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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.

Notnownotneverever · 28/12/2019 16:52


Elieza · 28/12/2019 16:54

Unless in a field, park or woodland I hate running, noisy children. They should have been taken to the park or somewhere that they could ‘express themselves’ prior to dinner. They shouldnt be galloping around when wait staff are carrying plates of hot food etc. The little bastards are a trip hazard. They, like so many pet dogs these days, hadn’t had sufficient exercise. Bad parenting if you ask me.

4cats2kids · 28/12/2019 16:54

Children running around in restaurants is my pet hate. Bloody inconsiderate mother!

ManonBlackbeak · 28/12/2019 16:54

I'd much prefer to sit next to you and your family OP. I find more and more that many parents expect other people to tolerate their children and their poor behaviour in public. When I was growing up it was always made clear to us that if our parents ever took us anywhere nice for a meal then there were expectations that we should behave in a certain way, and if we so much as mucked about we'd be taken straight home meal or no meal. They followed through with this several times as DB was one of those kids who struggled to stay seated and behave (remember this is before smart phones/tablets etc). In fact eating out didn't become a regular occurance for us until we were in our teens because of that.

FlyTipper · 28/12/2019 16:55

To clarify, my 2 have eaten out since forever. Not every month, but as a treat once in a while. When they were young, we needed to be a lot more proactive - have colouring for them, a park nearby maybe, some small toys. They are now 6 and 8 and love to eat out whenever we get revved up to it. They get into funny moods sometimes, sure, but they know how to behave and respond if we tell them to sit down and eat properly. I would never let them run and bump into other diners' tables.

darthbreakz · 28/12/2019 16:55

I think everyone in this scenario could be less judgemental of others. It's not easy to bring up kids and everyone has their own approach which is then informed by a gazillion other opinions. Ideally we should all be able to eat a meal in peace, and our kids would sit nicely at tables and not need screens and be endlessly considerate of others, but in the real world that isn't always possible.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis · 28/12/2019 16:56

Lol @DisorganisedOrganiser ain't that the truth

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 16:57

My kids can sit and eat and interact, hold conversations and act like mature pre teens. But when faced with a table of adults and boring adult conversation they also have some screen time. It hasn't stopted their development socially one little bit it's just an alternative to crayons.

HoHoHoik · 28/12/2019 16:57

What is acceptable now wouldn't have been when my kids were little, kids were well behaved, generally speaking. You can't say that today

Since time immemorial everyone has always believed that the current generation runs wild with next to no discipline whilst when they were young children always respected their elders and neverx ever misbehaved Grin

AnneLovesGilbert · 28/12/2019 17:04

She was grumpy and defensive. There’s also no reason at all for an 11 year old to have to watch videos at the table. How long did your meal take? I’m sure he can listen politely to his grandmother for an hour or so and if he can’t he needs some practise.

Vulpine · 28/12/2019 17:05

I hate seeing kids on screens at the table

LakieLady · 28/12/2019 17:07

I cannot abide children running around and 'playing' in restaurants etc, regardless of whether they are family friendly establishments or not.

Same here. DP feels the same way. On a couple of occasions, we have cancelled our order because we found other diners' out of control children so disruptive.

DisorganisedOrganiser · 28/12/2019 17:09

This thread really sums up why eating out with children is such a miserable experience. It’s not the kids, it’s the judgy other diners!

WorraLiberty · 28/12/2019 17:09

At 11 and SEN / SN aside, I would expect OP’s son to be able to converse with his gran for the time it takes to have dinner.

Yes at that age I would as well and I don't believe the gran talks about her ailments for the absolute entire duration of the meal.

I'm sure the 11 year old can get her to chat about different things, even if his parents cant.

Drizzzle · 28/12/2019 17:10

They should not need an ipad to keep quiet in a reataurant and they should not be running around either. How about if they sat down and had a conversation with the other people at the table? Or just learn to sit down quietly and listen to other people without having to "be entertained".

WorraLiberty · 28/12/2019 17:10

This thread really sums up why eating out with children is such a miserable experience. It’s not the kids, it’s the judgy other diners!

Eating out with kids has never been a miserable experience for me or my kids, otherwise we would never have done it Confused

Cremebrule · 28/12/2019 17:11

I don’t like tablets at the table but I don’t like children running around either. I tend to bring something like colouring or building toys but also take my 3 year old for a walk so she’s not sat there all the time. If they can get toddlers to sit down and eat nicely at nursery, they are more than capable of doing it with family (assuming neurotypical) with enough engagement. I think it’s bloody hard work for a few years but it eventually pays off. I’ve taken mine out to nice restaurants, afternoon tea etc and she mainly behaves beautifully now. We had some painful meals where we left sharpish though along the way.

HoHoHoik · 28/12/2019 17:11

How is a screen at different to colouring in?

HoHoHoik · 28/12/2019 17:12


HoHoHoik · 28/12/2019 17:13

And I don't mean developmentally, I mean simply for the purposes of a 60-90 minute meal in a restaurant. How is a screen any worse than colouring in, stickers, or a reading book?

Bluebutterfly90 · 28/12/2019 17:13

OP has already said her son put the phone away to eat, so I dont know why people are moaning about that.
I'm never bothered by a kid with a screen, unless they have the volume up.
You don't know other peoples kids needs, as long as they're not disturbing you I dont see the problem.

WorraLiberty · 28/12/2019 17:14

Other people at the table can get involved in the colouring/puzzles etc that you get on the kids sheets.

But to be honest, I wouldn't expect an 11 year old to be colouring in either really.

IndecentFeminist · 28/12/2019 17:15

No screens and no running around. Neither are particularly appropriate but at least the screen doesn't necessarily disturb others.

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 17:16

There's no difference between colouring in, blocks or anything else and a screen. The only difference is it makes some parents feel superior when it fact both do the same thing, entertain kids for the short period of time.

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 17:18

Why is sitting at a table in a restaurant any different from sitting at a table at home and having a family meal?

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