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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.

ScreamingValalalalahLalalalah · 28/12/2019 15:53

They can do what they like as far as I'm concerned long as they don't disrupt others' enjoyment by being too noisy or running around.

lanbro · 28/12/2019 15:54

Absolutely hate kids running around in restaurants, my dsis was terrible for letting my nephew do it, my dad used to go nuts. My dds are great at sitting and always have been, we used to take colouring and books to keep them entertained. No excuse for allowing kids to run wild and not attempt to parent them

DisorganisedOrganiser · 28/12/2019 15:55

Eating out is not a treat for kids FFS! They have no concept of the time and effort of preparing and cleaning up a meal when they are young so they do not view it as a treat to be out, except maybe MacDonalds. It is a treat for the parents and the kids are expected to suck it up.

Vulpine · 28/12/2019 15:58

It is possible to raise kids who don't run around in restaurants and also dont need digital devices to keep them quiet.

reefedsail · 28/12/2019 15:59

Personally I think toddlers and young children should be kept at the table using whatever means necessary. If that includes a burst of peppa pig between courses, so be it.

Older children should be quite capable of sitting quietly while adults chat and joining in if appropriate.

So as far as I’m concerned neither of you had it right.

Lllot5 · 28/12/2019 16:00

I think children should be able to sit through a meal without running about causing havoc. I have to say at 11 your son should be able to do the same without a phone.
Does he have a phone at home during mealtimes?
Neither of these examples are exactly covering themselves in glory.
However rather sit quietly than run around.

Lou898 · 28/12/2019 16:00

I think it’s all about expectations and boundaries. If it’s made clear about what is expected then unless there are any underlying issues (SEN) then that dictates how your child should /will behave. I work in a primary school and can honestly say I don’t see children at lunchtime getting up and running around because they are clear about what is acceptable behaviour however I don’t doubt that some of them would be like that out with their parents.

ScreamingValalalalahLalalalah · 28/12/2019 16:00

Eating out is not a treat for kids FFS!

My sister and I saw it as a huuuuge treat when we were children. That might have been because neither of my parents could cook very well, though. Grin

Very fond memories of scoffing chicken-in-a-basket in the early 80s! The expectation then was that you sat quietly and ate your food - which we were more than happy to comply with, as if we hadn't, we wouldn't be taken out again.

AdoptedBumpkin · 28/12/2019 16:01

That was incredibly rude. Your son wasn't doing anything wrong.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 28/12/2019 16:02

I think it’s about the age and where you go- I don’t expect to be looked down on for my toddler being a bit loud in a park cafe, I wouldn’t take her to a fancy restaurant, equally a kid of 11 should be able to not scream in a restaurant without needing to be distracted with a screen

SunsetBoulevard3 · 28/12/2019 16:03

Kids in other countries manage to sit at a table quietly with adults for long periods of time. In this country they have to be 'entertained'. It's all a matter of perspective. I hate seeing kids staring at screens in public places, but its better than them running amok causing chaos and ruining everyone else's peace. I used to take crayons and paper with me for my kids when they were little, but they were also capable of sitting through meals with family members and behaving themselves for quite lengthy periods. It's called manners.

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 16:05

It is a treat, for everyone. Part of that treat is allowing have a device at the table. Also some children on the spectrum do need the distraction of a device to help them learn social skills like eating out. But I suppose some people judge this aswell. Parents just carnt win can they?

Cam77 · 28/12/2019 16:05

There's nothing wrong with TV, ipads, iphones, and computers for kids over the age of, say, 2 as long as they're doing plenty of other stuff. If you really believe the TV, ipad etc better never go near one yourself. The problem isnt the device, its the fact that so many teens and young adults cannot function socially without a device because they are so utterly addicted to then. Ipads etc are a brilliant idea: you don't bug other people and the kids don't get bored shitless. Have people forgot how incredibly boring it is listening to a background noise (and thats all it is ) of adults blahblahblahblah when youre a little kid? Far better be learning a new language, listening to stories aimed at your language level, learning some maths etc on a handheld device. Of course a bit of colouring in on a bit of paper is good too, but to each their own!

Cam77 · 28/12/2019 16:06

^ ipads etc are a brilliant idea*
*in a restaurant

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 16:06

I’ve got to the stage where I will tell the parents I’ve had enough, I’ve paid to come for a meal and don’t want it disrupted any further so can they do something about it. It’s said quietly and politely.

WorraLiberty · 28/12/2019 16:07

Eating out is not a treat for kids FFS! They have no concept of the time and effort of preparing and cleaning up a meal when they are young so they do not view it as a treat to be out, except maybe MacDonalds. It is a treat for the parents and the kids are expected to suck it up.


We ate out very rarely as kids and it was always a huge treat. We'd look forward to it for weeks.

My now 20yr old still goes on about the lovely Chinese restaurant we used to take him to from the age of 3 years. In fact we're going there next week before he goes back to Uni.

GreyGardens88 · 28/12/2019 16:09

I just had the bus journey from hell sat directly behind two hyperactive screaming children, climbing all over the seats. When did we start accepting this behaviour from them and not teaching them any manners/consideration for others?

ScreamingValalalalahLalalalah · 28/12/2019 16:09

I don't understand why anyone would complain about someone else's children using screens, unless the volume was turned up.

Cam77 · 28/12/2019 16:11

People love to judge!

Thesearmsofmine · 28/12/2019 16:11

They shouldn’t be running around but personally I don’t like to see them glued to a screen either(although I know some dc use them due to SN).

We just chat to ours, sometimes do the puzzle sheet if somewhere like Frankie and Bennys.

1forAll74 · 28/12/2019 16:13

Some parents have no idea,or inclination,how to control their children, especially in eating places,or even shopping precincts and supermarkets..They let them run amok,without a care in the world.

When my children were small, they were taught to sit at tables, or in high chairs,and were kept occupied by something or other, and not with I pads, or gadget things.

littlealexhorne · 28/12/2019 16:13

Depends really if sound from the videos could be heard by the other diners - if so I'd say thats rude.

At 11 I'd say he should be old enough to be expected to engage in conversation during the meal instead, having him staring at his phone the whole time gives off the impression he doesn't want to be there.

GrannyBags · 28/12/2019 16:16

DS does not have the phone at the table at home, we have a conversation. We went out with friends last week and he didn’t have his phone as they asked him questions about school etc and involved him in the conversation. MIL lives alone and doesn’t see people that often. Her one wish when she sees us is to inform us about all her medical issues. I’m often grateful that she is very softly spoken when she is talking about ‘lancing’ or ‘manipulation’. We have tried many times to get her on to different topics but she will not be swayed! Is there a handbook on how to parent your parents? At 86 I don’t think she’s going to change.

OP posts:
Ejmorgan · 28/12/2019 16:17

When out in a restaurant children should not be either running around causing a nuisance or be glued to a screen . Paying to go out to eat should be family time therefore good manners and being sociable are expected . When the children were very small I used to take colouring but as the youngest is now 8 he is able to get through a meal without being entertained

CanIHaveADrink · 28/12/2019 16:18

I did vote for YANBU but tbh you can have BOTH a child who isn’t running around AND one that isn’t stuck in their phone/ipad......

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