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To challenge couple in restaurant who judged my DCs?

(337 Posts)
TotesAmazebelle Thu 27-Mar-14 19:38:06

Had dinner out earlier in an Italian restaurant. I agreed that the DCs (11 and 9) could play their Kindle Fires for 10-15 minutes when we got there. This is not sth they do often - they never usually play them in a restaurant or even around the dinner table at home.

Two tables away a couple (mid 60s) were tutting head shaking and he said "the trouble is they lose the art of conversation". I don't think they intended me to hear it, but it came over loud and clear.

I waited until they had finished their starter then approached them. I said in a quiet voice that I was sorry for interrupting them and that I heard what they had said. I said I wanted to let them know that my children had had a busy day at school and the eldest one had just had a one hour language tuition session after school. That I said that they can play for 15 minutes and that it's not sth we would normally do blah blah. They apologised for the comment and said they just think it's a shame when kids have their faces in devices all the time (they said they didn't have children of their own but have noticed it with nephews and neices etc.). I actually agree with this whey is why I don't let mine play at the table etc. and I told them this. We actually had a pleasant conversation about it.

I clearly felt the need to challenge their judgemental view. I was sat there for some time trying to decide whether to say something or not and the saying something clearly got the better of me. I just felt that they know nothing about us and what we would normally do. I didn't want them to go away with an assumption about me/my kids/other kids (am a bit sick of hearing about the downfall of the youth of today from older generations).

But was I being unreasonable? Should I have just ignored them (after 15 minutes kids had put Kindles away and we were chatting amongst ourselves and maybe they'd have seen this).

Roshbegosh Thu 27-Mar-14 19:40:34

At least you were civil about it but I would have let it go.

scurryfunge Thu 27-Mar-14 19:41:07

I don't think you need to worry too much about the opinion of one couple. They have clearly lost the art of conversation if that is what they were talking about.

GertTheFlirt Thu 27-Mar-14 19:42:50

Yes you should have ignored them.

Merrylegs Thu 27-Mar-14 19:42:53

Oh god, I think you were v restrained.

I would have said something like 'if the art of conversation is passing judgement on other people then I am happy for my kids not to have it'

And then pushed their smug faces into their pasta. And added 'judge that'.

NewtRipley Thu 27-Mar-14 19:43:00

I don't think you were unreasonable. Whilst I don't think you should have to justify yourself, they said it audibly. Sounds like they will think again before rushing to judgment.

GertTheFlirt Thu 27-Mar-14 19:44:37

I would have complained about YOU interrupting my meal, with attitude and asked for you to be removed from the restaurant.

SigningGirl Thu 27-Mar-14 19:44:56

What you did was what I would have wanted to do... and you managed it in a nice way too.

I think people judge too readily - they don't know your family/children, so might make them think twice before judging others... or at the very least means you won't be simmering about it for ages!

IDugUpADiamond Thu 27-Mar-14 19:45:20

I honestly wouldn't have cared what some strangers thought and would never feel inclined to explain myself to people who don't matter to me. A few years ago I was feeding my then 18 months old DS the foam from my cappuccino at an airport's coffee. The people on the next table had a great old judgey conversation about how wrong it was to give babies coffee. I was laughing inside.

hoppinghare Thu 27-Mar-14 19:45:46

I would definitely have left it. You say they didn't even mean for you to hear the conversation. You could have and maybe did create an uncomfortable atmosphere. If they had said it to you then you could have told them it was none of their business.

I would not explain myself to strangers. Your children sound very well behaved. I see no harm in what they were doing.

TotesAmazebelle Thu 27-Mar-14 19:45:59

Hehe Merry. That's partly why I did it Newt. Obviously partly cos I didn't want to feel unfairly judged, and partly cos I thought it might make them stop and think in future. I'm not above judging ppl but I really do try to remember that we never know the circumstances etc.

hangingaround Thu 27-Mar-14 19:45:59

Well this is really just a post about how people shouldn't judge. However, I think it's quite reasonable to have an opinion about how long children spend on devices - we went out recently and all the children in the restaurant were plugged in including ours and they are right in saying that in their day the children would have been obliged to join in the conversation. Really I don't see why you had to go over and justify yourself - people judge, I would have just ignored them.

NewtRipley Thu 27-Mar-14 19:47:12

People should really just judge in their heads, at home with hubby, or on here. Not so the judgee can hear.

BethGoLightly Thu 27-Mar-14 19:47:30

I think you just should have risen above their comment and ignored them but they should have kept their opinionated voices down so you didn't hear them in the first place.

chattychattyboomba Thu 27-Mar-14 19:48:05

I think you handled it perfectly. People will always judge- often about things they know nothing about! (It's very easy to have 100's of ideals when you have no children of your own!) I agree that challenging their opinions is the best way to dispel narrow minded beliefs of the downfall of our youth, but equally it could have been seen that you really care what other people think.

Salmotrutta Thu 27-Mar-14 19:49:54

I like to judge sotto voce.

BettyBotter Thu 27-Mar-14 19:53:34

Losing the art of conversation hmm

I'd have thought that making snide and judgemental comments about other diners, who are disturbing nobody, in their hearing is not the zenith of conversational arts either.

Glad you said something, Totes. I wouldn't have dared.

usualsuspectt Thu 27-Mar-14 19:54:46

I think you should have left it.

I couldn't care less what strangers think of me or mine. I certainly wouldn't waste my time explaining myself to them.

Caitlin17 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:56:39

YABU. You should just have ignored them. It blows it out of proportion.

MeepMeepVroooom Thu 27-Mar-14 19:58:45

I wouldn't have bothered my arse personally but you were polite and they apologised.

Don't think there is an issue.

kennyp Thu 27-Mar-14 20:00:36

good for you for saying something. i would've done too. perhaps it was international judge strangers in restaurant day, but only that other beaky couple had heard about it.

i beaked in the other day in mc donalds when some boys were taking the piss out of a very large woman - they were saying "what's she having? salad?!" and "bet she's got 5000 easter eggs at home".

i channelled my inner sharon osborne (who has unfeasibly large balls, imo) and let it all out. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr (me being a tiger).

PoemGirl Thu 27-Mar-14 20:01:08

I wouldn't have bothered, personally, but you handled it well and opened up a conversation with them which might make them think twice in future.
But it could have gone much worse and you could've got in a big argument with them! I wouldn't have cared enough to risk that, but then I am a huge confrontation avoider...

Southeastdweller Thu 27-Mar-14 20:02:23

I agree with others that you should have left it. Seems like such a trivial thing in the grand scheme. Maybe you thought there was some truth in what they said and it rattled you.

crochetedblanket Thu 27-Mar-14 20:02:44

You should have left it.
If your kids need a break, take them home, not to a restaurant. There is no excuse for tablets/devices in a restaurant. If my 3 year old can sit through dinner, so can anyone!

mercibucket Thu 27-Mar-14 20:03:20

you totally should have minded your own business.
if they said it to you, or even maybe deliberately so you would hear it, but as it is, no, you absolutely should not have said anything.

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