Many times in the past months I have had business meetings at Mimi’s, a local restaurant I frequent because of their quiet and calm atmosphere. Not so lately. My meetings have been interrupted by toddlers who are yelling, screaming, crying and/or banging the utensils on the table. Of course, I can’t leave out the little ones who run around the restaurant like it was a racetrack.
I watch as parents either ignore their little offsprings or take them out to the lobby of the restaurant for a few minutes, only to return to the table and have a repeat occurrence. I have often wondered what parents promise or threaten their kids in these situations.
Yes, I have been vigilant in asking to be seated in a quiet area with no kids, but that only lasts until a hostess seats new people near me. I thought of carrying ear plugs but that wouldn’t work in a business meeting because I don’t read lips.
I wonder what parents are thinking when they would like to “go out to eat,” so I have listed a few choices to make my experience better as well as theirs.
*Teach your children manners at home, not at the restaurant. They should have been trained before they were brought to an eating establishment. Don’t let them scream or bang utensils at home and then expect them to be perfect little angels in public.
*Invite friends and family to your house for breakfast or lunch so your children can practice eating with others. It is an acquired talent.
*If you frequent McDonald’s or Chucky Cheese and let your children run around, that’s ok. Those restaurants cater to children, but don’t expect a miracle when you bring them in to a “grown-up” atmosphere.
*Get a babysitter and give yourself a break. Parents look forward to having a meal with some peace and quiet. Eating cold food becomes typical when you have small ones, so treat yourself to an enjoyable dining experience and let others enjoy it as well.
Yes, I am a parent and had 2 little well-mannered children who ate in restaurants at a very early age. Maybe this is why I am getting a little impatient lately with the lack of discipline I see in some young families.
I could suggest my business meetings take place at Happy Hour, and just hope that we are not interrupted by adults screaming, yelling and banging their beer bottles.
As one of those who has been with you while children squawk and scream, I agree entirely.
I think, as I believe you do, that it really comes down to the most simple of issues – manners. And not just those of children who so frequently will act up to the boundaries that have (or have not) been set for them.
Children (and as will naturally follow) adolescents, young adults – and so on, are a product of their environment. Today we see parents allowing the television (or computer) to act as a surrogate parent and we know what kind of trash they can find there.
I spend a great deal of time travelling. It involves flying, eating in restaurants and a variety of other activities which put me in tangential contact with children and their parents. When kids are acting up, I look beyond them at the parents that are raising them. All too often, the parents are no more civil than their kids. They may not be screaming and acting up in such notable ways, but frequently they are talking with their mouth’s full, dressed in a manner which most adults should not be seen in public and are generally behaving in a manner that does not befit the environment.
The nut does not fall terribly far from the tree.
Of course, there are always those parents who so obviously think that the tantrum being exhibited by little Susie or Johnny is just adorable and that everyone around them should appreciate how these next Harvard grads are learning to express themselves.
Parents, get a grip!
parents need to be trained too!