When crying kids disrupt dinner, who ends up paying the price?
February 22nd, 2012
07:30 PM ET
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No one enjoys listening to crying children while they're dining out, and parents are no exception.

Mindful parents - and there are many of them - know the drill when it comes to eating out with children. They stick to family friendly restaurants, know the signs of an oncoming outburst and won’t hesitate to scoop up their children at first wail. That is if they decide to take the kids out in the first place.

Those parents wish restaurants didn’t need to publicly state policies for dealing with unruly children or even ban them outright. They shudder when the media shines a spotlight on establishments that go that route; the controversy gives parents a bad name.

“I think it's unfortunate that a restaurant would need written rules,” said Britt Reints, a freelance writer and mother of two. “I can only imagine that comes after having too many parents not respect the dining experience of other patrons.”

The controversy was reignited last week after Grant Central Pizza in Atlanta added a disclaimer to its menu asking parents to take crying children outside, out of respect to fellow patrons.

Whenever a restaurant assumes a public stance on dealing with unruly children, it risks alienating customers. But it’s a chance more and more restaurants are willing to take, with increasing support from the parenting and non-parenting public.

“I have children and I support grant central's policy 300 percent. I wish more eating establishments had the good decency to stand up and say no more to uncontrolled and undiciplined [sic] children,” one commenter said on the restaurant’s Facebook page, where owners thanked people for supporting them “during this nationwide controversy.”

“We plan to eat in at Grant Central more often now. Thank you! We love kids, but parents need to take responsibility for occasional bad behavior,” another commenter said.

McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, drew national attention last summer after deciding to ban children under six. Less than a year later, owner Mike Vuick said he is reaping the benefits of a sound business decision: sales are up 22 percent and he’s looking for more wait staff.

The restaurant lost some regular customers, but they were replaced by a new crop of customers searching for a relaxed atmosphere, according to Vuick.

“We’ve had nothing but quiet dinners, and not a day goes by that I don’t get e-mails from people thanking me or congratulating me,” he said.

A number of factors played into the decision. Increasingly, parents seemed unwilling to stop children from running around the dining room or remove them if they were screaming or making noise. Polite nudging from staff was met with indignant responses, and in extreme cases, people stiffing them on checks.

“I did it on behalf of parents who left their children at home expecting to have a nice dinner at a quiet venue,” Vuick said. “I knew it could backfire but it was a risk I was willing to take because I felt there would be enough people who’d appreciate what I was doing.”

He has nothing against children, he says; it’s just a function of the kind of business he wanted to run.

“There are plenty of places where families can go and it’s implicit that the dining experience will be subjected to noise and they have coloring books and playgrounds,” he said. “There are plenty of those around and only a handful of places like mine.”

Indeed, some chains have family friendly built into their brand. For example, some parents go to The Cheesecake Factory because they know that children who require high chairs will be greeted with the complimentary “baby plate” sliced banana, freshly baked bread and an orange as soon as they are seated.

“The Cheesecake Factory strives to provide our guests with phenomenal service, and servers are trained to customize their approach for each situation, focusing extra attention on the needs of families with young children,” spokeswoman Susan Pasarow said in an e-mail.

Simply providing a children’s menu and crayons also goes a way, blogger and mom Rebecca Levey said. Other necessities include high-chairs, amenability to customized menu items like plain pasta, fast service, plastic cups and stroller parking, she said.

Responsible parents also travel with an arsenal of toys and electronic devices to keep kids occupied, she said.

“Families tend to travel in similar circles,’ said Levey, who runs the site, KidzVuz.com, which lets children rate and recommend games. “Parents tend to know the places that can accommodate them. because most don’t want to be in the position.”

Family friendly places are also prime training grounds for instilling manners, Reints said, from treating wait staff courteously and saying please and thank you to speaking in a low voice and using good manners.

“I think the key thing is to take your kids to restaurants often if you want them to learn how to behave,” she said. “The more experience kids having in these public spaces, the easier it is to bring kids to less "family friendly" restaurants, knowing your children will know how to behave.”

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Filed under: Kids in Restaurants • News • Restaurants


soundoff (1,502 Responses)
  1. toofarawayfromboston

    My husband and I raised an autistic child, now an adult. We never expected other to have to endure her temper tantrums and when she acted out when we were in a public place and were unable to calm her (one of us would take her outside of the environment and try to give her a chance to calm herself), we left. Granted, it often resulted in our having to have dinner boxed up and to go, but it wasn't right for us to create a very unpleasant atmosphere for everyone else. As far as this mother being asked to leave due to her changing her baby's diaper at the table... DUH!. How unsanitary, ignorant, unthoughtful, and well, ignorant! There are reasons restaurants provide changing tables in their bathrooms.j

    August 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Chris B

      Agreed, that is just the most lowbrow thing you can do. This is not a news story because she was kicked out, it is a news story for how incosiderate this women was to others. Who wants to smell baby poop while dining on their expensive lobster meal? PSA- Many people go out to eat as an event, don't ruin it for others

      August 12, 2014 at 9:45 am | Reply
  2. Mark

    please take a moment and look up age discrimination.

    I'm a parent and i cringe when i hear or see a family out for dinner with a screaming child or when mine decide its time for a fit. but really this opens a gate. whats next no old people since they may be on ssi and can't afford to buy dessert.
    I'm a foodie I like fine dining and i will not be stopped by any place because i want my children to have that same experience and if i was it would open that place of business up for a justifiable law suit just the same as if they chose not to serve me because of my race

    March 5, 2014 at 9:13 am | Reply
    • dp

      What you bring up has no validation here. If someone can afford to eat out, they can. So SSI means nothing.
      People going out to eat are spending their money to have a decent time. They are not paying to listen to your kids scream, yell, run under tables, terrorize the waiters, etc.
      Since many of the parents refuse to control them, the restaurant will. How is your screaming child having more weight here than a paying customer?
      I won't go back to a restaurant that won't curb this selfishness.
      How dare anyone bring an undisciplined child in and expect everyone else to just conform?
      Take your kids to a kids' restaurant and you can all put up with the screaming and crying.
      We don't want this at the movies, either.
      You're the ones out of line.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Fred M Pohl

      Mark I agre I'm sick and tired of going out to eat and deal with stupid parents who let thier kids scream and run wild If they can't act civilized Guess what STAY THE HELL HOME ! There is no excuse for any unruly behavior and If any of you stupid parents don't like what I wrote Guess what?THATS TOUGH!!!!!

      May 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • toofarawayfromboston

      Your argument holds absolute no basis in this conversation.

      August 12, 2014 at 7:44 am | Reply
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    October 29, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
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  5. Alicia

    I don't have kids so I hate to be the ass that's judgemental of parents and gets pissy the second a child acts like a child. I have a nephew, though, who is relatively well-behaved, but rambunctious, like any 3 year old boy. That being said, I have seen some horrifying behavior from parents. I used to work at a large chain store, and we would hear children screaming and crying late late at night. My heart broke for these children, as they were exhausted. I couldn't think of a reason these poor kiddos had to be shopping that late at night. A temper tantrum cry is different from a desperate, exhausted cry. My mother was a single mother and never did she take me shopping when I was too tired to handle it.

    I was once injured by a child who "seemed" to be old enough to behave. The father took no notice, so I brought it up, and all he said was "i can't control him." Really?! This kid could have easily hurt himself with what he was doing. Another customer was all ready to get the father's license plate number and report him, but I didn't want to deal with that at the place I was working.

    I don't eat out too much, and hardly ever at fine dining, but the times I have I don't recall and loud children. When I go to chain restuarants and smaller, family friendly places I know my "right to be annoyed" is lessened, because I know what I am walking into. There is a place that my parents and I like, but since it always has loud children, I always get takeout or eat outside. When I start to loose my patience is when parents let their kids run around, out of sight. I've seen kids run into the street, into the kitchen, or trip other patrons, and where are mommy or daddy in all this? On the phone, or with their friends and seem to forget they even brought the child. Meanwhile, the other patrons of the restaurant or store are looking out for their kids. That, or when a child is screaming at the top of the lungs and the parents take no notice. I have much more respect for a parents who is clearly trying than one who seems disinterested.

    October 26, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • dp

      This is why restaurants are going to have to decide if they want to favor selfish people with unruly kids, or favor the people who come there to relax and enjoy. There are plenty of family restaurants. But people bring their kids into expensive steakhouses, etc. Since these parents refuse to control their kids, the rest of us have to be protected.
      A parent saying he can't control his kid is basically telling you he doesn't care about you. This kind of person sees his kid as an extension of himself, and no one tells him what to do...

      March 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  6. Jessica

    I'm a twenty-something and my parents would have slapped me if I behaved that way in public. My parents also would have never dreamed of taking me to a fancy restaurant; Bakers Square and other "family" restaurants were the only ones we'd go to on the rare occasion we ate out. If we do take my niece to a restaurant, we take turns taking her outside if she gets upset/overly energetic. Unfortunately, people these days are becoming increasingly selfish, lazy, and entitled. Control your kids or don't go out with them. There's a place for kids and it's not at a nice restaurant.

    October 4, 2013 at 12:03 am | Reply
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  8. BRING BACK THE CANE

    they should bring back the cane. allow children to be afraid of their parents. of course with rules like if the adult bats the children for no reason = child abuse but its f**king stupid that kids these days are retarded and cry and whine when about 30 years ago those children would of been well taught and polite and quiet

    July 23, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • AfraidofmyMama

      Maybe your parents should have caned you when you skipped English class.

      September 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • dp

        Thought that too!!

        March 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      Actually, that's an awful idea. "Caning" peels the skin off in strips. I'd like to suggest that you just don't know what you're talking about. Give them guidance, not welts.

      October 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      Actually, that an awful idea. Caning peels off the skin and leaves scars.

      October 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply
      • Hogan's Goat

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        October 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Fred M Pohl

      I agree disispline is right out the window when I see kids get unruly and misbehave There goes tommorow's juvinile delinquents

      May 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • Captain Grammarpants

        Hey, genius...ever hear of spellcheck. How about punctuation?

        May 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  9. physicist

    You go into a restaurant and you have screaming kids. They are mucking all over the counters. They are being loud....I am told that I should be tolerant of them and am selfish because I don't want them screaming so loud I can't enjoy my meal...well I ask: who is more selfish? Am I somehow responsible for your lack of birth control? I pay taxes so your brats can go to school. I have no children. Yet I can't go to the gym in the day time- that I pay to belong to- because school children are in the gym learning basket ball. Can't discuss "m" theory at chillies cuz screaming children and their parents can't restrain themselves. So no. I'm not selfish,don't think your mutants are cute ,and would appreciate it very much if you would kindly take a look at the current population level of 7 billion people and realize that you need to COOL IT! Cuz damn!

    May 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    • gaia

      Where is the 'love button?'

      September 30, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
      • will-tex

        The love button is on the child's but

        October 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      I dunno. You sound more like an engineer than a physicist.

      October 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
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  10. Liz S.

    I am a single mom of an only child, so she pretty much went with me everywhere. If she decided to act out I would take her to the restroom for a stern chat and possibly, quite rarely, a light spank. After a few times, all I needed to do was ask, "Do we need to go to the ladies room?" She is now 17 yrs old, and when we encounter poor behavior in restaurants she chides me, "I guess they don't know the bathroom trick."

    April 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  11. Pete

    I am the oldest of six kids, now in my late 40s. My parents would take all six of us out to dinner on occasion. I remember walking in the restaurant and people eating would stop and stare. Thing was, we never misbehaved. We knew better. My mother had a "look" that meant "you may not make it to tomorrow". I also remember people coming up to my parents as they were leaving telling them how impressed they were that we were so well behaved.

    Friends of mine and I went to a steakhouse in Philadelphia for dinner one night when they seated a family next to us. The kid was ALREADY screaming when they sat them! For 15 minutes this kid screamed and other patrons and myself all asked the woman to leave. The restaurant staff wouldn't. We paid $90 PER PERSON for dinner and were subjected to this! The mother said, "what can we do?" In unison a bunch of us said, "Leave!". Entitlement.

    April 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  12. Green Is Good

    If I'm spending my HARD EARNED CASH to have dinner once month in a restaurant, to relax with friends, keep your kids under control OR LEAVE. Your brats are not the center of the universe, and I'm not
    t putting up with it.

    March 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  13. Josh R

    I don't think it should be a restaurant's responsibility to accommodate for unruly children. Expecting the restaurant to do anything other than to serve good food and have a good wait staff is irrational and ridiculous. It's an eatery, not a daycare. Parents are the ones who are responsible for taking care of their children, and that also means that if they're running around, screaming, or being disrespectful or disruptive, then the parents should do something about it. If the restaurant wants to provide crayons and a coloring paper, or puzzles, that's cool, but you shouldn't EXPECT that.
    Children are so coddled these days it makes me worry about the next generation when they get into the real world, (and I'm 21, I thought MY generation was screwed.) You can go to jail for beating your kids, you can go to jail for yelling at them too much, and if you punish them, it's mental abuse! are you kidding me? when I was a kid, I got the belt. I think I turned out alright. These kids now- a- days, though, they're doomed.
    I grew up in a suburb outside of Detroit, MI. Next to a landfill. This crap of coddling kids with a big, nice house, and all the toys they want, and spoiled rotten, is crap. That's all it is. Parents, please start taking care of YOUR OWN children. Thanks.

    sincerely,
    A concerned citizen of a screwed generation.

    March 27, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • Green Is Good

      Co-sign.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Maddie

      Josh it is so fantastic to see another 20-something year old posting something like this! I know my parents would've killed me for acting that way in public. I have 2 step sons and 1 of my own and I endure the "oh god what's about to happen" looks when I walk into a restaurant but I make damn sure my kids are all very well behave. It's completely disrespectful to the staff and other diners if I don't.

      August 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  14. Bikll

    Keep your BADLY Behaving child at home, there is a reason I chose NOT to have kids, and I dont want to see nor hear them in public. The instant a child rips off a temper tantrum, I make a scene and always ask for a manager in every place I am. I will no longer be quiet about YOUR KIDS. CONTROL THEM NOW.

    November 19, 2012 at 1:04 am | Reply
    • Mike

      AMEN !!! I will no longer remain silent! When I hear screaming kids in a public restaurant, I am complaining to the management or confronting the irresponsible parents. Get a babysitter, go to Chuck E Cheese, order carry-out, or eat at home!

      November 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Darcy

      I agree. I stopped at one child, as that's all I can handle and afford nicely– and until all children without parents are placed, people should not keep reproducing like rabbits, and some should not reproduce at all! My sister, though, lets her kids run around restaurants, climb anything they can, and circle the table grabbing occasional pieces food with their hands- never anything nutritious though. I inform her they need to sit down before they choke on food, trip someone, or knock the coffee pot off the coffee station; she says "Don't you think we've been told that before!? We both feel that we PAY ENOUGH to eat out, restaurants can put up with it!" So don't let irresponsible parents feign ignorance– they know how annoying their situation is and just don't care.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • bsheresq

      We need to be honest that this is a bigger problem with certain demographics than others – I am talking to you, wealthy, upper class white Americans (of which I am one). I was recently at a ski resort in Vermont and went to dinner at one of the restaurants where a group of 6 couples thought it was appropriate to let their 20 children (ages of about 4-10) sit separately from them and literally run wild through the restaurant, yelling, climbing on top of and over furniture and repeatedly bumping into servers and other diners. Apparently, the parents didn't want to spoil their meals by tending to their spawn. The staff saw this and kindly relocated us elsewhere, but really no matter where you were it was hard not to be affected by them. Then later I was sitting AT THE BAR and had an expensive jacket over the back of my stool when my husband reaches around to remove it because someone's six year old was behind me and decided to put his mouth on it while he tried to get the bartender's attention to get a snack. I understand that there are kid friendly places, but does that mean that everyone's right to an enjoyable meal, or even a glass of wine, goes out the window when precious little Johnny and Janey are around? Get a grip people.

      March 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      If a crying child's tantrum causes you to make a scene and have a tantrum as well, you should never reproduce. Learn some self-discipline before you end up in a cell or some parent breaks your fingers.

      October 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  15. monica

    “I think the key thing is to take your kids to restaurants often if you want them to learn how to behave”. No! The key is to teach your kids at home or at a house party, not in a public place, where strangers come to enjoy their meal! I was probably eight when I went to a restaurant for the first time. Before that my parents would go alone, or- most often- we would meet with friends or family at home. By the time I had my first restaurant experience, I already had great table manners. I knew how to behave and I knew how to control my voice.

    March 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  16. Kathleen

    Now, find a way to keep children off planes and the world will be a much better plance.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • AM

      That's not very reasonable now is it? Fly first class and there you go, no kids!!

      August 7, 2013 at 11:51 am | Reply
  17. Cindy

    I am teacher, I work with 7 & 8 yr olds all day long. I love my students. However when I go out to eat in a full service restaurant I do not want to sit near children. I don't want to hear them. There are certain restaurants I simply won't visit, because I know they have a higher ratio children as guests. I want to dine with the friends or companion I am with and do so peacefully with just the quiet sounds of other adults nearby and the sounds coming from a busy kitchen/bar area and the music be it background or live.
    Please parents, be the parent. If your infant or very young child starts making a fuss, please scoop them up and walk them outside until they can get settled. If your older child starts to misbehave, discipline them in an appropriate manner. Be it them leaving the table and sitting in the car, a visit to the ladies' or men's room for a stern conversation or swift swat on the backside. Your choice, but be the parent, be the one to set the boundaries of what is acceptable and not acceptable when you go out as a family to a nice restaurant. If they are old enough remind them that they can be left behind with a babysitter the next time the family goes out as a consequence for their lack of manners.
    The actions that parents do today with their children set their manners for the future. You never know who will need finely tuned table manners for a corporate meal or diplomatic dinner.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  18. Lynn Ann

    This country needs to get back to family values and cook all meals at home for their children.

    February 28, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
  19. MARY JONES

    Before bringing the children and eating dinner outside, you need to make sure that your kids are well-trained. If not, then train them first because it will only cause chaos and it will end up buying pizza for dinner.

    February 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  20. JoeW

    to all the people that think that loud, screaming, crying, unruly behaved children should be allowed in restaurants, I would like to suggest that you all band together and create a restaurant Chain, called the "Screaming Child". This way you will have someplace to go where the patrons know what the expectations are and people that don't like it would avoid it. I wish you the best of success with your restaurant, as it will be exactly what you want. Of Course you will have to complete with the McDonald's and Chuck E Cheese's restaurants for business. But best of luck and much success.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • dp

      You know what they want...they don't want other peoples' kids annoying them, but they want to be able to annoy everyone else. They want to be privileged. It is all about them being selfish.
      There was a table of two sets of parents and their kids and the kids kept getting up and leaving the table. There were several near misses with waiters with big trays of food, and you'd see the father catch this but not say a thing. Nothing. Not even told to get out of the aisle and sit back down in their seats.
      You know what kind of people they are, full of themselves.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  21. Chef Axxgrinder

    I love when restaurants do this, i know exactly where i can go for a quiet evening without having to worry if the kid crying at the next table is going to be taken outside til they calm down or if i'm gonna have to yell at the parent for not doing what they should be doing. Some parents out there are very respectful to everyone that is in these restaurants and take of a crying child immediately, then you have these parents who don't spank, discipline or even teach their kids how to act in public sitting next to you and you get fed up ask you server to box up your meal so you can reheat it at home. I understand how difficult it can be tending to a crying kid, but its not my kid and i won't deal with one sitting next to me and i will speak up if the parent isn't doing anything about it.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  22. Lindy

    Years ago I used to wait tables and every time a group would come in with kids we would beg the hostess to sit them in someone else's section. It wasn't just the yelling or screaming or running around but the mess. As a waitress you obviously are expecting to clean up after your customers but frequently kids would mash up biscuits all over the floor spill drinks and condiments all over the chairs and leave the whole area disgusting. Its just ridiculous that a parent would think that was in the normal expected scope of what we would clean up. If I go get hi-lights in my hair and I have short hair I pay one price if have long hair I pay more. Waiting on little kids is many times much more work with no more pay. If it were my kids and they made a huge mess I would tell them to clean it up or if they were too young I would clean it up. However if they were causing these types of problems to begin with maybe they should be at home.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Ragin Cajun

      Part of the charm of taking the kids out to eat somewhere was always knowing someone else would be cleaning up after them. All you parents out there know you do this! That said, I ALWAYS made it a point to leave a very generous tip (usually double the normal 15 to 20%) and make sure the wait staff got well compensated for the atrocities of my little ones. We would also do our dead level best to minimize the damage. And like many here have suggested, we always went someplace willing to deal with it (then would give them LOTS of repeat business then highly recommended them to others).

      March 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
      • Green Is Good

        Well said Ragin Cajun. I will happily be your waiter if come down my way.

        March 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  23. Liz B.

    As a parent of three, ages 8, 18 months and 6 weeks, I support restaurants creating restrictions or rules regarding children. My husband and I occasionally take our little family out to supper and spend a fair amount of time listening to other families' children throwing tantrums for 20 minutes or more. Unfortunately, parenting books these days tell us to never reprimand or use a harsh voice with, or (God forbid) spank our children as means of discipline, so now we have a generation of children being told "No, No, No! That's not very nice to do!" in a sing-song, lilting voice. By comparison, we issue a warning with a future consequence attached for our 8-year-old, and remove any children who begin throwing tantrums... straight outside, to the car. We value our dining experience and would never torment our fellow patrons. :P

    However, I would worry if this became an overwhelming trend. Our children aren't restaurant-friendly because of dining habits at home. Those who believe behavior at the dinner table reflects good behavior at an eatery either don't have children or are new to this. My children behave at restaurants, grocery stores, doctors' offices, and most public places because we don't keep them cloistered at home with Dora and mac 'n' cheese. Children learn from exposure, so I hope these limitations don't start invading the current "family friendly" , more upscale restaurants during dinner hours.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:44 am | Reply
    • gotacomment

      Liz B, I beg to differ. Your children behave in restaurants, stores, etc.precisely because they have been taught at home. You don't plunk them down in front of "Dora" with mac 'n' cheese. You may serve them mac 'n' cheese, but if they eat it properly in a restaurant, it's because you've trained and taught them at your table. Kudos to you for raising well-mannered children.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Reply
      • queentraveller

        Having been a nanny for about 15 years and worked with so many different families with different disciplinary tactics– I have to agree with Liz here. I've even worked with children who's behavior wasn't all that great at home, but perfect out– actually my current situation depicts that. The reason being that we spend most of our days out (mostly in child friendly places) and so we get to talk about how to behave when we're out, and the fact that we're sharing the space with other people.The kids are very aware of those around them and because of that they don't act a fool when we're out. They're not all that bad at home either, but they're more likely to throw a tantrum at home than elsewhere.

        December 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  24. ihavetowaitonyourbrattykids

    Why exactly does everyone think that this is a sufficient solution? I seriously doubt most restaurants want to spend thousands of extra dollars to create separate dining rooms for unruly children. Here's a novel idea build a room in your house where you can eat dinner. Oh yeah, i forgot they already have those, just can't be bothered to use them.

    February 25, 2012 at 1:58 am | Reply
  25. avalon

    oh boo hoo, i don't even have kids but i think you all need to find something real to whine about..

    February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  26. Mmeans

    If I walk into an adult restaurant, and I'm seated next to a child, I asked to be moved. If I cannot be moved, I leave. That being said, I don't go to "family restaurants". If I am going to pay $100+ for a meal, that last thing I want to deal with is a screaming, crying, child. Same thing with plane flights.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  27. Vashra Araeshkigal

    When my family and I go to dinner, I can see the concern in the other patrons eyes. "Oh no...three children, all under age 3. This will be a nightmare" they seem to say with their eyes.

    And then we sit down. The family is quiet. I move a few things on the table out of the reach of my 10 month old daughter, but the older two (18 months, twins) police themselves. Abi watches her siblings as they quietly toy with the silverware. I remove any steak knives, but leave everything else in place. My husband talks with us and sets out their sipping cups.

    Our meals arrive. The twins hand me whatever they were using to amuse themselves (sometimes we bring small non-noise-making toys) and I put them away. Everyone eats (the twins feed themselves, with or without silverware as they wish to practice), and I feed the baby bits of food at a time (never more than about five pieces, so she does not make a mess.) The children are not permitted to become loud, or to throw things, or become unruly and leave their chairs. When the meal is completed, I clean off the children's hands and faces (they eat neatly enough already not to need bibs in most cases). I then pick up any food that is on the floor because of the baby wanting to drop things. I do this whether I am wearing jeans and we are eating at a fast food place, or if I am in an evening gown and we are in a steak house. My children are my responsibility, it should not be left for the staff of the restaurant to clean up after them.

    People often come to the table to meet my children. They comment on their behavior and ask how old they are. I have honestly been asked twice "can she speak? is she deaf?" regarding my youngest because she simply does not make a fuss. My usual response is to turn to my daughter and say "Abi, will you say hello to the nice lady/gentleman please?" I should carry around a camera for the looks when she says "Hello." Now she is 10 months old, and hello is probably one of about 10 words that she knows in total, but she knows it and she speaks it upon request.

    Many children today make me very sad. I see them...three or even five years old and barely able to put together a sentence. By the time I was five I was fluent in two languages. I see first grade children who cannot tie their shoes or zip (ZIP!) their own coats. What has happened...it is so very sad.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • GM

      Be grateful that your children are able to speak at such a young age. As parents, we cannot be responsible for the speed at which our children develop their abilities. My son required speech therapy in his toddler years. We can be responsible for their behavior until they are able to exhibit some form of self-control. Let's just be careful not to pass judgement on children who can't speak or throw tantrums as "bad" parenting when you don't fully know the extent of what is going on. If a child has autism, does a tantrum equal bad parenting? No. Should the tantrum be dealt with? Yes.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
    • Eugène FRANK MD

      Ms. Vashra, having learned two languages as a toddler, now having well behaved, mature and well-manner kids, and being respectful o others in your vicinity at dinning, clearly places you in the socio-cultural milieu of European standards. Living in the States and in France, even the dogs nested beneath French tables are better mannered than American children: the level of violence in all American media, across the culture, NRA included, is a loss of societal respect and control. This lack of control cost us two futile wars, and thousands of American innocent youth and men killed, maimed physically and emotionally. The current Republican candidates for the highest office, offer the saddest display of mean spirited, hateful, denigrating dialogue that would not be tolerated in college debating. America, grow up! This adolescent, king-of-the-hill, macho stance is repugnant, repulsive, and the last two-term president set that as his standard for dealing with world. Shame.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
      • Seriously?

        You went from children in restaurants to...the NRA? And this then led you to war and finally back to your tattered, worn, pathetic it's-all-Bush's-fault "trump" card? What exactly do any of those have to do with the subject of the original article, being CHILDREN in RESTAURANTS? It's not even so much that your argument is flawed, as it is that you have no argument or followable train of thought. You lack critical thinking skills, and that is more worrisome for the country's future, than the vast-right-wing-conspiracy spooks that seem to follow you around every corner.

        February 25, 2012 at 3:13 am | Reply
      • SpeakIt!

        Pay no attention to your critics Eugene...I totally GET what you're sayin'! Also, I will not tolerate noisy kids close to me in a restaurant(not any f**king MORE)by demanding to be seated further away, or better, a DISCOUNT on my meal(if not FREE!).

        March 5, 2012 at 3:48 am | Reply
        • dan

          so glad you agree with the idiot,this is another critic for ya

          August 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  28. Hannah

    Here's what you do parents: get a babysitter until your kids can show you at the diner table how to sit still and eat in a timely manner. Then once they consistently do this then they can go out with you. If they act up while out then just say "It's going to be a looonnngg time before you're allowed out with us." Dining out is a reward not a right. Grow a backbone parents.

    February 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  29. Sara

    If my years as a teacher have taught me anything, it's this: Children will live up to the expectations set for them. If you teach your child how to behave in public, reinforce good behavior when they meet the expectations and follow through with consistent, logical and appropriate consequences when they fail to do so, they'll surprise you with how well they can behave.The problem is that many parents just can't be bothered because setting limits and consistently enforcing them is hard and takes some effort. The result is kids who behave like spoiled brats and parents who just can't seem to understand why.
    My sister-in-law has two boys in middle school–they're polite and well-mannered because she's set expectations and reinforced the behavior she wants to see from day one. Her friends always tell her how "lucky" she is that her kids are so well-behaved, like it just happened by magic. No, it's because she actually teaches her boys how to act, and their kids could be that well-behaved too if they would do the same. It's not that hard–just takes consistency and the willingness to follow through every time, whether it's convenient or not.

    February 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • CN Red

      Hear, hear, Sara!

      February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • Sara

      Oops....double comment. Is there a way to delete the duplicate?

      February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
      • CN Red@Sara

        Not that I'm aware of, but what the heck, it's worth reading twice. :)

        February 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
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