (didn't mind; that was the way that it was at that time) when the whole big family got together. You then were "promoted" to the adult table when you were considered old enough and you had to join in the conversation.


TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Feb-13 22:07:01

Will you reconsider how you organise your next get together, OP?
Were the other children on the table bothered at the time by the three not participating?

KitchenandJumble Sat 16-Feb-13 22:10:15

YANBU. I really can't stand to see anyone (children or adults) playing with their phones when they are out for a meal with family or friends. It is rude behaviour, full stop.

I'm baffled by some of the posts saying they understand why the kids didn't interact with each other. Why on earth couldn't they? Why would it be at all odd for a 14-year-old to talk to an 8-year-old? Presumably not all of their acquaintances are precisely the same age. I suppose they might have younger siblings or cousins or neighbours.

Putting the children at the same table makes perfect sense to me. I would imagine they would find more to talk about together than they would with a group of adults.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 22:13:10

Nebulous - I didn't organise the get together.

mercibucket Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:41

overall probably better to have left the kids at home.

Tryharder Sat 16-Feb-13 22:17:21

YANBU. Cant believe that people are describing it as unfair for children to spend a couple of hours in the company of other children they don't know. It's a good life lesson surely learning how to get along with strangers and make conversation with people other than friends and immediate family.

ravenAK Sat 16-Feb-13 22:18:45

OK, so the adults wanted to spend time together, so the kids were dragged along to an event not of their choosing & then consigned to a kiddy table.

They behaved themselves by not disturbing the grown-ups' meal. Some of them chatted, others played quietly on phones. Seems fair enough to me.

If it's something you'd rather not see happen, then maybe something a tad more generally interactive, like a barbecue in someone's back garden, might be more appropriate next time.

Tbh, if you had had the option of a table for 25, with the dc interspersed, I imagine they'd have found two hours of 40-50 year olds swapping grown up banter over their heads spectacularly dull. Lengthy restaurant meals aren't much fun when you're 12.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 22:20:14

Unfortunately the 8 and 10 years olds are probably too young to be left at home, wouldn't you say?

Smudging Sat 16-Feb-13 22:21:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GazpachoSoup Sat 16-Feb-13 22:22:33

Ah, load of bollocks. YADNBU. You've been out for a meal and they're all texting/gaming/Facebooking blah blah whatever.
I can see it from their point of view, though that they don't actually KNOW anyone at the meal so they're busy phone fiddling instead,
Then, on the other hand, common sense kicks in and I think "wait a chuffin' minute, they're ranging from 8 to 14."
Since when do you need a mobile? Since when do you need to communicate with others when you're out with others who aren't in your party?!
channels old gimmer emoticon but seriously doesn't care grin
They should be encouraged and told to suck it up and enjoy the moment they're in, and speak to the people they're out with. Not randomers nowhere near where they're at at that moment in time.

GazpachoSoup Sat 16-Feb-13 22:25:35

*I am a fucking dinosaur.
DCs not allowed phones or gizmos at the table. Even DS1 aged 19.

They can be bored for a couple of hours. It won't kill them.*
Yeah, only just seen this and have to say - this!! smile It's a couple of hours. It won't kill them to be without their phones for a few hours.

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 22:29:13

God I hate attitudes like this Flouncy -sitting in judgement constantly. We've just been to Bermuda for the week - did masses of improving things (vast amounts of sightseeing etc - history based and also science at the Bermuda Underwater institute), by our evening meal we were done in and I was perfectly content for my children (8 and 10) to borrow our IPhones play games and completely ignore us. Screw other people and their expected standards of behaviour (our waitress lectured us about how her father confiscates her phone and that of her sisters when out to dinner together)

mercibucket Sat 16-Feb-13 22:29:54

well, if it was only the 8 year olds, then they could sit with the adults, or maybe the older ones who were not on their phones would still have said they wanted to go.

mercibucket Sat 16-Feb-13 22:33:13

so i re read and, yes, it was the 12 and 14 year olds on their phones. they could easily stay at home.

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 22:34:58

Add message | Report | Message poster FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:02
"I'm quietly amazed that the two parents concerned didn't tell them to just get off their bloody phones. Parents who are scared of saying no to their kids, or just oblivious to how awful it looks?"

"How awful it looks" - that's painfully superficial of you. It's all about how it looks ?!?

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 22:39:06

Ok hmc, keep your hair on. Not sure what your massively improving holiday in Bermuda has got to do with anything.

And how do you know I sit in judgement constantly? Please tell me.

JenaiMorris Sat 16-Feb-13 22:40:14

That were probably checking each other out on Facebook.

RobotLover68 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:49:07

My dad always used to stick the kids down one end so that the adults can talk - the problem is, he still does it to us now… we're all mothers in our 40s hmm

I'd have tried to have mixed it up too, although I can see why it would be difficult in the circumstances - if you want children to be sociable then sit with them and teach them

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 22:49:45

The point is that you would have doubtless judged me for letting my children play on iPhones during a meal whilst we competely ignored them, they ignored us and they both ignored each other - and yet we had spent the preceding 8 -10 hours fully engaged in Swiss family Robinson bonhomie and worthy activities which you no doubt would have applauded like a seal had you observed them. I realise this is not precisely identical to your scenario but I think it illustrates why you shouldn't judge others - and I find these small minded "I know best on matters of etiquette and decorum" utterly ridiculous

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 22:50:44

If you don't feel a bit stupid by now, you really should

BlatantLies Sat 16-Feb-13 22:52:30

I wouldn't have let my DCs play on their phones although they would not have had to be told this. It is not crime of the century though smile

I would have had the kids sitting mixed with the adults though.

It is not an excuse but the kids playing on their phones may have thought it was ok as they were sitting with other kids and not adults.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 22:55:01

Really hmc? I actually don't feel in the least bit stupid and I very much doubt anything you could say would make me feel so.

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 22:57:01

Yes well that fits (closed minded, incapable of reasoned debate)

Flatbread Sat 16-Feb-13 22:57:39

Why should the children be mixed with adults in this situation?

If I was 14, I would rather talk to a 12 and 8 year old, than a 40 year old I don't know.

When we were young, all the children ate together on one table and adults on another. I remember chatting with other children and making friends and it was fun!

bumperella Sat 16-Feb-13 23:02:29

I'm mixed about this.
Is rude to sit at a table with others and make an effort to exclude yourself rather than engaging. I'd not have been allowed to (eg) read at the table as a child, which is the same thing really, even if the conversation or company is boring /a bit of a chore.
BUT.... they were in a restaurant, you were able to have a good catch up with your friends, which was the point of the day, and they didn't cause any problems. I can see why having a "younger" table was a good plan in the circumstances: you wanted to catch up with old friends, the event was about the adults, for once, and it's perfectly OK for kids to come second and be a bit bored sometimes. if it was something you did every week then it'd be different.

If they were chatting over the meal but using the phones later on, or at first when they felt shy initially, then then IMO that's fair enough. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn't literally the entire time.

Narked Sat 16-Feb-13 23:02:39

I'd be with you on the surely they could make an effort to be civil for two hours thing, in spite of the fact that the whole thing was always going to be dull for them and it was all for the adults benefit, if you hadn't shoved them onto a children's table.

ravenAK Sat 16-Feb-13 23:02:54

Given that your own dc behaved as you wished, I don't think there is much point losing sleep over the fact that some of your friends' dc behaved in a manner which their parents, who were present, presumably found acceptable, & which did not endanger or inconvenience anyone else.

Running around shrieking under the feet of waiting staff = not on. Quietly playing on phones = slightly gauche but essentially harmless. Suggests that they were having a mildly crap time, & everyone's afternoon will be more fun when the youngest ones are old enough for the adults to go out for lunch leaving them at home.

KitchenandJumble Sat 16-Feb-13 23:03:32

Flatbread, I'm with you. I have fond memories of meeting other children in similar circumstances to the OP. Learning how to interact with new people is surely a life skill that will stand anyone in good stead.

out2lunch Sat 16-Feb-13 23:04:14

Oooo touchy hmc

deleted203 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:08:13

YANBU. Phones are entirely banned for my DCs in any situation such as this. It's bloody rude, for a start. We managed to go out for meals, sit yawning in boredom when ancient aunties came to tea, visit other people's houses, etc without needing to be entertained the entire time!

I loathe seeing phones in public with people playing on them anyway. Have a fucking conversation, why don't you? You only need a phone if you are making a call, IMO. You don't need to be playing games/on Internet the entire time.

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 23:09:19

Not in the least bit touchy actually - just posting my opinions in a direct and forthright manner .... Maybe you should try it rather than fatuous remarks?

out2lunch Sat 16-Feb-13 23:12:06

We are all just posting our opinions

hmc Sat 16-Feb-13 23:16:07

Yes, well you could work on how you express yours to, you know, actually contribute to the discussion?

aldiwhore Sat 16-Feb-13 23:24:08

Maybe if adults actively included the children more rather than expecting them to entertain each other whilst the olds have a good old laugh, then phones wouldn't even come into it?

WHY have a kids table if kids are invited why not just all communicate and eat together????

No need for distractions or judgements then huh?

But if adults are going to expect children to entertain each other purely on account of them being smaller, then let them choose how to spend that time... colouring in, playing games on the iphone. WHY do you care, when obviously those who are saying it's anti-social couldn't actually give a flying shit about actually communicating and including those children anyway, they just want them to keep up appearances. Double standards.

MidniteScribbler Sat 16-Feb-13 23:41:03

Oh FFS what's wrong with having a kids table? Must we all be teaching our children to be so bloody precious that they expect to be constantly entertained by adults and treated like mini grown ups? There's absolutely nothing wrong with expecting a bunch of 8-14 years olds to sit around a table together and chat among themselves for a couple of adults while the adults catch up. Children don't need to be the bloody centre of attention 24/7. No wonder kids are sitting for two hours on a phone because no one has taught them how to actually cope with not being included in everything and how to initiate a conversation. It's all about having their darlings centre of attention and amused at all times. I fear for the future of the world, I really do.

ravenAK Sat 16-Feb-13 23:47:43

But they obviously didn't expect to be entertained, or to be centre of attention.

Hence amusing themselves unobtrusively & harmlessly whilst the adults had their catch up.

aldiwhore Sat 16-Feb-13 23:55:08

Haha... it's not about entertaining, it's about including. If you don't want them to be involved whilst you talk 'grown up' don't dictate how they spend their segragation smile

At 14 I had more in common with my 87 year old granny than I did an 8 year old... if you expect a 14 year old to entertain an younger child whilst you have fun, at least pay them.

There's nothing 'wrong' with having a kids table if they're all of similar age. 8 and 14 are not similar ages.

I fear for the future of the world where anyone who's yet to reach puberty has to sit on a separate table.

In many cultures, everyone eats together, old and young, it's INCLUSIVE. Not at all 'entertaining the young ones' or having them 'the centre of attention'...

I have exiled my children to a children's table, in the knowledge and understanding that as I don't want them at mine, they can do what the fuck they want. I prefer to have them with us, as part of the group, joining in... it's healthier all round, unless I'm getting pissed or talking about things that are age inappropriate, in which case, maybe a babysitter is the better option???

It's not precious to be inclusive. I would argue it's adults who are being precious. smile Shall we agree to differ?

MidniteScribbler Sun 17-Feb-13 00:00:46

And what about when they grow up and get a job? They go to a work event and are sat on a table with people they don't know, or may not even particularly like. Is it still acceptable to sit and play with your phone for the whole meal? Or should they suck it up and be prepared to act like a human being and socialise for the meal? If a 14 year old can't keep themselves amused for a couple of hours and actually TALK to another person, then you've done a pretty crap job as a parent.

ravenAK Sun 17-Feb-13 00:23:31

To be honest, if mine had been the fourteen year old, I wouldn't have obliged him/her to attend, on the grounds of understanding that it would obviously be a ghastly bore.

Younger dc would be more amenable to performing appropriately & to the OP's specifications without the teenager there, I imagine. It does begin to sound a bit like a chimps' tea party, though, if the point of them conversing nicely is for the approval of watching adults.

As for them eventually needing to make chitchat at work events -that's a reason to include them in conversation with adults.

MidniteScribbler Sun 17-Feb-13 00:38:23

I agree with you that I wouldn't have forced a 14 year old to attend. I would however hope that my child was interested in going out to lunch and meeting some new people. If he were going to come along and sit on a phone, well he can stay home and do that.

I don't agree with you about always including them in the "adult" table. I just don't think that occasionally sitting on a table with people of their own generation and ask them to socialise is a bad thing. It can even be a good learning experience to allow them to sit on their own away from their parents at times. I used to love it as a kid, made me feel all grown up to on my own table and not sitting next to my parents.

If you go out dinner as a family and mum and dad are on one table and kids on another, then I'll absolutely be in your camp. But this was a big group dinner and not everyone can sit next to everyone else, unless you play musical chairs all night. There were two tables needed, so putting the adults together and the kids together in this situation absolutely made sense.

BlatantLies Sun 17-Feb-13 00:46:15

I have never given in much thought but we always have the kids mixed in with adults when we go out in big groups. We all chat together. It's fun.
Our DC's and our extended families DC's are used to eating out and enjoy it along with the rest of us. I can't think of a single time when we have had a kids table.
Obviously we go out without the kids sometimes and we enjoy that as well.

KitchenandJumble Sun 17-Feb-13 00:51:46

According to the OP, there was one 14-year-old, four 12-year-olds, two 10-year-olds, and an 8-year-old. Even if you buy the premise that the 14-year-old could not possibly interact with the 8-year-old (which, BTW, I do not), then surely the four children who were within two years of the 14-year-old could not be deemed too young for him/her. Especially as so many people are simultaneously arguing that the children should have been interacting with the adults, 30+ years older than them.

That paragraph includes far too many numbers. grin

To me it is perfectly reasonable to expect that everyone who attends a meal should make conversation with the people at the table, whoever they happen to be, no matter what age they are.

ravenAK Sun 17-Feb-13 01:04:55

It wasn't about meeting new people, though - OP said the families have met before, so the older children obviously felt they had little in common.

& yes, I'd also be a bit disappointed if one of my dc was one of the unsociable phone-fiddlers. I would probably have nipped over & removed the phone if I knew it was down to rudeness rather than, say, paralysing shyness.

What I wouldn't do, though, is worry or bosom-hoick that someone else's kids spent the meal buried in their phone. They aren't bothering anyone else, they're obviously bored rigid, & their future ability to scintillate at work socials isn't my problem.

It's one of these things that resolves itself - another three or four years & NONE of the kids will want to hang out with their parents & their mates, so the OP & friends will be able to enjoy a long, convivial lunch without having to fret about a table of mardy kids. smile.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 01:44:48

Oh FFs.... I was THE most unsociable teen, despite best efforts, and actually, despite the fact I liked a lot of the other people I had to sit with on various meals out...

I am a sociable adult. Stop being such bloody drama llamas.

Being sat with people you don't choose to sit with for hours whilst your parents have a jolly old time and ignore you completely is a bore.

Yes. We should all be sociable. Sometimes it's okay to sit a fiddle with a phone/colouring book/stare at your navel.

But from a pre-adult's perspective. The adults are fiddling with each other and being selectively sociable to their peers, whilst shoving the younglings on a table together purely because they haven't reached puberty yet.

What is SO wrong with sitting a one big table and allowing everyone to talk to who they want to?

I would object to being sat with someone I wasn't interested with. As an adult I'd make an effort in a WORK situation, because I'd be at least getting a wage. I can't say I would in my freetime!

Bogeyface Sun 17-Feb-13 01:50:19

Yep ^^^^

MidniteScribbler Sun 17-Feb-13 02:12:07

What is SO wrong with sitting a one big table and allowing everyone to talk to who they want to?

Doesn't anyone actually read the OP?

Because there wasn't one big table available! There were more than 25 people at the lunch, and not all places are set up for one big massive table of 25 people. It's pretty impractical as well, you generally end up with a big long table with people yelling at each other down it to try and talk.

I would object to being sat with someone I wasn't interested with. As an adult I'd make an effort in a WORK situation, because I'd be at least getting a wage. I can't say I would in my freetime!

Never gone to a wedding and been seated next to someone you don't know? If I went to a wedding, was put on a table with people I didn't particularly know, and the adult sitting next to me spent the whole night on their phone to avoid making conversation, then I'd think they were a right prat as well.

CuriousMama Sun 17-Feb-13 02:21:43

YANBU am so thankful that my dss who are 12 and 15 have no interest in phones. They don't need to FB when out of the house. Or play games. We talk. Old fashioned perhaps but that's how it is. Plus they socialise with people they don't know as it's good manners. In the house they do play on PC, laptop, xbox etc.. but in restaurants it's not too much to ask for them to talk is it?

Zavi Sun 17-Feb-13 02:23:24

Dining together is a social occasion - no matter what age you are!

I always thinks it looks so anti-social if anyone is on their phone or iPad at a dining table.

My DC is never allowed to play with a phone/iPad at a dining table. I invariably get complaints of "but so-and-so is going to be using theirs at the table!", to which I invariably reply "I don't care, they are not my child. You are. It's rude and you're not doing it". Admittedly DC then spends the meal looking over so-and-so's shoulder whilst they play on their device!

It's common courtesy I think to interact with the people you're eating with. If other people allow their kids to be rude, I'm ok about that, but I'm going to set a good example for my child to follow. Just because other people do things doesn't automatically lend that respectability in my eyes.

I think it's a huge shame that the kids who were on their devices at the OP's kiddie table didn't take that opportunity to find out more about the other children they were eating with.

As for the "Bermuda" poster - whose family all sat at the dining table ignoring each other whilst playing on their own devices - I would feel absolutely mortified doing something like that!

CuriousMama Sun 17-Feb-13 02:25:52

Just saw the dcs had to sit separately. No that changes things imo. The dcs would sit amongst the adults in my family outings.

ravenAK Sun 17-Feb-13 02:27:25

No, aldiwhore's right.

You can't equate 'being parked on a table with other kids I know vaguely but don't have anything in common with, because my parents want to have a long lunch with their mates' with 'being on a table with people I haven't met at a wedding I have chosen to attend'.

I do think the lesson to be learned is for this particular gang to do something other than lengthy convivial lunches, until the youngest dc are old enough not to be dragged along. They'd all enjoy it far more.

Zavi Sun 17-Feb-13 02:42:47

I think it's perfectly OK for the kids to be "dragged along" to these social occasions and, even if they only unplug their ear-phones for a little bit its a great opportunity for them to brush up on some social skills, finding out things they have in common with people they hadn't met before.

This was a great "life-skills" learning opportunity for all of those kids!

So what if it was, strictly speaking, an "adults" occasion. So what if the kids weren't able to entertain themselves for an hour or two. Character building I say!

Kids who can only interact with others on their own terms, within a narrow social circle are going to grow up into whinge-bats who will whinge and whine every time they don't get their own way and make their parents' lives a misery every time they are taken out socially outside of their limited, insular, comfort zone.

MidniteScribbler Sun 17-Feb-13 02:51:33

How do they know they have nothing in common Raven if they won't fucking talk to each other????

And to not go out until all the children are older? Do you seriously think that parents should put their lives on hold for at least 18 years, longer if you have multiple children, and only do things that revolve around the children? Do you really think any of them will be emotionally scarred for life because they had to sit in a restaurant and eat food for a couple of hours? No wonder kids are turning in to pathetic, whining, ME ME ME morons who can't do anything without an electronic device clamped in their hands.

ravenAK Sun 17-Feb-13 03:21:27

Because the OP has already explained that they already know each other, Midnite. Which suggests that they aren't that enraptured at the prospect of hanging out over a restaurant table.

& I'm not suggesting at all that the parents shouldn't go out! Strewth. Far from it. Mine are pre-teen & I go out loads. I also teach teenagers.

If I were doing a big gathering, which I do fairly regularly, of old friends & their dc, I would tend to have a house party/sleepover. Or go to somewhere like our local Sculpture Park where you can have a nice lunch & then dc can go off & wander. Or a barbecue in the back garden.

Or, if you've already booked a restaurant & the tabling isn't ideal, at the very least - accept that it's going to be a bit dull for some of the older ones. & as such, by all means set 'no phone' rules for your own - but don't necessarily expect other parents to feel the same.

As I said before, it will resolve itself. In five years' time, OP & her mates will be able to go out entirely child free. In the meantime, there isn't actually any disruption to her social life occurring. Someone else's children played on their phones, which caused her, in fact, no inconvenience whatsoever.

cory Sun 17-Feb-13 10:12:16

I totally agree and won't let mine do it. But cannot get my mother to see that if her grown son reads a book during a party, this is equally bad behaviour; apparently books are different. Particularly if they are very learned and in obscure languages. hmm

Having said that, if I organised a party as an adult, I would make sure we talked to those teenagers and didn't just leave them as some kind of unasked babysitters.

Campari Sun 17-Feb-13 10:38:14

My sister lets her 13 year old do this. I think it is blatantly rude and bad mannered at any age. He should learn to be more sociable!

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 10:40:06

Morning! Just to say my children (who were 5 of the 8 who did not spend the entire time on their phones) enjoyed themselves very much.

It was not possible to leave the two eldest at home as they were the dc of the organiser, who was staying overnight in our town, although I agree that as they didn't utter a word to any of the others on the table she might as well have given them some money to go to the cinema or something. But it was her occasion (a celebration) and I guess she wanted them to be there.

Just checking that your definition of a successful "reasoned debate" would be to make me feel stupid? and offend anyone else who makes a comment on your strangely aggressive stance on this?

JenaiMorris Sun 17-Feb-13 10:54:57

I don't see a problem with all the youngsters being on a different table; if they're all mixed in with the adults it has an impact on the kind of conversation the adults can have.

I can imagine with my group of friends that the phones would be out for a while - it's a bit of a bonding ritual between them to show each other whatever You Tube video or game is flavour of the month. Here and there one of us would tell them to get of the ruddy phones and be civilised but I don't think we'd be obsessive and it's not that far away from the crayons and colouring that people seem to think younger children need when eating out.

Spending all the time staring only at one's own phone would be a no-no.

snowtimelikethepresent Sun 17-Feb-13 10:56:13

So, not totted it up, but I think most replies lean on the yabu side so therefore iabu to think that a group of children should be able to entertain themselves for 2 hours without spending 100% of their time on their phone? Even though 5 of them did manage that, the other 3 were not being impolite.

As it happens OP I am totally on your side, but if your comment above doesn't win the prize for 'I am not unreasonable and I don't care what anybody else says I am not unreasonable but I will ask anyway for the pleasure of ignoring everybody else and thereby proving how superior I and my children are' bingo, then I am a banana (op cit Ian Hislop c 1990 ish)

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 11:00:10

I was ready to jump in and agree, but my 3 went to a wedding reception with us last year and were put on a table away from us with 6 teenagers (mine are 12 and younger)....I would have happily given them 3 phones as they looked flipping miserable! Some kids are great in social situations like this, others not so much.

binger Sun 17-Feb-13 11:15:05

Don't think it's a big deal really. All parents presumably got to eat and drink without having to deal with their kids, whether they were playing on their phones or not.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 11:27:52


Never gone to a wedding and been seated next to someone you don't know?

No, my friends have always put more effort into seating plans. wink

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 11:37:47

I think having quiet distractions are fine up to a certain age (maybe 4-5yo depending on the child and how long the meal is), but beyond that it is just bad manners.

With that said, unless my dc knew at least some of the others well I would have preferred to have them seated with me.

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:41:50

Actually, I often throw dinner parties and invite guests who don't know each other. And usually make the seating arrangements so that new people are seated next to each other and it doesn't get 'cliquey'

I would expect them to be able to chat and hold a conversation. That is often how new friendships are formed. And even if not, it is still interesting to talk with different people. It is part of being civilized, and not a close-minded boor.

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:46:52

With that said, unless my dc knew at least some of the others well I would have preferred to have them seated with me

Why? Will a 14 year old self-combust if they have to converse with unfamiliar people over a two hour lunch?

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 11:55:19

Flatbread - my dc are younger (9 and 5) and one of them is under the care of a psychologist, so the situation is a little different.

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:59:08

Ah, yes, sorry. That is different to the OP's situation.

I don't get the poster's who think it is a major hardship for a normal 14 year old to chat with unfamiliar children.

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 12:02:40

I don't get the poster's who think it is a major hardship for a normal 14 year old to chat with unfamiliar children.

It's only a hardship is they haven't been taught basic social skills - or have a condition that make these skills extremely difficult to learn.

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 17-Feb-13 12:22:21

Those of you who say that the 14 yos should have talked to the other DC. Have you never been in a position (when you were about that age) where you've been taken to your parents' friends' house or met up with them where the parents say that you'll all get along and you have nothing in common with those other DC? I have. That's why I have some sympathy with the 14 yos on their phones.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 17-Feb-13 12:22:43


This constant need to have a phone in your face is one of my bugbears. I went out for a meal with friends the other night and two or three people had their phone out the whole time. It is just so incredibly rude.

I'm currently doing teacher training and I'd say 50% of the lecture hall have their phones out and are texting throughout any class we have. Even tutorials, people text under the tables. We are talking about people who are in their 20s and training to be teachers FGS. It's pathetic.

LaQueen Sun 17-Feb-13 16:52:49

Since being little our DDs have been perfectly resigned aware to the fact that sometimes they will be bored for a stretch of time.

Whether that's if we're trailing around a department store buying furniture, or sitting in church at a christening, or sitting in a restaurant...whatever.

I have absolutely zero problem with them having to be bored from time to time. And, even more, I expect them to make every effort to hide their boredom...whenever possible [hard as nails, Mummy]

lljkk Sun 17-Feb-13 17:00:57


Cherriesarelovely Sun 17-Feb-13 17:35:40

If they literally sat staring at their phones and not speaking for the entire meal I think that is ridiculous. I hate phones at the table for any age group.

However, if they sat without their phones for the meal and then got them out I don't think it is too bad. 2 of my nephews are so glued to their phones they don't even look up to say hi when you greet them. My Db and sil have never corrected them. I have had some nice talks with the older one when I have asked him to show me funny stuff on youtube though so I do think phones can also be quite fun and sociable.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 17:42:10

Cherries, as I said in my thread title, it was for the entire time we were there. Dd said one boy didn't actually speak a word. I can't really understand why his Mum brought him - he is one who could have stayed at home.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 17-Feb-13 20:57:00

I agree with you then. Sorry to all who think this is ok. Agree with you that if he was that uncomfortable he ought to have been allowed to stay at home.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 21:06:39

I do think choice comes into it, and for all my 'inclusive' arguments, IF it has to be that there is a kids' table, the older or less sociable children should have a choice as to whether to attend or not.

At 14 I had more in common with adults than I did 8 year olds.

QuickLookBusy Sun 17-Feb-13 21:23:10

My dc wouldn't behave like this as we dont have phones during a meal and they are pretty confident.

However, I know some teenagers who are painfully, shy including one of my nieces. She's very chatty with people she knows but put her on a table with strangers she would completely clam up and would spend the entire meal using her phone. It would be the only way she could cope with this situation.

I therefore wouldn't judge a child I had no knowledge of.

GoldenGreen Sun 17-Feb-13 21:35:38

ooh we went out for lunch today and the waiter mentioned it was great to see our kids drawing whilst waiting for meals instead of being glued to an electronic device - naturally I smiled sweetly and didn't mention that my iPhone is always ready to come out if needed to keep someone quiet!

but - YANBU - rude to do this for the whole meal. I was a very shy child and would have not really enjoyed this. I would have been longing for a book to read while the others chatted but quite rightly wouldn't have been allowed. I would never have gained any social skills if I'd been able to hide away.

GoldenGreen Sun 17-Feb-13 21:37:38

<mine are only 6 and 2 btw so I think it's ok to use my phone as a distraction now and then - am sure getting them off their phones will cause a lot of conflict when they are moody teenagers!>

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