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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?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

jamoncrumpets · 29/12/2019 09:53

I didn't come back to this thread last night because it upset me so much, but coming back to it this morning, and particularly CherryPavlova's comments, I am absolutely devastated.

I would like to think that my disabled child would be accepted everywhere. I know that isn't the reality, but I try to be positive for their sake. But the reality is clearly some of the ableism and ignorance I have seen on this thread, and that's utterly depressing. Thank god my kid isn't old enough to notice, yet...

EL8888 · 29/12/2019 09:57

I would rather sit next to you and your DS. Im confused as to why some people don’t parent their children, or if they do it’s in a very ineffectual half hearted way. Then get annoyed when their child is chastised or they are asked to get their to stop whatever antisocial / annoying thing they are doing. Do they want their child stood on or having hot coffee / food spilt on them?!

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 09:57

Jam. Please don't get upset. I spent far to many years upset due to ignorance like cherry. Not everybody holds these views. Cherry all isolation shows is a settling without proper thought out care plans, it's sloppy care not the type of settlingI would ever consider.

EL8888 · 29/12/2019 09:58

If lm out at a pub or restaurant l want some peace. Not to listen to children running wild 🙄

Spikeyball · 29/12/2019 09:58

Use of SEN rather than SN and integration rather than inclusion points to someone lacking in knowledge of good practice.

jamoncrumpets · 29/12/2019 10:00

My son has been at specialist school for just one term. And in that term he has been: swimming every week, to a farm to pick pumpkins, to a wood, to a supermarket to buy ingredients.

His school know that he needs to be out in society to thrive. But I guess his teacher with 25 years of working with small kids with autism knows nothing, eh? He should be hidden away from everyone in case he gets his cock out of something. Ridiculous.

CottonSock · 29/12/2019 10:04

I don't mind screens, but some parents leave volume on and no headphones. That gives me the rage

HoHoHoik · 29/12/2019 10:13

Use of SEN rather than SN and integration rather than inclusion points to someone lacking in knowledge of good practice.


DisorganisedOrganiser · 29/12/2019 10:16

jamon Flowers. I really try not to pay any attention to what other kids and their parents are doing (unless it looks as if they are unwell / need help, etc). As I said, I am far too busy with my own kids, or if I don’t have the kids with me, enjoying time to myself Smile.

Perhaps, just maybe, a family with a child with SN will want to go out for a meal sometimes. For various reasons. Maybe not only for the child with SN, but for the siblings who miss out on so much, or maybe the kids are hungry and there is no food in the house, or the parents have miscalculated timings so hungry children far away from home. Maybe they just want to do normal things. Maybe they are on a day out. Yet people on here are basically suggesting they be isolated. Unbelievable.

jellycatspyjamas · 29/12/2019 10:28

@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.

Surely you understand that I meant adults wouldn’t usually be sitting at the table on their phones? Of course most adults will have a phone somewhere on their person, in my experience though it’s not usually visible (ie sitting next to their plate at dinner) and they’re not actively engaged on their phone during the meal.

MontanaSwing · 29/12/2019 10:28

@NicEv thanks for the link to screen time reviews. My son is almost 2 and I have not yet succumbed to letting him use my phone or tablet at all.

With regards the OP, I do think children need to be taught to tolerate uncomfortable feelings like boredom and giving them a screen when they are bored does not give them that skill. However I don’t judge those parents. That’s their decision.

I hate seeing people out in restaurants and everyone on their phones. We have to lead by example.

my2bundles · 29/12/2019 10:31

Creating a non stimulating quiet environment to calm a child or adult is good practise, allowing that person access when they need it and leaving when they need to is good practise. Isolation is completely different and not good practise.

hazeyjane · 29/12/2019 10:38

Lordy, CherryPavlova's post of Today 09:34, is a real peach of a post. It reminds me of the attitude of several professionals I have come across full of self righteous, 'nanny knows best' bile.

To the other parents of children with complex needs on this thread, don't let the fuckers grind you down. Flowers

peaceanddove · 29/12/2019 10:57

Put very simply, children should learn to behave appropriately to the social situation they're in. So, sitting quietly whilst in church Or running around boisterously in the park. Or sitting nicely at the table in restaurants and being included in the conversation (we never allowed screens at the table) or just listening.

DiseasesOfTheSheep · 29/12/2019 10:58

In fairness with the OP's mother in law and her "lancings" and other medical details, I'd want to be on my phone too Envy

SunsetBoulevard3 · 29/12/2019 11:52


You’ve summed it all up very well.

EL8888 · 29/12/2019 12:14

@peaceanddove yes to this! Otherwise these annoying and poorly mannered children, become annoying and poorly mannered adults.... People need to think about where they are and other people

Lizzie0869 · 29/12/2019 12:35

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!

I don't know many adults who wouldn't get bored of someone droning on and on about their ailments if it comes to that. Grin

I don't think screens are a good way to train children to behave in restaurants, as they learn nothing. My DDs are 10 and 7 now and they mostly do colouring now. It was very hard to take them out to restaurants when they were younger, as they were very hyper, and we only used to go to places where there was either a playground or soft play. Add to that the fact that DD1 in particular is a very fussy eater so it really was too much like hard work.

However, I wouldn't particularly notice what other parents are doing with their DC if they're not disturbing me. It's not my place to judge their parenting. The other mum was very rude to say what she did, as letting her DC run amok was far more annoying.

Southmouth · 29/12/2019 13:05

I don’t think you’d done anything wrong by allowing your DS to watch something quietly. I’d much prefer this than children running about being noisy, it’s not only annoying for customers but it’s dangerous with hot food and drinks coming out to tables all the time.

My children are young, and it can be a long time from ordering to food being on the table, they know they are to sit quietly and if they do start to get a bit loud then they are politely reminded to quieten down as other people are trying to enjoy there food. I have also let them watch something with the volume very low on my phone whilst they are waiting and then it goes away when the food comes out.

platform9andthreequarters · 29/12/2019 13:17

I have an almost 2 year old and we've been out a couple of times recently to eat with family. The first time was a bit unplanned, my parents took him to a restaurant rather than for a quick bite at Costa or equivalent that I suggested, in a very busy shopping centre and he didn't want to sit down. I resorted to YouTube on my phone fairly quickly, as he was tired and irritable and I'd just finished work and didn't have the energy.

The second time the meal was planned a month in advance, for his naptime (which I wasn't too happy about), I took a bag full of snacks and colouring, books and little cars for him. We were there just over 2 hours in total, he got down from the table a few times for a little wander (when someone accompanied him) and played with a car around my feet a bit, and then I resorted to YouTube for the last 10mins when he'd just had enough.

In an ideal world kids would sit and play/colour/chat happily everytime but I don't know any kids that would do that indefinitely everytime. You also don't know whats going on in a parents/childs life that maybe that day they just couldn't manage it. That being said, I would be a bit judgy about an 11year old on a screen at a table , I'd hope by that age they would be able to join in with conversation more. But I don't have an 11 year old so I'm sure I'll eat my words then.

Getitwright · 29/12/2019 14:03

I recently found myself at a family birthday party in quite a posh restaurant with family members with children. There was a two year old, a seven year old, a ten year old and a fourteen year old. Two year old was sat with parents, and fourteen year old sibling, bit fractious but had full attention of parents who did a fantastic job of laughing her back into the party. Her older sister helped as well. The other two were sat together, away from their parents but happily conversing with other adults, and both using colouring books. Other adults were entirely engaged with all the children, they happily sat in their places, got on with eating their meals, very much involved in conversations. It was a pleasure to be out with such lovely well socialised children to be honest, and something of a rarity for me, as we choose our eateries and timings at far more adult locations and times to be honest.

Lizzie0869 · 29/12/2019 14:13

@Getitwright you're quite right, that sounds like a lovely family celebration. We've been to a few and our DDs have had a lovely time, as the adults with them included them and made them feel that they were a part of the special meal.

I really think the problem in the OP's situation was her MIL going on about her ailments. Other adults would find that annoying so of course an 11 year old boy would too.

SciFiRules · 29/12/2019 14:27

Tough one. I'm father to two very boystous boys 3 and 6. I try to keep them quietly entertained when out but there probably have been times when they've annoyed others. I have carried one or other out before now wailing all the way - thankfully not often!

lowlandLucky · 29/12/2019 16:08

I managed to raise 3 children who were not allowed to run around a restaurant or screech at the top of their voices but then i did chat to them and listened to what they had to say. jamoncrumpets i understand your son as problems sitting still and regulating his voice and i wouldnt expect you to keep him at home bit dont get hacked off when other diners are not happy, they may have saved to have lunch out and object to a child runnig around and dont be surprised when the waiting staff are kess than happy at having to avoid your child whilst they try and do their job. Dont blame anyone else when your child ends up with boiling hot coffee over himself because he ran into someone

Lizzie0869 · 29/12/2019 17:48

@jamoncrumpets I have 2 DDs that are hyper, and DD1 has SN. Taking them out to restaurants was very difficult in the past, as they've always been hyper, so I really empathise with you and your DS. It has become easier now that they're 10 and 7.

The way we coped was taking them to pub restaurants with a playground or a whacky warehouse so that one of could entertain them whilst the other stayed at the table that we'd booked. Then we'd take them out for more running around.

Mostly when on holiday we've gone for self-catering, however, it's much simpler.

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