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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.

Doitallagain · 28/12/2019 18:05

I agree with you OP it's definitely annoying when kids are running riot in a restaurant. Not surprised they had been told to stop.
We have 4 boys and over the years we have tried very hard to improve their behaviour in restaurants. They would never dare run around however they can be noisy and quite unsettled so I know the feeling being on the other side and can definitely appreciate why people would get annoyed going to a restaurant and paying to eat and someone else's noisy child ruin it . We used to not let them have any devices at restaurants but try and to occupy them however as we had more and more children we resulted letting them go on our phones as eating out was getting very unenjoyable. I have to admit we don't go out so much these days partly as it's getting too expensive as they are getting older.

EmpressLesbianInChair · 28/12/2019 18:05

I was in a cafe many years ago when a child ran into a woman carrying a tray of freshly poured coffee, i can still hear that childs screams.

I bet that poor woman can still hear them too Sad

CherryPavlova · 28/12/2019 18:06

Personally, I’d think children should only be taken to restaurants or other ‘adult environments’ , like theatres, when they are capable of sitting still and quietly for an hour or so without needing to run around or get a phone out. That’s should usually be about four upwards.
Until then, train them at home and get a babysitter.

Unfortunately there are some hideous places that started when our children were little that actively encouraged poor eating habits and silly behaviour by providing soft play areas and chips with everything. It then spread so people forget children can sit quietly and behave without the whole world revolving around them.

It’s different if it’s a fast food place like Nando’s or McDonald’s where rushing through the meal seems to be the goal - screens are preferable to running around - but in a decent pub or restaurant I always hope parents only take children who are able to enjoy the experience and join in the conversation.

Vulpine · 28/12/2019 18:06

Profboss - yes thats why i prefer kids off gadgets at the dinner table so they can 'tune in' to the real world not out of it

managedmis · 28/12/2019 18:08

We do not routinely take our kids out to eat. I have too much respect for other people

managedmis · 28/12/2019 18:10

She even gave her son a little pad and pencil to go around all the tables and take “orders” as a game.


I heard someone wrote 'fuck off' as their order

Christ on a hand rail

aSofaNearYou · 28/12/2019 18:11

Personally I think you both had a point, neither of them are learning good social skills, but she was the one who said something so she was the one being unreasonable.

DisorganisedOrganiser · 28/12/2019 18:13

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

SonEtLumiere · 28/12/2019 18:14

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jenpop234 · 28/12/2019 18:15

Personally I'm not a fan of children glued to screens in pubs either but I never would have said anything because it's your child, not mine and at least they were quiet.
Kids running around is much worse as it's rude and disrespectful to other diners.

HoHoHoik · 28/12/2019 18:17

My DS can't sit still for a whole meal, he also can't regulate the volume of his voice. He's 5 and autistic. Should I just never take him out for lunch? Genuinely interested to know your thoughts

@jamoncrumpets both of my sons are autistic and have trouble sitting still, regulating their volume, etc. I still take them out to restaurants. They have tablets to help keep them entertained and headphones for if they need to shut the world out for a bit. If anyone doesn't like this or any behaviours relating to their disabilities then they are quite welcome to kiss my arse.

LakieLady · 28/12/2019 18:17

Grin @managedmis.

I'll remember that, in case I ever meet a child doing the same. Smile

OneOfTheGrundys · 28/12/2019 18:19

Screens when out to dinner are not to my taste but running around is beyond the pale. I have zero idea why anyone would think anyone else wants to witness their spawn ‘expressing themselves’.
Mine are allowed their screens to a certain point. Then we make them put them away and TALK TO US.
Our poor kids. We are well boring.

FlyTipper · 28/12/2019 18:19

@CherryPavlova I think you're right. The problem is kids are not educated to sit and eat, they go to those softplay/chips places and cause havoc. In early days i.e. before 3 yo, I would never have eaten in a posh place, but anywhere we would have eaten - usually a pizzeria or café or pub (minus the gastro-) - they would have been encouraged to be calm and be seated. I could take them anywhere now, they are free to express themselves within certain expectations of behaviour. They love to go out and eat. I love taking them.

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 18:21

Hohohoik love your post.

OneOfTheGrundys · 28/12/2019 18:22

And yes, DS2 has HFA and is extremely talkative AT people. About his two interests of cooking and Minecraft. If he wants to talk to us at length about either that’s fine but I wouldn’t expect someone else to sit through his 10 minute monologues. We interrupt, ask questions so he is learning conversation but others are less impolite.

Marriedtoapenguin · 28/12/2019 18:29

Depends on the restaurant and the wait time. Personally I don't let mine have screens but that's just me because I know my kids. However I'd rather kids be on screens than running around screaming without any semblance of parental supervision, oh sorry 'expressing themselves'.

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:30

I'm with you @hohohoik - I'm just wondering what others propose we do... sometimes it's nice to see what we are up against

nowaypose · 28/12/2019 18:31

I don’t particularly like seeing children glued to screens around the dinner table but I’d find the other family more offensive. It’s horrible and downright dangerous when children run around in restaurants.

Greggers2017 · 28/12/2019 18:32

We eat out 2/3 times a week. Definitely not a treat. Just two tired parents who don't want to cook. Children running about is dangerous. Children on screens is not and harms nobody.

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:36

Not all children can be educated to 'sit and eat'.

Some just can't. Again, should we keep them at home? I'd like to know what you propose I do with my autistic 5yo who would be either glued to a screen or running around or, most likely, a combination of both.

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 18:38

Jamoncerumpets that’s very different

littlekerry8 · 28/12/2019 18:39

Yes they should teach their children how to act in a restaurant.... but so should you and sitting them in front of a screen is no less bad parenting that letting them run around

Feedmylambs · 28/12/2019 18:40

The white moose cafe in Dublin had a fantastic comedy warning to parents about letting their children run riot, they copped some backlash but they were spot on. I don’t like seeing kids on screens either, and like to think children do at some point learn to behave in a polite and social manner. I grew up pre-mobile tech and managed not to run round restaurants and was taught to sit politely, say please and thank you and join family conversation. If it was possible 30 years ago it’s possible now.

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:42

My question then @ivykaty44 is: How would you know?

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