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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
user1471449295 · 28/12/2019 18:43

He kids were a pain in the arse. Noticed more and more kids are allowed to run riot in restaurants now. Would rather be seated near your dc any day.

Puzzledandpissedoff · 28/12/2019 18:44

On a couple of occasions, we have cancelled our order because we found other diners' out of control children so disruptive

IMO that's actually a pretty sensible thing to do - if more of us did it, the cost to the business might result in venue managers being more proactive about this

my2bundles · 28/12/2019 18:46

I was also a kid 30 years ago. We used to sit engrossed in books in restaurants. This zoned us out just as much as screens. Screens are fine and not the evil many would have us belive.

TwoZeroTwoZero · 28/12/2019 18:49

My dc are 7&8 and when we go out to eat, be it at a greasy cafe or a posh restaurant we talk and the dc are included in the conversation.

We've never relied on screens but we have encouraged them to colour and draw and do puzzles if they get bored, which imo is more or less the same as an iPad.

I do not let them run around the place because it's dangerous and annoying.

EmpressLesbianInChair · 28/12/2019 18:51

IMO that's actually a pretty sensible thing to do - if more of us did it, the cost to the business might result in venue managers being more proactive about this

Yes. You’d need to make very sure the staff understood why you were cancelling.

I don’t have kids, I’m not going to judge anyone’s parenting, it’s none of my business what kids do in restaurants as long as it’s not impacting me. At that point, I get to have an opinion.

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 18:51

Because I would ask, offer assistance if possible?

Young lady out recently had child who was upset for a long time, asked if there was an issue and could I help. People were getting upset by the distressed child.

If I don’t ask if there an issue I may jump to conclusions and why not offer help it maybe greatly received, who knows

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:53

My child is not an issue @ivykaty44 and I don't have to tell you their diagnosis, it's none of your business

Ihatesundays · 28/12/2019 18:54

The difference to eating out and eating at home is the wait. When you are a child being made to wait 20 minutes whilst sitting at a table must feel like an age.

We’ve always played games during the wait - noughts and crosses, hangman. We have a few travel games like battleship as well. It’s part of the fun.

I have given DD screens if she has finished eating before us. It’s good then for the guaranteed silence to finish eating.

I went to a Christmas works meal in a restaurant. Poor staff kept having to shoo children back to their table whilst carrying big plates of hot food. Parents were having a great time drinking of course Crown Hmm - they’re just dicks. Be the first to complain if their children were injured.

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 18:55

You’ve not read what I’ve written, ask is there an issue not is your child an issue.

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:56

I would not appreciate you asking me if there was an issue if my child was behaving naturally @ivykaty44 - that's ableist.

hazeyjane · 28/12/2019 18:58

We have been judged in cafes and restaurants when we are out as a family....judged when ds is on a screen, judged when ds has sat under the table, judged if his voice gets a bit loud.

The dds (now 13 and 12) are and mostly always have been happy to chat, draw, play hangman etc. Ds (9) will do some of these things for a very short time, but sometimes he will have his iPad or my phone (with headphones)...and sometimes it all goes a bit wrong.

In reality we are a family with 3 children, one of whom has complex needs, and like many families in a similar situation, we are just trying to do our best...our best to have 'normal' family life, our best to keep ds and our dds happy, our best to not make a public disturbance. I won't say we are 100% successful, but we are doing our best.

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 18:59

Lots and lots of people on here would judge me. Because my kid can't sit still AND goes on screens. And I still take him out regularly. And I don't explain why he needs to move and watch things over and over because that's none of your business.

Yet, it would appear, many of you are judging me all the time. Lovely.

Why not, next time you see a child behaving this way, you ask yourself: what else could be happening here? Instead of judging the parenting.

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 18:59

that’s your prerogative jamoncrumpets

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 19:00

I hope you're not as depressed by this thread as I am @hazeyjane

Sleepyblueocean · 28/12/2019 19:00

Ds can be noisy due to his disability although anyone objecting to it is just being an arse because it is very apparent he has a severe learning disability. He has never been allowed to run around because that would very dangerous due to his lack of understanding. People who let their children do it are inconsiderate and foolish.

Cam77 · 28/12/2019 19:00

I’d love someone to explain why sitting a kid in front of a screen necessarily equates to bad parenting. My 3.5 year old sometimes watches cartoons in his second language while waiting for food to come. He’s learning/reinforcing a super useful skill while chilling out for a bit (it’s good to hear languages from other sources than just your parents). Meanwhile, we get to have a little chat (or even piss about on our phones) and have a well earned rest. But judgy judge away people! Internet baaaaadd!

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 19:01

Yes it is @ivykaty44 - I certainly don't need to announce my son's disability. I shouldn't need to. If you used to word 'issue' to discuss my child's behaviour with me then YOU are being inappropriate.

FlyTipper · 28/12/2019 19:02

If I had a very hard to manage child I would avoid eating out probably, to answer a PP. Or I would have a few places notched up where the environment was acceptable eg. had a play area on site, or was a fast-food type place so no hanging around for the order to arrive or had open spaces between tables and understanding waiting staff (they exist). It's no fun eating out as a family if you are constant alert, trying to stop kid from bouldering into other diners. It'd give me indigestion!

hardrowtohoeallbyyourself · 28/12/2019 19:03

I try to find a middle ground. Definitely no running around but I wouldn’t let them sit on a screen when out for dinner either.

The first is worse than the second though!!

ahenderson270 · 28/12/2019 19:04

I always find this subject a tricky one as my kids aren't neuro-typical - eldest has Aspergers and comes across as aloof and rude but he's having a rough time with sensory overload and shuts down.

Middle child has learning disabilities and ADHD, autistic traits yet to be diagnosed and low IQ with a social and emotional age of a child half his age.

Youngest has epilepsy, a brain malformation and suspected ADHD but he's too young for assessment as yet.

Eating out is a minefield .. if we've been cooped up all day owing to someone's anxiety or the youngests illnesses then they are all pretty keyed up and a little wired so I'll always head to a pub type place with a play area - odds are if there's room we'll eat inside the play area.

If they have had a good day and we've had successful excursions before hand and everyone is still capable of focusing we might be more adventurous in our location but I always warn the staff and ask them to seat us away from people clearly on a date or quiet adult meal.. I'll also consider I quietly giving the people around us a heads up.

I honestly do try to limit the disruption caused and if I can sense a spiral into chaos I'll will simply remove the offending child and have their food packaged up and they'll finish at home. I never ever go anywhere with all three of them alone as middle child is a one to one so there's always another adult to supervise the others if one child needs more attention.

With all that said I refuse to keep my children ushered away from 'normal life' they've every right to enjoy eating out, cinema trips, travelling on public transport - with that will come some noisy outbursts or vocal tics or bizarre unpredictable behaviour. However if one of them was in a wheel chair no one would be complaining about that being in the way, if they needed a hearing aid not one person would find offence or if they needed a guide dog everyone would be all 'awww'.

Their invisible disabilities are still disabilities and ignorant discrimination based on judgement of a situation you don't know all the ins and outs of .. is still discrimination.

Perhaps if we all just talked to each other, asked an harassed looking parent if they're ok or if they need anything rather than if they could possibly try harder to control their offspring .. we'd have less nasty encounters 🤷🏻‍♀️

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 19:05

Well my life would be really fucking boring then wouldn't it @FlyTipper ? Ffs. I'm narrowing my 'hard to manage' child's life even further by sticking to familiar places.

Fuck me, is this really what people think? Utterly utterly depressing.

RunningAroundAgain · 28/12/2019 19:05

We have been judged in cafes and restaurants when we are out as a family....judged when ds is on a screen, judged when ds has sat under the table, judged if his voice gets a bit loud. Agreed, you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Personally I'd rather be slightly 'judged' if my child was nice and quietly watching a screen, rather than disrupting and annoying everyone in the restaurant

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 19:06

Thank you for being more reasonable and eloquent on this matter than me @ahenderson270

ivykaty44 · 28/12/2019 19:07

Never said you needed to do anything jamoncrumpet, and if you don’t want to talk to strangers who may want to offer kind word or offer of help - indeed that’s your prerogative

jamoncrumpets · 28/12/2019 19:08

You are refusing to accept that you are using ableist language @ivykaty44 - which is pretty offensive to me (on behalf of my child, who cannot speak for himself)

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