Etiquette

There is a time and place for everything.

Recently I was on a date at a restaurant with my hubby. It was a fairly nice place and we arrived for dinner around 8 o’clock. We were seated and instantly regretted where we were sitting – at the table next to us were two mothers with their four children who looked as though they were under six. I have no problem with parents wanting to enjoy an evening out with their children but this was just inappropriate. The children were jumping all over the booth, knocking things down, running around the aisles. One of the kids nearly ran into a server with their hands full of hot food! Where were their mothers?  Sitting at the booth enjoying their third martini (seeing as the other four empty glasses were still sitting on the table) seemingly ignorant to the ruckus their children were causing.

I understand people need to go out and have a good time with their friends. And I also understand that sometimes its hard to get a babysitter but pick a more appropriate time and place if you’re choosing to bring your children. Go to dinner at 5:30 or 6, instead of 8 when they should be in bed. Go to an age and food appropriate restaurant. Chances are if there isn’t a kids menu, kids shouldn’t be eating there. Its not fair to your kids and it sure as hell is not fair to the other patrons.

Oh, and another thing. Don’t bring your child into an inappropriately rated movie. Never mind that the movie is rated that way for a reason but most children cannot sit through a movie. I once sat through Avatar with a child (who was under one years old) screaming nearly the entire time. The parents? Sitting there, letting him cry it out. Yea, look, I’m paying to be here just as much as you are but I’m not choosing to have your child ruin my movie watching experience.

People need to understand that their lifestyles change after they have kids. You can do things like go out for dinner or go to the movies, you can even bring your children along, but make sure they’re behaving themselves. If you know they can’t, or if you aren’t sure, leave them at home. Want to take them to a movie? Bring them to Tangled where the target age is appropriate.

So, parents, remember there is a time and place for everything – including where to eat and what to watch with your children. If you didn’t expect your life to change after you had children you were mistaken. Act accordingly.

– Anonymous



  • -Anonymous

    Bravo!  It’s about time someone speaks out on what has been on (I am sure) alot of people’s minds.  Kids don’t belong everywhere, and anyone who says they do should realize that they are not the only people in the world.  There is alot to be said about being aware of your surroundings and sensitive to other people around you. 

  • mac

    Wow, life is too short, you should of changed seats if you were that upset. If your restaurant had booths, it was for families, I think you need to choose fine dinning next time. 

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I like to go a restaurant and not hear any children anywhere, if I know that it’s  more adult oriented and it’s later in the evening-especially if my husband and I made a point to make arrangements for a babysitter and wanted a night off from our own children.

  • Mom of 3

    I don’t love sitting next to children in restaurants who are misbehaving, especially if the parents do nothing about it.  I have gone to great lengths to teach my children to behave in restaurants so I don’t have to subject others to this kind of behaviour.  We started “restaurant manners” training at home at the dinner table, and out at kid friendly establishments.  Once we knew they were okay with their manners we then took them to other establishments.  And they are good whether it is 6 or 8.  However, if I was sitting next to a group like this I think I would have either chosen to ask the restaurant to move me instead of getting so worked up about it.  A lot of people spend more time and energy complaining about how other people’s kids behave than trying to improve the situation.  Prime example, if I see a mom struggling with unruly kids in the grocery store, instead of huffing and puffing and giving dirty looks, a simple sympathetic smile in her direction is sometimes all she needs to recollect herself, get her patience in check, and get the situation under control. 

  • guest

    I am a mother of two, ages 6 and 3, and we bring our kids to all kinds of restaurants from fine dining to casual. The one thing that is not negotiable is inappropriate behaviour! If my kids are acting out, one of us takes the child out while the other promptly pays the bill and packs up the food. I think this may have happened once and only once. Our kids experienced the consequence of their behaviour and it didn’t happen again. Another important thing to note is that we actually talk to our children and engage in a real conversation so they are not bored and restless. It’s our uninterrupted, quality time together. But we also know not to take our children out when they are too hungry, close to bedtime or had a long and unusually busy day.

  • Ageday

    As a Mother of 2 and a R.E.C.E. With my own private Childcare, I 100% Agree with your opinion.
    One has to ask themselves exactly how responsible are these mothers to put not only themselves and other adults but most importantly their children in these situations!
    Clearly children do not ask to be put into inappropriate circumstances, as a parent it is up to you, it is your job and responsibility to ensure the comfort, safety and security if your child as well as their physical and emotional wellbeing!
    It really does sicken me sometimes to think that out of all the things that have a mandatory course or lisence, parenting isn’t one… It is the Most important job anyone will ever have, it is a Decision that you make to put your child FIRST at all times… And if you need a break, as we All do from time to time, then it is your responsibility tofind a trusted Adult to take care of your children so that you can go out to dinner, the movies, for drinks, whatever in order to unwind, refresh/regroup fulfill yourneeds and then come back to be the PARENT that you are supposed to be.
    If you’re not prepared to commit to put someone else first at All times for a minimum of 20 Years, then Don’t Have Kids!!!

  • Cat

    I think this comment is a little unfair.  While I agree that the women instead of drinking should have been paying more attention to their children (my real concern is how they got home with their children after drinking 3 martini’s or more) Not everyone has control over their situation. I am single and don’t have a lot of money.  If my family (who are the only ones I would get to babysit at this time) Inivted me out to a family function at a nicer restaurant (of course they would have to pay)  your basically saying I should be banned from such events because I can afford nor trust just anyone to babysit my child. And if you are going with a group of people who says you have control over the time.  I am lucky and my family understands that my son is in bed at 7:30 so this normally isn’t a problem, but if it was an important event I would make an exception. I think every situation needs to be viewed on it’s own and while I agree that these ladies had no business taking their children out while they got drunk some of us just want to try and get out once and a while with friends or family to share in a meal.

  • Annoyed

    I sure wish all of you wouldn’t be so judgemental… What if these Moms just got some bad news and just needed to go out? What if one of them just got diagnosed with cancer and needed to be out with a friend and didn’t have a chance to find a babysitter? What if this was the one and only chance to see each other in the last 6 months?
    Get off your high horse – everybody parents differently and stop judging… 

  • Guest

    It’s a free country for a reason, Sister.  If you don’t like the atmosphere, go elsewhere.  If places don’t want the business from the mommies and daddies, they should put an age restriction on the patrons.
    While I tend to agree with you on this since I’m a responsible parent, your judgy tone and one-size-fits-all approach to life is yawn-worthy.  Crawl back into your box.

  • Linda

    I would be really sad if I were the child of the person who posted this blog.

  • LisaM

    “Go to dinner at 5:30 or 6, instead of 8 when they should be in bed.” Wow – how do YOU know when someone else’s kids should be in bed? My little guy (age still measured in months granted) has his last nap from 5 to 6:30 or 7 still and then goes to bed for the night around 9 pm until 5 or so in the morning. I’m not condoning the running around but I’m also not limiting myself to places with a children’s menu to please you. Move if you don’t like where you’re sitting. If you were disturbed in the movies tell the management, I’m sure they’d give you a refund.

    Interesting that you’ve posted this annonymously too…

  • Momof2

    Got bad news “and needed to go out?”  Because bad news can’t be discussed in someone’s home, or on the telephone?  Only chance to see each other in 6 months?  All weak excuses for selfish behaviour that put children in situations that are not appropriate for them.  Parenting is hard and involves sacrifices.  That means that you can’t go to all the places you went to before and if you do, as ageday and guest said, be prepared for it to be a teaching opportunity and, if things are not going well, to cut short your own enjoyment of the evening.  We routinely have to decline “fun” social events because we know they will not be “fun” with or for our toddlers.  As for family gatherings and single parents?  Maybe it’s your family who needs to be more considerate and hold gatherings in child-friendly locations and ideally, someone’s home, if they want to include you.  Otherwise, ensure your children are the model of good behaviour if you’re in an adult zone. 

    • Robinfraser

      I hope you don’t get hurt too badly when you fall from your very high horse…

  • Cat

    I like how most of the people that have negative things to say mostly post with with no name. To the person who said my family should be “more considerate”  Well they are, I can tell you that I have not been out to a family gathering since my son was born that wasn’t held at someone’s home and made to meet the routine of my son. But people do like to go out once and a while.  And then to finding a responsible adult to baby sit.  I get absolutely no assistance financially from anyone if my family wants to take me out and they are the only ones to babysit for free what should I do….miss out on celebrating say my mom’s birthday because people like you don’t really seem to like kids. I agree with the comment from Mac…this person didn’t say where they were dining but no fine dining restaurant that I have been to ever had booths. I should have to go to fast food restaurants which are more kid friendly then say Jack astors so as to not bother other patrons.  Way to get your kids addicted to fast food…..really smart. I agree that you should never put your kids in an inappropriate situation but come on they were in a restaurant not a bar!! For me drinking around your children is not appropriate but what if they were just having a meal.  Taking children out to a restaurant is an opportunity for them to learn and you to teach acceptable public behaviour.  I think one should do everything possible to keep their child in check but kids have bad days too. And for that matter some children are quieter and better behaved then some adults in restaurants

    • Danihofmann

      Seriously?  PEOPLE JUST BE PARENTS AND DISCIPLINE YOUR KIDS.  It’s not always easy, but they need your guidance – or they will grow up to be trouble makers.  These are the same people who blame society and teachers for their kids troubled behaviour as they grow up.  STOP being “friends” and do the hard part – be a parent.  Teach them yourself and don’t expect everyone else to do it for you.  They will know how much you love them for doing all that work.

      • Cat

           I’m not really sure what the seriously if for when generally I agree with what you’re saying and added that taking children out is a good way for you (and maybe I should have said you as a parent) to teach acceptable behaviour.  I don’t think myself or anyone else here implied in any way that trying to keep the kids in order is not the appropriate thing to do but you know what, stuff happens and sometimes there is an unruly kid or a meltdown.  That doesn’t mean that we should be banned from restaurants because we have kids and maybe can’t get childcare for whatever reason.  If you knew me you would know that I am all for discipline and generally agree with your views above, but also know that nobody is perfect and anybody who claims to have perfect kids is delusional. But I am curious….please share with me how you would discipline a generally good natured 8 month old who all of a sudden has a meltdown. Would you try and reason with someone who doesn’t have reasoning skills? Someone who has no idea that they are making a scene but only trying to communicate. No you would either try and calm the situation or get up and leave. If you actually read all the comments and my earlier comment the biggest problem here is someone is basically trying to tell every parent when their children should go to bed, where they should and should not take their children basically telling people (kind of like you) how they should raise their kids. Not every person’s situation is the same and before attacking them, even if not directly, stop and think that maybe they are doing the best they can. You don’t know what happens in their life

  • mom

    This person is very upset that it ruined her date with her husband.
    Please remember that this is a free country. I think it still is I hope.
    You ARE VERY JUDGEMENTAL and upset it seems.

    You can dine wherever a person decides to choose. A CHILD is also a person and  has a right to be there. How do you expect them to learn and behave in public is through trail and error. It might be right or wrong behaviour by the children and the adults but its still a learning process.

    If you didn’t like being seated at that table you are an ADULT ask to be seated somewhere else. Remember you are the ADULT again you can make those decisions.

    I think that in your mind you already knew how it was going to be played out and you kept yourself in that spot and got more angry as time went.

    JUDGEMENTAl again about the drinks.
    Did you smell it!!! how do you know it had alcohol in it??
    Maybe they asked for mocktails??? I don’t know but if the tables were reversed would you be so harsh.

    I also like (NOT) your quote ” There is a time and place for everything”
    GOODNESS WHO SET UP THE RULES  “YOU”
     
    In today’s fastpace society there is so much going on that trying to even be a family I think is very important. 
    These woman were trying to spend time not only with their kids but their friends.

    You too deserve to have a great night out with your husband but
    if you can clearly see that a situation is going to affect you and make you upset then why not just get up and ask to move and then enjoy the rest of you night. Instead you sat there like a docile person that you are and got
    angry over it and then at a later date decided to blog about it.

    You only wanted to see your point of view and make it through your eyes
    but where’s the other side. There is always another side.

  • Sandy_peach

    Wow, as a parent, I wouldn’t have my child out at a restaurant that late at night(unless unpreventable) and I wouldn’t be drinking or letting them run wild like that, it’s irresponsible and dangerous to allow children to behave like that.. I try to be a responsible parent so that every one around me enjoys their meal too. If my son misbehaved then I’d remove him from the situation out of respect for others….however I’ve been fortune with him so far…..Being a small business owner of a hair salon, I find it stressful on me when client’s kids are running around in the shop as there is too many ways they can’t hurt themselves, when I start mentioning replacement prices if things were to get broken, it’s amazing how quickly a parent will make their child behave then….just saying.

  • Ccousineau

    I’m not surprised this comment is “anonymous”. While I agree kids who don’t behave shouldn’t be taken to certain places at certain times, a well behaved child still has their moments. Not everyone has childcare, and while I agree they shouldnt be running in aisles, I don’t think it should be deemed inappropriate to go somewhere because you have children, even at 8pm, not everyone’s schedule is the same.

    Also, while I don’t think it’s fair to others to let your baby cry through an entire movie, I also don’t think a baby under one is going to harmed in any way by occasionally glancing at a movie like avatar. Encouraging a child under one to sit through a movie like tangled is probably worse for them as we all know from the plethora of research out there, tv watching to any extent is not great for children.

    While I agree in theory with most of the points, I think the generalizations can be dangerous and unfair to people. I only hope people will assess their own situations and make considerate, reasonable decisions.

    Christy

  • M_melnychuk

    The real issue should be the childrens behavior in such an establishment, not the fact that they were there. We take our kids to restaurants without high chairs or kids menus without any issues as they learn in these places how to behave accordingly.

  • rjdoghouse

    I’m a mom of two – 2 & 4 years old.  When in restaurants – with or without my husband or another adult, my kids stay in their seats.  It’s NOT appropriate for them to run around in a restaurant.  You pay for a meal at a table – and if they need to run around, pick McD’s with a playplace. 

    My kids aren’t perfect, either.  They get told what to do, given a warning (sometimes two) and that’s it – we go.  I would never stay in a restaurant if I couldn’t control them – it’s dangerous to the servers to let them run around, beyond rude to teh other patrons, and just plain embarrassing for me.

    We’ve been eating out with them since they were babies and for the most part they behave.  But if not, we’re outta there. 

    When I’m eating with my husband on a date night – infrequent as they are at this stage, I’d be really offended that others were not as respectful of the other people in the restaurant.

    I kind of agree with the comments – there is a time and place for everything – and I’d add there is a need to respect others, it’s not all about ‘me’ when we are out with our kids

  • Mom of 4

    WOW! After reading this thread I am very concerned that there are way too many parents who feel that their children should be able to behave in whatever way they wish no matter what the impact it has on other people.  It is this very teaching that leads children ro remain “stuck” in what is a completely normal egocentric stage of development for a 3-5 year old long past the point when they should be learning to realize and learn to respect the appropriate wants and needs of others around them.   Your child may want to run and scream in a restaurant, and that may not bother you, but that does not mean it is appropriate and failure to teach your children appropriate behaviour in given situations is only setting them up to remain egocentric long past the point that it is developmentally appropriate for them to remain so.  As parents it is our job to teach our children. Period.  Do we always do it perfectly?  I sure as heck don’t but I hope that I try and don’t just offer up the apethetic “kids are kids oh well”.

    • mom

      I think that most parent are responsible and try to teach their children good behaviour from bad.
      Nobody wants their kids acting out like that but they are kids and they are YOUNG and they are not PERFECT and neither are we.
       
      FIRST, these women were already seated with their children for a some time if she mentioned that they have had a few drinks. 
      They were in a family restaurant if they allow children. The hour was later and a lot of families due to schedules or lifestyles eat at different hours.

      The whole point is that its NONE OF HER BUSINESS!!!!

      She should have been thinking of spending QUALITY TIME with her husband. She wanted to have a date night with her husband. Well it seems to me that she ignored him and concentrated more on what was going around with the women and children.

      What if you were in the same situation and had settled in for an hour or so and the kids were behaving until someone sat close to you.
      You’re a good person (aren’t you?) and you’ve taught your children well but now they are tired and cranky and acting badly.
      What if your kids made you look bad what then?
      Would WE be thinking the same thing of YOU???

       
       
       
       

  • Robinfraser

    Essentially I do agree with you regarding appropriate vs inappropriate venues and times to bring your children along and I am personally very aware and considerate of where and when I choose to bring my child.  However, when faced with these situations I often try to remember I have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives and although my first instinct is to judge I try to dismiss these thoughts…often easier said then done!

  • Karina

    WOW! Impressive how easy it is to judge others. If you think you are absolutely right on your view, why do you post as anonymous?

  • samantha

    I totally couldn’t agree more! I have no one to watch my daughter so I often take her out with me, however I do not drink with her (inapropriate if your going to be driving in any way). She is also only 10 months so she isn’t running around yet, but I do have friends with children who have done that and it pains me not to say something! Certainly do I not go out at 8 that’s kids bedtimes! I certainly am already trying to teach my daughter proper manners and how to act in a restaraunt and a dinner table!

  • Katie Bosman

    Parents who let their kids act like that in public make people weary of any kids they see in a public place. I get looks already and my daughter is only 6 months old. They change their glares to smiles though when they realize that she is already fairly well behaved in public!

  • A.Smith

    Ugh – thank you for saying not to bring kids to inappropriate movies.  Is there really anything more uncomfortable?





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