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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
iamNOTmagic · 29/12/2019 02:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProfessionalBoss · 29/12/2019 03:02

@jellycatspyjamas "... and adults wouldn’t usually bring phones to dinner either." do you realise how ridiculous you sound to suggest people meeting up at a restaurant won't have a mobile phone in their pocket or handbag? Typical mn comment. HmmConfusedAngryBiscuit

ProfessionalBoss · 29/12/2019 03:05

@Nat6999 and @iamNOTmagic

non judgemental parents who don't claim to be perfect? You are in the minority! Thank you for being honest, it's refreshing!

KatherineJaneway · 29/12/2019 07:26

I would be fine if a child came to ‘take my order’ at a table.

I wouldn't. I'd be polite but I would be thinking something a lot ruder.

lovelyupnorth · 29/12/2019 07:31

I’d think you’re both being unreasonable as don’t agree with screens at any meal time but also don’t agree with kids running round the pub.

What’s wrong with sitting enjoying a meal and talking.

Spikeyball · 29/12/2019 07:56

"I would be fine if a child came to ‘take my order’ at a table."

Ds would get upset by this. We and he have worked hard to help him tolerate young children at a distance ( he is scared of them). One bothering us in this way would make him incredibly anxious and at best he would want ( have) to immediately leave and at worst there would be a horrendous meltdown which is not fun in a teenager.

People who want to use strangers for entertainment should think about the effect they may be having on them.

Dolorabelle · 29/12/2019 08:05

Well at least my children are expressing themselves and not just glued to a screen

YANBU - there's quite a significant difference between children "expressing themselves" and behaving well, like children of course, but not disturbing others. It's called "teaching them to be thoughtful humans who share spaces with consideration for other people."

In other words, good manners. Manners aren't etiquette - they're about having thought for those around you.

The thing I find is that in order for children to learn how to share spaces considerately, they need to have attention paid to them - they need to be engaged by interested adults around them. Many's the meal out, the exhibition, the event where I've had to stop participating just for my interests and engage a child's interest - it's a sacrifice, but it results in considerate young people.

bingbangbing · 29/12/2019 08:13

This thread would be better titled 'how should adults manage young children in restaurants'.

Assuming said children are NT, the answer is to talk to the children. Tell them a story, involve children in the conversation at the table.

Neither screens nor running about are acceptable.

I don't want to listen to either. The sound is never off.

Dolorabelle · 29/12/2019 08:31

the answer is to talk to the children. Tell them a story, involve children in the conversation at the table

Yes - put well. It means adults will have to get off their screens! And pay attention and time to the children in their group.

TamingToddler · 29/12/2019 08:44

I wouldn't let my two year old run around, but also hate using screens to distract him. I'm only young myself and I feel like people judge me if I try and use my phone as a baby sitter Grin I've got a few pencil cases in the changing bag, one filled with blocks, one with toy cars, one with little fiddly things so there's always something to play with at the table.
Sitting and talking to him doesn't always work when he's trying to escape the high chair/normal chair and screams with excitement constantly!
Eating out with children means you probably won't get to sit and have a civilised chat with DP, but you chat to the kids and might eat some of your food when it's hot.

Putyourdamnshoeson · 29/12/2019 08:44

I think she was being more unreasonable, but an 11 year old, unable to sit without a screen I shit too imo.

Putyourdamnshoeson · 29/12/2019 08:46

"is shit too. Obvs.

CherryPavlova · 29/12/2019 08:49

@ iamNOTmagic You sound like very good parents who want their children accepted and able to integrate fully. That’s a lovely read. I would hope most people accept the odd over enthusiastic shriek or need to go outside sometimes.
That’s entirely different to parents ignoring or encouraging children to misbehave, run around or irritate others. Parents ignoring the very ones they claim to want ‘family time’ with is less endearing.

hazeyjane · 29/12/2019 08:52

Wow, @CherryPavlova, Parents ignoring the very ones they claim to want ‘family time’ with is less this in reference to my posts?

Spikeyball · 29/12/2019 08:57

Children with disabilities shouldn't need to be accepted. They should be automatically accepted and if people do not want to be around severe disability, they are the ones who should withdraw.

CherryPavlova · 29/12/2019 09:09

hazeyjane No. It’s parents talking about family time in cloying tones whilst letting their children do whatever they want and generally ignoring them. Sticking them on screens with no conversation whilst parents drink the evening away or sit on their own phones.

Spikeyball. I’m not sure that’s true any more for disabled people than for non disabled people. Children need structure and clear expectations. They need to be comfortable and secure. It’s not about acceptance it’s about consideration of their needs, isn’t it?
A loud environment of a restaurant in a crowded, echoing, warehouse may be excessively stressful to a child or adult with special needs. A bit unkind to force them into that setting because it’s what the accompanying adults want. A bit similar to care homes having loud pop music on the radio which isn’t controllable by the residents but done for the staff.

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 09:24

I agree with spikeyball. Anyone with disabilities, severe or otherwise should be accepted everywhere and if others have a problem they should be the ones to leave. Cherry parents with children with disabilitys including myself are very tuned onto our our children, we don't need some random on the Internet telling us we are forcing our kids into situations. If we don't try our kids in different situations we won't know if they can tolerate them and we need to public to be tolerant while we help our children.

1300cakes · 29/12/2019 09:33

I don't see why anyone would care if a kid they don't know is at another table quietly on a screen. What does it matter to you if a stranger is being anti social? Do you also go around and listen to other diners conversations and make sure they are talking about something interesting enough and are up to scratch socially?

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 09:34

To add one of my kids has autism. At one point if we hadn't have gone out and tried new settings eg cafes, shops, trains, the park etc etc we wouldn't have left the house for several years due to sensory issues and meltdowns this led to. With love, care and extreme hard work we came up with strategies to help our child in these situations. We couldn't spend years housebound for our own sanity plus tne needs of others siblings. We also needed to get out and live our daily lives while caring for our child. It's not as simple as keeping them away from a situation to apease narrow minded individuals. Life goes on tne public need alot more awareness.

CherryPavlova · 29/12/2019 09:34

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Misscromwellrocks · 29/12/2019 09:35

They should be made to sit at the table and keep their voices at a reasonable level. Fed up of having meals out ruined by kids shouting and shrieking at the next table or being allowed to charge around the place as if they were at the park.

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 09:40

Cherry my child is one of those with extreme needs and with tne right care and support levels can be taken out safely in public. Thank god the likes of you will never get your hands on her with your idea of isolation. Who tne bly hdo you think you are?

Spikeyball · 29/12/2019 09:46

CherryPavlova when children with very severe disabilities live at home, their parents will have an enormous amount of expertise. My own son has 2 to 1 support at a special school for children with complex needs and of he was residential he would have 2:1 care but we are the experts on his needs. We know what is best for him.

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 09:48

Well said spikeyball ❤

Spikeyball · 29/12/2019 09:49

The children including my son go out regularly to cafes and restaurants. It can absolutely be done. Continued isolation just shows poor provision.

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