I don’t go out to restaurants terribly often, so when I do, I really want to soak up the experience and unwind with some excellent food and good company.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen on my recent night out, and it’s all down to poor etiquette.
Last Friday night, I took my friend Linda out to dinner for her birthday. We had an early dinner reservation, so the restaurant was fairly empty.
That didn’t mean it was quiet, however. In one corner of the dining room sat 5 or 6 adults with a screaming little girl. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and was crawling all over the floor of the restaurant (yuck!), but her family was oblivious. Linda and I could barely hear each other talk.
I understand that not everyone can afford a babysitter, but that’s not an excuse to let your child act out or treat every public space like a playground. If you plan to take your child everywhere you go, please raise your child to be on their best behavior. And please mind your child so he or she doesn’t disrupt others. Tantrums happen, of course, but that’s your cue to take the child outside to cool off, not unleash them on strangers.
I believe it boils down to parenting. If you cannot raise your children to have good manners and to mind you in public, don’t take them out unless you are willing to leave when they start acting up. I have gone out with several of my friends who have children and don’t remember ever having a problem.
The key? Give your child something to keep him or her busy, such as a toy, smartphone, or an iPad. I would never recommend that an adult use a phone in a restaurant during a meal with other people because it is rude and uncivilized. But this exception is valid because it keeps your child quiet while you can enjoy a nice conversation with your guests and not ruin other people’s evenings.
I’ll never understand why some parents ignore their screaming babies in restaurants (or worse, cinemas) and therefore ruin the experience for others? Don’t they understand that the rest of us do not want to endure the sound of screeching? This is so rude. I am paying good money for a nice meal at the end of a long day and no one wants to put up with someone else’s responsibility. I can’t imagine it’s much fun for Mom and Dad either.