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A little rant...

Nightrider's picture

DH and I went out for dinner tonight.  Nothing too fancy, but it was a nicer steakhouse (dinner for 2 including wine and tip was $150, just to give a general idea).  I arrived early, and was enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for DH to arrive (we were meeting straight from work).  Friday night, ready to relax after a long week, and what do I hear at the next table?  Two screaming children.


I have absolutely nothing against children.  In fact, I love children.  I hope to have some in a couple years.  But a nice restaurant at 7 pm is not the place for them.  It's 7 pm on a Friday night...OF COURSE they're going to be screaming (I am not faulting the children for that at all).  However, I do have an issue with the parents.  I looked over towards the direction of the screaming, and the parents were allowing their kids to WALK ON THE TABLE.  Yes, the kids were standing up and walking on top of the table.


I consider that to be completely unacceptable behaviour in a restaurant, and I just needed to rant a little bit. 

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #46361, reply #1 of 27)

Typically, the problem is not the children but the parents. If they cannot bring well-disciplined children to a restaurant, then they should not be allowed entrance. I worked in a toy store for 17 years and I can tell you from personal experience that I had more trouble with adults than children. They opened more boxes, left toys on the floor, and generally acted like animals while their children tried to shop and make decisions about what to buy!

There's just no excuse for children to be allowed to behave like that in public.

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST


http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST

http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Quilter's picture

(post #46361, reply #2 of 27)

It never ceases to amaze me how some parents seem oblivious to the behavior of their children.  I don't know how many times our staff has had to gently discourage children from viciously pounding on the keyboards of the public computers in our library.  And don't even get me started on ripping pages out of books, peeling off the barcodes, throwing compact discs onto the floor, smashing story cassettes....parental response to our protests generally result in dirty looks in our direction and statements like "they're just kids, they don't know any better".  Well, why don't they know any better?  I'm getting close to retirement and my patience with that kind of response is getting pretty short - I sometimes just want to scream "Supervise your children, teach them how to behave in public, and for heavens sake, teach them acceptable behavior".  OK - now my rant is over.


As for the parents in the restaurant allowing their children to walk on the table - it makes you wonder if they allow that kind of behavior at home?  Do the kids climb up on the table at home?  Do the parents allow them to walk around on top the kitchen counters - maybe walk across the stove?  I think your rant is completely understandable.   

Ballottine's picture

(post #46361, reply #4 of 27)

...and then we are surprised where the aggressive drivers come from.  LOL.


 I am totally with you.  Bal


 


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

samchang's picture

(post #46361, reply #3 of 27)

>But a nice restaurant at 7 pm is not the place for them.

I hear what you're saying, but this is a different issue than badly behaving kids and all too permissive parents. We bring our 7 year old to nice restaurants at 7 on Friday night, no problem.

Nightrider's picture

(post #46361, reply #8 of 27)

Good point.  I should have qualified that statement, because I really don't have any problem at all with children in a restaurant if they have been taught how to behave in that setting.


I do remember being taken to nice restaurants when I was young, and I remember clearly that it would have been completely unacceptable for us to do anything less than be polite, be quiet, and eat properly with a knife and fork.  It wasn't such a stretch, because table manners were also enforced at home.

Frankie's picture

(post #46361, reply #5 of 27)

Shame on the parents. The kids don't know proper restaurant behavior but the parents certainly should. You would have been within your rights to ask the staff to address this. I am surprised they didn't on their own. A comment to the manager would have been appropriate when you paid the bill or were leaving.

My sister and BIL used to permit their daughters to roam the restaurant and say "hi" to each and every diner. It was not until an elderly couple, who had been so nice to the girls, approached my sister and her husband, while the girls were making the rounds, and politely told them how disrespectful they as parents were to the other diners, by allowing private meals to be interupted and how an important opportunity to teach children boundries, the value of public privacy and table manners had been missed.

Up to that night, my sister and brother inlaw thought their children were the delight of everyone's evening. What an abrupt awakening. The children's behavior was never repeated. Each was taken for an "adult" meal to set the new standard.

Frankie


One creates these beautiful dishes. Then people destroy them with their teeth. You might like to take a photograph of your own grilled sole with samphire. It won't be as good as mine but it will be something.

Richard E. Grant as Simon Marchmont - Posh Nosh


Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi.

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh


MadMom's picture

(post #46361, reply #6 of 27)

ITA.  I blame the parents, not the children.  My children were never taken out to eat...at least not until they were brought home from the hospital after they were born.  From that day forward, they were expected to behave in a restaurant.  If the children cannot or will not behave, the parents should remove them from the restaurant.  If it's not enough to take the children outside and lecture them sternly, then they should be taken home.  FWIW, I have no problem with well behaved children in any restaurant.  I have a problem with brats, even at a McDonald's.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!


Edited 10/28/2006 9:55 am ET by MadMom

Biscuit's picture

(post #46361, reply #7 of 27)

Been there.  DH and I have been on both sides of this issue - when we didn't have a child, we were annoyed when we went out on a Friday night after work (as you did) and had to deal with someone else's children.  When we HAD a child, we remembered that feeling, and we tried to mitigate it as much as possible. 


Our rules are - if we take Max out to eat at a place that isn't generally filled with children (like Red Robin or Joe's Crab Shack (G)), (sometimes we like to go to this great Italian place that only occasionally has a child in it), then we go early - 5:30 or 6:00 at the latest, we bring a few somethings for him to do, and we beg the waitress for a bread basket first thing.  We don't dawdle over the menu, we decide and order so that the meal can come and distract him pretty quickly.


We haven't had any problems to date.  But we are careful and mindful and do our best not to let OUR child be a problem to other diners.  Most adults going out to dinner who want a nice dinner to end a busy week tend to go out later than 5:30 or 6, so we are usually able to avoid them.


The behavior you describe is, to me, unacceptable.  And it's the parents fault for not correcting him immediately.  Max knows that just because we are in a public place doesn't mean I won't punish him.  I have and I will, and he knows it. 


Speaking of going out - we are going out to our favorite little Italian place tonight.  Or rather, late this afternoon, (G) because Max is going with us. 


 


Save the Cheerleader.  Save the World.

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Jean's picture

(post #46361, reply #9 of 27)

Which reminds me--the photo on my fridge is definitely out-dated.  HINT.



"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

 
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Biscuit's picture

(post #46361, reply #12 of 27)

(G)  School photos should be here soon - I hope.  They were taken ages ago.  And I may have one or two of Spaceman Spiff after Halloween. (G) 

Save the Cheerleader.  Save the World.

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Nightrider's picture

(post #46361, reply #10 of 27)

I like your approach :)  I'm not a mom yet, but I do know kids...and no matter how well behaved they are, if they are hungry and over-tired, they're going to be cranky.  Heck, I'm cranky when I'm hungry and over-tired!  It sounds like you really try to mitigate those factors.

Biscuit's picture

(post #46361, reply #11 of 27)

We do.  Especially when he was younger, and to SOME extent, wasn't able to really control himself - I didn't expect a 2 year old to sit down to dinner for 2 hours!  Ridiculous.  But actually, he's getting a bit older now - 5 1/2 - so our expectations for him are a little higher, and he does well, as long as we don't wait until he's starving to death to go out. 


I think another factor here is that I know lots of people who don't necessarily expect their children to behave at the dinner table AT HOME - so how can they be expected to do it at a restaurant?  We are in the minority of our friends who sit down to dinner every night together, expect decent manners and enforce them, no one starts to eat until everyone is sitting down, no one leaves the table until everyone is finished, wipes their mouths on a napking, ask to be excused, clear our place, wash our hands and then dinner is finished.


Granted, there are always exceptions - but even if we have a soup and sandwich night, the rules for dinner are the same.  I think having the structured meal at home each night helps with meals in public. 


Save the Cheerleader.  Save the World.

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

madnoodle's picture

(post #46361, reply #13 of 27)

We are in the minority of our friends who sit down to dinner every night together, expect decent manners and enforce them, no one starts to eat until everyone is sitting down, no one leaves the table until everyone is finished, wipes their mouths on a napking, ask to be excused, clear our place, wash our hands and then dinner is finished.


Same here.  I've basically given up inviting good friends of ours over, b/c they do not enforce any kind of mealtime standards with their three children.  The kids wander around, come back to the table, pick a bit, go off to play, come back . . . it drives me nuts.  When I've politely suggested to the children that they stay at the table til everyone's done, both the kids and the parents look at me like I've grown a third eye.  And guess what--mom's always complaining and sighing over the fact that her kids just won't eat . . . 


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Biscuit's picture

(post #46361, reply #14 of 27)

Been there!  Isn't that annoying???  When you are sitting there, and YOUR child has specific rules of behavior, and your guests children are doing whatever, and your child is kind of looking at them, looking at you, and you are grinding your teeth in frustration over really not being able to say much about it.


Also - I've given up making Max eat if he doesn't want to - he has food, he can eat, if he doesn't want to, he still sits there until DH and I are done.  And if he doesn't eat his dinner, he gets NOTHING but water until breakfast.  That simple.  And he knows it.  He still tries to negotiate (G) - you should have heard the latest!  "Well, I ate HALF of my dinner, so doesn't that mean I should get HALF a dessert?"  (G)


Anyway - not to roll off topic, but still - I really think there is a correlation between table manners at home, and table manners in public. 



Save the Cheerleader.  Save the World.


Edited 10/28/2006 10:41 am ET by Biscuit

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

madnoodle's picture

(post #46361, reply #22 of 27)

and your child is kind of looking at them, looking at you, and you are grinding your teeth in frustration over really not being able to say much about it.


Yeah, no kidding--esp. when the other kid is playing with toys in the other room, and my kids are sentenced to the table.  It's brutal, so we just don't do it any more.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Canuck's picture

(post #46361, reply #15 of 27)

<Same here.  I've basically given up inviting good friends of ours over, b/c they do not enforce any kind of mealtime standards with their three children.  The kids wander around, come back to the table, pick a bit, go off to play, come back . . . it drives me nuts. >


Oh yes!! Having children wander around with ribs is not acceptable in our house (call me strange) but we know people who think this is perfectly fine. I have to find a way to get together with the parents only, because I can't do this anymore.


We took DDs out from the very beginning for restaurant meals, understanding that we may be gulping our meal or getting it to go if things went downhill. These were family restaurants, though, and DDs were not allowed to leave the table at all. I always had stickers and small activities in my purse to keep them entertained. Walking on the table wouldn't have been tolerated LOL.


That training paid off; I have no qualms about taking them anywhere now. Youngest DD was 8 at Chez Panisse and knew exactly what was expected. She was proud and so were we. 

wonka's picture

(post #46361, reply #17 of 27)

I take my children (I have 4) out to many restaurants. I get people coming up to us all the time to say how well behaved they are. The key is to teach them proper table behaviour at home and reinforce it in restaurants. When they were little we went early and didn't linger. When they were babies I had a favourite local place that we went to. When the kids had trouble sitting through their meal there we took a break from going until they were able to sit for the time required to finish there food. We always brought a bag of activities to keep them occupied. Bored kids are noisy disruptive kids. I have a few friends who I will not invite to my house nor will I go to a restaurant with them if they insist on bringing their children. These same people are not in charge of their children. Their children are in charge of the household instead. A sad state of being. The kids are not like very much and the parents have lost the respect of many of their peers. It doesn't need to be this way.

MadMom's picture

(post #46361, reply #19 of 27)

Just to reinforce what others have said.  Parents who don't teach (and expect) good table manners at home are not going to see them when they take their children out.  Also, parents should know their children's limits.  If the child generally takes a nap at 12:30, don't take them to lunch at that time and expect them to behave.  If the child generally goes to bed at 8 p.m., don't expect them to enjoy a dinner which starts at 7 or 7:30. 


This reminds me (sorry, Sally) of Sally's complaint about her stepson's table manners, and his response that he could use good manners when he needed to.  Unless good manners are ingrained and enforced at home, they won't miraculously appear in public. 


 




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
wonka's picture

(post #46361, reply #20 of 27)

I am in total agreement.

madnoodle's picture

(post #46361, reply #21 of 27)

I have to find a way to get together with the parents only, because I can't do this anymore


We really don't even get together with these people anymore, b/c they just won't hire a babysitter . . . sometimes the mom and I go out together, but that's about it.  She's definitely of the wander around with the ribs school of thought . . . I think she got sucked into it from the time the kids were little and were picky eaters.  She got into the mindset that it didn't matter how or where they were eating, as long as they were eating.  Back when DS was still at home with me we used to often invite them over to play in the afternoon--they rarely got here before about 2:30, and her excuse was always "Feeding these kids takes forever!".  I'd just have to turn around and roll my eyes.  It's so simple--put the food out, they've got to sit there for 15 minutes or whatever, and then whether they eat or not, they're done.  Her oldest kid comes home from school starving every day, b/c of course he can't manage to finish his lunch in the time allotted at school.  Honestly, she's an intelligent person; I don't know why she has so much trouble with such a simple concept.  And she's prickly, so I don't dare suggest.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Canuck's picture

(post #46361, reply #23 of 27)

Yes, sometimes it's easier and nicer to go out with just my friend. DDs are old enough to understand that other people have different rules and that I won't be correcting their kids (unless it's to call them back to the table with their ribs!); however, even DDs are getting fed up with some of these kids.


You and I share the same mentality about food; eat it or go without until the next meal. I just don't want to have fights about food, so I won't.


It is a lot easier to teach a young child manners than an older one.

Rhea's picture

(post #46361, reply #16 of 27)

My Mother always reminds my brother that he was a complete ANIMAL in a restaurant when he was a child....after the first outburst my parents paid the bill, picked him up and left...they always said that other diners are not paying for other children's rants....they simply paid for a babysitter until he could behave properly....I still am shaking my head that the parents allowed the walking on the table.


Years ago at a fine restaurant we witnessed an act similar to that, and the owner came out and politey but FIRMLY informed the parents at the table that the behaviour was unacceptable and it was bothering every other diner,... when they implied there "was simply nothing they could do to stop the child", the owner replied that he would gladly charge them the OTHER diners tabs if they did not reign the beast in....


they left.


Not sure if that would fly today, but it worked like a charm then!!!


p.s. where did you dine and was it good????:) p.s. how is your Grandfather???


I can't even afford the lifestyle I dont' want...

I can't even afford the lifestyle I don't want...

Nightrider's picture

(post #46361, reply #18 of 27)

Restaurant was DH's choice last night.  We went to Canyon Creek on Front St.  Pretty much like the Keg, but a little nicer.  He likes enormous pieces of beef, so his dinner choices are frequently steakhouses.


My grandpa is doing amazingly well.  He's back to doing the activities he loves (singing in a men's choir, going for walks, etc.), and seemed like his old self when we had them over for Thanksgiving dinner.  I can't believe the difference!  We're so thankful that treatment worked for him :)

LuluVuitton's picture

(post #46361, reply #24 of 27)

Just a quick reply.  For years, I worked in new home sales - you know, in a model complex, or show homes, that builders use to sell a new neighborhood.  You would not believe.....


Some kids would be climbing all over tables, hanging off the topography map, etc. and the parents would just ignore them.  What I began doing, after ignoring the kids and giving the parents plenty of time to stop them, was turn my head sharply over toward the child and say, "Oh my gosh!  Honey, you just can't DO that!!  You could fall and be seriously hurt!!!"  Very exaggerated.  Works 100% of the time.  The parents are shamed into acting like they are very much concerned about the welfare of their children and rush over to make them stop. 


I would have no problem in a restaurant gasping loudly, and rushing over to their table and saying, "I am SO concerned about your kids!  With the knives and the sharp edges and the glassware.  If they were to fall they could be SERIOUSLY INJURED.  Why, my niece's sister fell backwards over a booth and broke her neck!"  Trust me, they get embarrassed quickly because it looks like they don't care about their children's welfare. 


Takes some guts but that is what I like about passive aggressive - you shine the light on THEM.  They might suspect what you are doing, but what can they say?  "Shut up and let me worry if my child gets burned by hot soup because they ran into a waiter."   I'm evil that way. 


 


 


 

MadMom's picture

(post #46361, reply #25 of 27)

Very good post!  We bought a home which used to be a model home, and the second or third day we were there, I heard the front door open, then slam, then heard footsteps running up the stairs.  I went to see what it was, and it was little kids...no parents in sight.  I asked them exactly what they thought they were doing, and they looked a bit sheepish...why, they were just running like little hellions through a model home.  I told them it was my home, and asked them to leave.  As they reached the front door, their parents finally showed up...I also asked them to leave.  I just wonder what they thought the children were doing running unsupervised through a home, even if they believed it was still a model? 



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Jean's picture

(post #46361, reply #26 of 27)

That does work.  We had a neighbor whose dog would bark and bark and they would make no attempt to quiet it.  Finally one night around 2AM I called over to her house and with exaggerated concern asked if everything was OK B/C I got worried when their dog wouldn't stop its barking.  End of problem.



"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

 
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
MadMom's picture

(post #46361, reply #27 of 27)

You are so clever.  The only way I got away from my neighbor's barking dog was to sell my house and move from Texas to North Carolina, LOL.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!