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How should children behave in public?

318 replies

GrannyBags · 28/12/2019 15:28

Just been out for a meal with DH, DS and MIL. Pub restaurant, nothing posh. Fairly busy. A family came in and straight away the two children started running round, shouting and generally being disruptive. We ignored them, even when the smaller one bumped into our table. Middle aged couple sat next to us, noisy family on their other side. Woman obviously said something to her husband about the children. I didn’t hear what was said but the mother obviously did as she loudly announced ‘ Well at least my children are expressing themselves and not just glued to a screen’. Clearly this was aimed at DS who was watching videos on his phone. I know that he was being a bit anti social but at least he was quiet, he put it down when the food came and to be fair he doesn’t want to sit and listen to MIL describe her various ailments!
Have we now got to the point where disturbing other diners is seen as acceptable behaviour?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

567 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Fishcakey · 28/12/2019 15:31

I'd much prefer to sit near to your quiet DS. I cannot bear children running about in pubs and restaurants.

Daffodil101 · 28/12/2019 15:31

Because people are selfish and entitled and children are brought up in a child-led manner when in fact they need discipline.

44PumpLane · 28/12/2019 15:33

It was very very rude of her to disparage your parenting when you had not mentioned hers at all!!

It's not acceptable to let your children "express themselves" in a pub/restaurant especially when it impacts other diners.

We don't often take our toddlers out to restaurants as its boring for them, and on the rare occasions we do go out I will give them a kindle to watch Hey Duggee or something similar (with sound off or headphones in) ..... People have absolutely no idea how I parent 99.9% of the time so they can wind their neck in!!

GreenTulips · 28/12/2019 15:33

Funny enough those parents will be moaning the kids won’t listen when they’re teens.

Not sure why parents make life hard for themselves. I think the parents are just selfish.

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 15:34

I take an ipad to occupy my kids when eating out. Much rather that than kids running around and causing disruption to other people.

WorraLiberty · 28/12/2019 15:34

I'd much prefer people chatted to their kids and everyone else at their table and put their screens away but that's none of my business.

However, I do feel it's my business if kids are running around and spoiling enjoyment for others, so I probably would've had a quiet word with staff.

As much as kids are their parent's responsibility, I do expect staff to deal with kids running around rather than expecting diners to risk getting in a row, or having to sit there quietly annoyed.

Rainallnight · 28/12/2019 15:35

No, I don’t think that kind of behaviour is acceptable. DD is only 3, but I’m always completely clear about what is and isn’t allowed in cafes and restaurants - no shouting, no running, etc - and to be fair to her, she’s really good. And we always bring enough books and puzzles to entertain her.

Then again, having written that, it strikes me you’re not going to get anyone coming on here and saying, ‘yeah, I think it’s fine, I always let mine run amok down the gastropub’.

Getitwright · 28/12/2019 15:35

Afraid I get very irritated about poorly supervised and badly behaved children in certain public places. Fine with children letting off steam, running around, using up energy in appropriate places such as parks, beaches, playgrounds, play spaces etc...

But it’s not acceptable in places like shops, restaurants, cinemas, on trains, on buses etc.... It’s a social skill that children need to learn, sadly some parents don’t possess it, so it can be a lottery as to how nice a visit you might have to some places.

Seeline · 28/12/2019 15:36

How old were the children?
How old is your DS?

Personally I don't think any children should be running around in a restaurant of any type - it is very dangerous with hot food and drinks being carried around. Children shouldn't be disturbing other diners.

I personally don't like kids glued to screens either. They should be able to join in with conversation around the table. Adults should be having conversations that are suitable for children & not discussing their ailments!

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 28/12/2019 15:36

Disturbing other diners is not acceptable no, but im not a fan of children sitting watching screens during a meal either.

I'm a bit British tho in the sense that I think until they are old enough to enjoy chatting etc and don't need to have a screen to occupy them, children probably aren't old enough to be taken out and expected to sit through a meal lasting more than about 30 mins.

GrannyBags · 28/12/2019 15:36

@44PumpLane I think she may have thought we were with the other couple as the tables were close together. DS is very quiet and has never done the mad running around thing (he’s 11 now) but I have friends who allow their children to do as they please and I wonder if I’m just out of touch.

OP posts:
OnlyFoolsnMothers · 28/12/2019 15:36

You’re judged by others no matter what/ you aren’t supposed to you have noisy children, not supposed to use screens, not supposed to tell your children off, not supposed to ignore a tantrum, not supposed to rise to a tantrum- how about we all stop judging- few of us have natural quiet reserved children by default!

Meyouandbabytoo · 28/12/2019 15:37

I hate watching children run around in restaurants. Its extremely rude, especially when people are eating, and staff are trying to carry around hot food.

My BIL and SIL allow their children to run around in restaurants, we no longer eat out with them. They also run around whilst eating, they'll have a mouthful of food and go running away mid meal before going back for another mouthful.

Yes, children wont all sit still from being a baby, but you still teach them. They wont learn table manners overnight but that doesn't mean you dont bother trying.

BlaueLagune · 28/12/2019 15:38

I can't really see the difference between occupying yourself looking at a screen or reading/colouring in. Whatever the child likes, and whatever keeps them busy for however long it takes for the food to come! I'd prefer it if they read a book but for the sake of 15 mins or so does it matter?

And not running around and/or being noisy.

GrannyBags · 28/12/2019 15:38

@Seeline my MIL and her detailed descriptions of her ailments could be a whole new (revolting) thread!

OP posts:
PermanentlyFrizzyHairBall · 28/12/2019 15:39

I have no objection when a kid is struggling in a restaurant and the parents are trying to manage the situation. It happens to all of us at some point and while I don't generally do screens at meal times I will resort to it on occasion (especially when it's a long adult centred meal). I hate it when parents really make no attempt at all for their kids to behave reasonably though. One time at a restaurant there were kids running under our table, a baby screaming constantly with no attempt made to take them out or comfort them, two seperate glasses broken and a full ice cream sundae tipped over some of it splashing DH's trousers. The three adults wth them sat serenely chatting with not a care in the world.

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 15:41

Screens are fine. Conversation dosent have to be centered around children 24/7. It's not like mine would be on them all day and I found enjoy some adult conversation.

AlpacaGoodnight · 28/12/2019 15:42

Personally I'm not keen on either scenario but I would rather be sat near you and your ds than people who let their children run around in a restaurant.

Friedspamfritters · 28/12/2019 15:44

I used to be judgemental about kids who couldn't sit still as DC1 was able to be taught to do it from a young age. DC1 found it much harder and was just naturally more restless. That said I just didn't take him to restaurants until he was old enough to sit still and stay quiet. Now he almost always behaves well!

BingPot99 · 28/12/2019 15:45

I'm not a fan of kids looking at screens in restaurants but it's really none of my business when it's not affecting me or ruining my own enjoyment (eg volume up so I can hear it). Use of screens is really just something that different parents make different decisions on - no biggie generally.

However, when someone else's DC's are running around, bumping tables, making noise and becoming trip hasards it is no longer just a different opinion on parenting choices. At that point, someone else's DC's are negatively affecting me in a completely avoidable way. It is the parents' fault and unacceptable IMO

DivisionBelles · 28/12/2019 15:46

I would much rather be sat near you and your DC. I can't abide children running round in restaurants. Our DC, now 22 and 20, were always brought up to sit nicely at the table in public places. If they were bored, they could colour, or read but not get down and be a mischief.

Looneytune253 · 28/12/2019 15:47

To be fair I think we need to be somewhere in the middle. Children should be sitting nicely joining in with the family. Not running around causing havoc but not sitting silently ignoring everyone around them on a screen either


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Bluebutterfly90 · 28/12/2019 15:48

No, I think she just lashed out because she felt defensive.
An 11 year old quietly looking at a phone in a pub isn't rude. He isn't disturbing others.
Generally the idea is just to try and make sure your kids aren't being a nuisance to others, and your son wasn't.

DisorganisedOrganiser · 28/12/2019 15:52

I find what works best is never judging or looking at what other people’s kids are doing. Frankly I am busy enough with my own kids to pass judgement on others.

To answer your question OP, kids are expected to be seen and not heard, not be on a screen, make sparkling conversation but only when spoken to, sit still for hours at a time. They may do a sticker book. If they do not do any of this it is of course the mother’s fault.

BobbyBlueCat · 28/12/2019 15:53

I cannot abide children running around and 'playing' in restaurants etc, regardless of whether they are family friendly establishments or not.
However, I also don't agree children need screens to ensure they are well behaved. Eating out should be seen as a treat, not an ordinary occurance. They should be part of the meal. Children should be able to join in conversations and if not, learn how to just sit quietly without needing a tablet or phone to do so. If they can't do this, then they don't get to attend future meals out until they can learn to be part of a table of people and actively participate.
I hate seeing kids with phones and tablets at tables. It teaches them nothing about good behaviour or manners in public. Children need to be bored sometimes and know that it's part of life and whether they are finding something interesting or not that they participate regardless.
Media devices have no place at a dinner table and I am as scornful of these families when I eat out as I am of the feral ones running around. Neither are examples of 'good' behaviour. Just different types of 'bad'.

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