Tag Archives: eating out

Kids, Public Spaces and Manners

Hello my lovely readers. Today is a non crafty post, more of a vent today lol.

I started thinking about this one a couple weeks ago when a friend of mine, after going to a local university baseball game, went with her DH to a local restaurant. They were seated in a section, where near the end of their meal, two couples with some children were seated. The adults took a table, and sat having drinks and socializing, while the children took another, and then coats etc were piled on a third table. The children proceeded to run amok, doing as they please, without a word from the adults in charge. So, essentially, kids are being disruptive, and this group of 8 or so people (adults and children total) took three tables in a section with no regard to anyone else.

Okay. First things first. No, this was not a “children’s” restaurant. Meaning, it wasn’t the big mouse pizza place where kids are expected to run around. This was a sit down, with waiter/waitress, order from a menu, serves adult beverages type of place. Near a large University, employing mostly college aged people for their wait staff. Family friendly, sure, caters to kids specifically, no.

I understand wanting to go out. Have some time with your friends, enjoy an adult beverage or two, let the kids hang out. I really do understand. I am a mom of two, and just because you’ve created life, doesn’t mean your social life is required to go out the window. I know not every child can sit through a meal. I think they should be taught to, but I understand, in some circumstances, that isn’t possible. (But, in my not so humble opinion, if your child isn’t capable of this, get a sitter and go alone or don’t go to a place where a child running about is going to cause a problem to the other people there). There have been plenty of times in life I have either declined an invitation for a meal out, or stayed behind while the rest go out, or sat in the car during a meal because of a particularly fussy child.

Now, before anyone starts reading me the riot act. Please understand. I am not saying this just because of the comfort of other diners. There is also a HUGE safety issue here. I’m sure we’ve all been somewhere, where something similar has happened; where literally small (toddler, preschool, early elementary aged) children are running around. I mean out of their seats, chasing each other, running around. I know kids at that age. Not only are they not always very spatially aware, but they see the world from 4 feet down and below. Meaning, that they are not necessarily going to see your 6 foot tall waiter with a tray full of hot food, come around the corner before it’s too late. And, unfortunately, in this litigious society we are in, there are going to be times when mom and dad are going to be on the phone with the lawyer suing the restaurant. I know some of you are thinking “no they wouldn’t, it wasn’t the restaurant’s fault!”, but um, yeah, remember the when someone sued because they got burned, by HOT COFFEE? Yeah, they won that one. So yeah, it can happen. It probably has.

Now, I know DH and I are strict. We expect our children to behave properly when out in public. We expect, “please”, “thank you”, “yes sir/ma’am” etc. We also expect them to pick a reasonable food choice from the menu, and place their own order with the waiter/waitress. Yes, I have left the grocery store because of a misbehaving child. Yes, I have sat in the car with a fussy baby so the rest of the family could finish their meal in peace. Because, I understand that the world does not revolve around me, my wants, and my desires, and that it’s completely unfair, not only to the other diners, but the staff as well to have a massive distraction, or unpleasantness in their section.

All this being said. It is our job as parents to train our children. Sorry, you raise crops, you train children. Babies are born with nothing but natural instinct, it is our job to teach them how to be civilized and eventually productive members of society. You can not do this by being your kids’ best friend. You can not do this by just expecting them to know what to do. You can not do this by allowing behaviors you don’t like to continue without doing something about it. You can not do this by worrying about hurting their feelings, again, you are the parent, NOT the friend. You can not do this by threatening punishments, but never following through. It doesn’t work. Are my kids perfect? No where close. Do I usually receive compliments on their behavior? Yes. Do I deal with it when I don’t? Absolutely.

I am the first to admit, that there are times, I really don’t like other people’s kids. This is because, I expect all children to behave with the manners appropriate to their age (mental and/or physical). So, when I am met with rude, un-mannered, misbehaving children, all I want to do is get away. It’s why I don’t teach. I was raised to respect my elders, use my manners, and keep quiet when adults are trying to have a conversation. There are times I see how some children speak to their parents or other adults in charge and I’m stunned because I would have never spoken to an adult that way, nor would I allow my children to. I still wouldn’t speak to someone else, just another human being, in the manner that some children do today. I’d be too embarrassed.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox for today. Just think about it. (also, side note, if you don’t have kids, don’t give advice, unless you have a degree in early childhood education or child psychology, k thanks) I’ve seen the meme plenty of times, “Forget about what kind of world we are leaving for our children, what kind of children are we leaving for the world”.

Smile everybody! It helps you and just might help someone else!

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