No side order of brat please


Restaurants are finally taking charge and taking badly behaved kids off their menus.
And it’s about time. Some venues are going a step further and banning children altogether. More power to them.

You see, not everyone agrees children should be allowed everywhere adults are, nor does everyone agree that children have more rights than adults. For example, if I chose to run around a restaurant squealing, or threw myself on the floor wailing, or indeed kept bumping the chairs of other diners, I’m pretty sure I’d be asked to leave. I’m also guessing the police would be called if I refused. Why then is it acceptable for children to behave like that?

I’m certainly not a wowser and I believe children should be taken out to dinner, but only if they behave. If they don’t, call the babysitter. My teen has frequented restaurants since she was three days old when we stopped for a bite on the way home from the hospital. Throughout her toddler years she ate out often, but only in child-friendly venues, never adult bars, nor fine dining establishments – they’re for grown ups. She was always on a tight leash, and the outing was less for her entertainment and more for her to learn how to behave. The old “seen but not heard” approach worked for me.

However, in a society where parents are stupefied to the eyeballs from happy clappy parenting books, brats are ruling far too often. We’re constantly told to “LUUURVE” our children. Not rocket science, but we are supposed to “LUUURVE” our children to the point where saying NO! is seen as a negative no, no.

Don’t smack! Don’t shout! Talk to them and negotiate (yeah right, like that works in the middle of a restaurant when Miss Two is flat on her back throwing a wobbly). Don’t isolate, don’t exclude (particularly when they’re behaving badly because that’s when they need your understanding the most), stimulate them constantly with games, computers and videos (heaven forbid they might become bored and be forced to amuse themselves), and don’t let them lose, (that might make them feel bad or sad, and we definitely can’t have that!). Overload them instead with constant praise and a false sense of importance so they believe they can do anything and everything (even when they can’t).

It’s no wonder children erupt when another adult says NO! to them. When all of a sudden they’re expected to behave in restaurants as in the “sit at the table, no screaming, running, nor horseplay” kind of behaviour, the rules in force for children at Borruso’s Pizza and Pasta in Sydney.

I have to admit though I’m as confused as the children, not by the rules implemented by the pizza restaurant, but by the reaction from parents who don’t think they should apply. One indignant parent found the tone to be “intimidating” and “unsuitable” asking children “not to behave like children”.

Not all people think your children are as cute and as adorable as
you do, and although this may come as a dreadful shock, some people may even think your children are a pain in the neck. And you know what? Sometimes they are… my child included. And when they are being a pain, and they are in public, it’s not the job of other adults to smile benignly and tolerate their bad behaviour, it’s your job to rein them in. And if you can’t be bothered, take them to a joint like MacDonalds where other people’s kids can drive you nuts as well.

When I go to a restaurant I don’t want a side order of brats, nor a serving of indignation from precious parents. I want to enjoy a meal and conversation around the table, both with my friends and our children.

Time out with the kids does not mean time out for the parents.

Are you sick of children behaving badly in restaurants? Or perhaps you find it outrageous that some restaurants are banning children? Let’s discuss.

Cartoon by Buddy Ross.

This entry was posted in LET'S DISCUSS, PARENTING. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to No side order of brat please

  1. kickerkim says:

    Hi Wendy, great write up as always!
    Kim (of north side courier fame) x

  2. Laura says:

    Wendy, I agree with you 100%. As a non parent I find this level of “tolerance” madness. I am pleased to say that, recently I was at a cafe restaurant in Parramatta and was able to enjoy my lunch while surrounded by tables of well behaved children dining with their parents. The kids had colouring books supplied by the restaurant and they were having fun and helping each other with the puzzles in the book. They sat still and knew that all their parents had to do was look in their direction if they were seen misbehaving. It is possible! Thank you to parents who teach their kids proper manners.

    • wendyannkay says:

      Absolutely Laura. It amazes me though how narky some parents get if they are held accountable for their children’s bad behaviour. They just think their children are entitled to rule wherever they go!

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