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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).

TyrannosaurusBex Thu 27-Mar-14 20:04:17

I'd have done what you did. I dress in a slightly unusual way and have been known to stop and (pleasantly) explain my feelings on individuality to people who make audible comments.

luabay Thu 27-Mar-14 20:05:00

Don't know about the art of conversation but there is an art in not constantly worrying about what others think about you. You've first got worked up about some irrelevant comment by some bloke in a restaurant and now are chasing views about yourself from anonymous internet folk.

ThatOtherTime Thu 27-Mar-14 20:05:48

You did the right thing. I hope they felt embarrassed.

BadgersRetreat Thu 27-Mar-14 20:05:50

Yes they were judgy, but you going over there to tell them off makes you sound a teeny weeny bit loopy, sorry.

LineRunner Thu 27-Mar-14 20:07:01

I wonder which of the couple said what?

I think it's also rude to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations in a restaurant and then go up and challenge them on it. So, both as bad as each other.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 27-Mar-14 20:07:48

OP it is a good job that they really were talking about your DC!

Once in a restaurant I made a comment about having met an Australian lady earlier that day - this was because she had randomly turned out to be the mum of an Aussie friend of mine so it was the start of a story.

Next thing I know, some twat at the next table jumped up and started on about how he was from NZ and I was being ignorant. He would not believe I wasn't talking about him....

Joules68 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:09:26


No excuse for these at a table, bad manners, despite the circs

DrCoconut Thu 27-Mar-14 20:10:24

My DS1 often has earphones in places like restaurants. People can judge all they like but his autism is tougher for him than them, and if blocking out large amounts of background noise with something he controls helps then so be it.

Caitlin17 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:11:12

Agree with Badger it does make you sound a bit loopy. It's a terribly small thing to get worked up about.

firesidechat Thu 27-Mar-14 20:11:22

They were having a private conversation, all be it a slightly judgey one, and you should have just left them to it.

People watching and commenting on your fellow diners is sometimes the most fun you can have in a restaurant. grin

Aventurine Thu 27-Mar-14 20:11:51

No, I think you did well, especially as you ended it cordially. If someone judges a person loudly enough for the person to hear, then they can expect that person to challenge them on their incorrect assumptions.

NearTheWindymill Thu 27-Mar-14 20:11:58

I'd have left it and had it been me and DH we probably would dine out on the lady who eavesdropped and then had to come and speak to us about it. Having said that, DH and I would probably have waited until later to say it. Think on though - had you been interacting with your children you wouldn't have been able to eavesdrop and imagine what you might miss over the years. grin

Buckteethjeff Thu 27-Mar-14 20:12:10

Over reaction to go over to their table!

They are allowed their opinion in a private conversation just like your entitled to let your dc do as you wish.

Some times people get too involved with MN and create situations where they can run back and brag about it on here!

I would have told you to fuck off and get back to your kids and go and put that on MN

Mintyy Thu 27-Mar-14 20:12:27

I think your behaviour was more questionable than theirs, actually. Older people (and I include myself in that category) are going to be a bit hmm about children using electronics when out for a meal, tbh, so you just need to get used to it. They were speaking to each other, as is their right. You were intrusive.

80sMum Thu 27-Mar-14 20:13:33

I think you should not have spoken to them. They didn't approach you and directly criticise you or your children, they were having a private conversation that you happened to overhear.

You were very unreasonable to have approached them and embarrassed them by confronting them.

Aventurine Thu 27-Mar-14 20:13:37

by incorrect assumption, I mean their assumption that you let your kids spend so long looking at screens that they risk losing the art of conversation.

Salmotrutta Thu 27-Mar-14 20:13:46

Maybe the light from the Kindle screen was impinging on their enjoyment of the Penne Picante?

blanchedeveraux Thu 27-Mar-14 20:13:58

Interrupting their meal to ensure they knew your DCs were tutored/tired was completely U. I couldn't have cared less what they said/thought, God knows why you did.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 27-Mar-14 20:14:06

Yabvu and very rude.

It's not your place to interupt their meal or a private conversation. They're welcome to think it's wrong to have tablets/ipads/mobiles I'd theycwish. I bet they've gone home talking about the mad defensive woman who was rude at the restaurant.

TotesAmazebelle Thu 27-Mar-14 20:14:07

Yeah, I probably wouldn't do it again. It felt like the right thing to do at the time and I was getting worked up about it. I agree that I shouldn't have let them bother me - I know what great conversationalists my kids are and I know we are happy with the balance in their lives. It shouldn't matter what total strangers think (easier said than done sometimes).

Thetallesttower Thu 27-Mar-14 20:14:58

I would have said nothing, perhaps seeing your children led them onto general musings about the prevalence of these devices and it wasn't specifically a comment about your children but a general trend. I think it's extremely rude to approach their table and comment on their comment, given that they didn't say anything directly to your children or even about your children.

It went fine this time, they were nice, probably did talk about you though when you were gone.

I would not in general seek to comment on people's minorly judgy behaviour when out in public, you will pick the wrong person one time and it won't end well- in fact, if you picked me I'd have been very cross indeed.

MorrisZapp Thu 27-Mar-14 20:15:01

Yabu, and a bit rude. What Mintyy said, really.

chattychattyboomba Thu 27-Mar-14 20:15:24

Exactly aventurine.
And I'm loving how sanctimonious everyone is about the use of technology. What are you all doing right now? Sitting on your phone/tablet/computer having some down time? They were waiting for a meal after a very busy day. She made a decision for her own children that doesn't impact anyone else. They were wrong to judge and she was right to tell them so.

Nohootingchickenssleeping Thu 27-Mar-14 20:15:40

Better than them running around screaming like some kids in the pub on my birthday. It was a nice place too, unacceptable behaviour outside of McDonalds IMHO. I was very English and just tutted at them.

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