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What should one do when a screaming child is in your space?


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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/06/diners-note-screaming-kid-ruined-our-meal/73454406/

 

Two diners were annoyed by a child screaming at the table next to them and left the parents a note saying their child's screaming had ruined their dinner. The mother said they should have handled it differently. How?

 

My husb asked me to go out to dinner with him at a pricey restaurant one Sunday, after meeting. As it turned out, it was 'Easter' Sunday and the elongated table next to us had several children running around with peeps and candy. The adults at the "big" table did not utter a single syllable to ask the children to be seated or to be quiet. Our small table was in a corner and totally over-volumed by the running, screaming children. I quickly developed a headache which precluded conversation and/or eating. We asked to be moved and the server said, "Yeah, Wow, they sure are noisy." I noticed that the big table kept ordering rounds of alcoholic beverages, while the kids kept running circles around the table and yelling. I wish we had thought to leave a note informing the big party that they had, in fact, ruined our meal. We seldom go to expensive restaurants and that was our first and last time to patronize this establishment. Personally, I would have liked to walk out since the behavior was extremely disturbing in a public venue. It truly did ruin our dinner. I always thought my husb was overly strict with our boys, but we did always get unsolicited compliments on their behavior wherever we went (department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, other.) One time my oldest son, aged one and a half, pulled a tantrum in a dept store (I also had an infant son.) I dropped everything and dragged my crying toddler out of the mall.  He never tried it again.Re: the restaurant experience - Should I have left, left a note, or brought my food out (which I did)? Of course, we doubled the server's tip for being kind enough to move us. 

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We have the other side of this to deal with. We have a 13 month old granddaughter with a really loud screech and I have a father-in-law who is 81.

We try to have family dinner every other Friday night

The problem is that my father-in-law came from a time that viewed discipline with a belt or other suitable device

We did not ascribe to the belt and beating, but, we did use discipline when needed, even if it required a swat

In today's society, neither approach is allowed. People want the noise to stop but they don't want you to do anything to make it stop

This drives my father-in-law crazy

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We have the other side of this to deal with. We have a 13 month old granddaughter with a really loud screech and I have a father-in-law who is 81.

We try to have family dinner every other Friday night

The problem is that my father-in-law came from a time that viewed discipline with a belt or other suitable device

We did not ascribe to the belt and beating, but, we did use discipline when needed, even if it required a swat

In today's society, neither approach is allowed. People want the noise to stop but they don't want you to do anything to make it stop

This drives my father-in-law crazy

Family dinner, yes. Ruining the experience in an upscale public restaurant, (which may be a once in a lifetime event for us low-lifes,)- Hmm, maybe not. Notice, the article says they gave the family of the screamer the free dinner, not the disturbed diners, because the family of the uproarious child complained to the manager for receiving a note regarding their child's screaming. I didn't take my babies out to a public restaurant until they knew how to behave in public. We always got good info from our mags to practice, with our children, being quiet and compliant for ten minutes at a time, until they were able to extend their concentration spans.   WooHoo, congrats on having a one year old toddler. It must be exciting.  Just a thought. YS,pauline

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I would have:

1- asked for my food to go and waited by the door

2- while waiting asked to speak to the manager because it's their job to maintain a certain decorum at any establishment

3- Let the manager know that there are forums where the dining experience is documented for all to see and would he like bad reviews by all the people there that night. I haven't but lots of people do.

 

The rowdy kid syndrome isn't unique, it's irritatingly common. I rarely eat out, when I do invariably a family with a dozen kids sits near. If the children are well behaved I generally very quietly whisper a compliment to the parents as I leave, it makes them feel good and reinforces what they're doing. (Have to say it embarrasses MH but a compliment goes a long way, so I will keep doing it)


Edited by bagwell1987
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I would have:

1- asked for my food to go and waited by the door

2- while waiting asked to speak to the manager because it's their job to maintain a certain decorum at any establishment

3- Let the manager know that there are forums where the dining experience is documented for all to see and would he like bad reviews by all the people there that night. I haven't but lots of people do.

 

This is sound advice. It is a no-go in some countries to directly approach kids to educate them. In Germany, I do this frequently and ignore the parents. In this case, they mostly get a grip on their kids out of pure embarassment. I did this in Croatia once though to a kid who was pointing a green laser in people's eyes and his dad got up in my face.

 

When speaking to parents, I would expect similar hostility or mostly half-baked attempts to control the situation.

 

Fact is that it is the job of a restaurant staff to make your dining experience a pleasurable one. If that means expecting patrons to get their kids under control, that's perfectly fine, even if it means asking them to pay up and leave immediately.

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I would try and remember that as we get old and intolerant children being children can irritate us more than it should. So first things first would be are they really as bad as we think or is it me being an old grump.

I have older boys in their twenties and two young boys 4 and 6, brought up the same way and I can assure you that the younger ones are hard work and I certainly don't take kindly to " in my day" type comments that have no relevance in many cases and forget that the world is different today than even twenty years ago.

Short of locking them away, they will be infected to some degree Unfortunatley by this sick world.

However that does not excuse bad behaviour in any way. Just a reminder that our tollerence levels change as well especially when you no longer have little ones at home so noise may be exaggerated in your mind.

There was a time being pregnant meant you were hidden away until society could deal with you as well. So to say that babies should not be taken out is just the same. Hide them away until others can deal with it. Nope.

One final thing, remember the recent October broadcast. Some children may look fine but have underlying issues that the parents have to deal with all the time. Nothing worse than someone insisting on their rights without checking to make sure that it is really a bad situation and not them being over sensitive. Some of you must live in safe places if you think you can approach bad parents with no consequences. Lol. :) Here you would likely be in A&E for the rest of the day.


Edited by Mykyl
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I can't edit that last post so in addition.

That looks like I'm saying you should just deal with it. That is not what I mean.

It really is bad nowadays with some parents not bothering about those around them. I am not saying even most situations are you being over sensitive but to be careful in case at times it is you.

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It really is bad nowadays with some parents not bothering about those around them.

 

Quite possibly, some tolerance and understanding is in order. More often than not, it's the kids that are out of control. I am the last person to say children should be seen, not heard.

 

But "back in the day" when we were four or five, and we played, you would hear us cheer and laugh and giggle. When the kids in my neighborhood that age gang up, they will literally yell and shout and scream for hours. A family that lives three flats above us has kids that ALWAYS start crying in the stairwell (they picked it up as babies wanting to be carried up and at some point, the parents stopped carrying them, but they won't tell their kids to shut up) It's horrible when your at home trying to get some rest.

 

Same goes for the Croatian kid who was blinding people with his laser pointer. This is totally unacceptable.

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That is a tough situation. I don't know what I would have done - probably asked to speak to the manager (away from the tables) and voice my concerns.

 

I have had the opposite once, when a family with three young children was having dinner at a table nearby. They were respectful to each other and their parents, seemed to be enjoying themselves, and just brought a smile to my face. Although I am very shy and introverted, on our way out I told the mom what a great impression her kids made!

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Texas Roadhouse. The restaurant they were at in the article..

I should have said TR or Texas Roadhouse..

It is so usually so noisy in TRH, I am surprised they heard a child cry.  I am at 'that age' myself, w/crying children.  My heart goes out to some parents.  We  have ONE child in our cong and it was TOUGH getting used to hearing 'that noise' again.  Her parents have done a wonderful job w/her and she is a perfect lady now.....smart as a whip, in the first grade, and a true pioneer like her mom.  She is a 'congregation child' and we are so proud of her.  

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I would try and remember that as we get old and intolerant children being children can irritate us more than it should. So first things first would be are they really as bad as we think or is it me being an old grump.

I have older boys in their twenties and two young boys 4 and 6, brought up the same way and I can assure you that the younger ones are hard work and I certainly don't take kindly to " in my day" type comments that have no relevance in many cases and forget that the world is different today than even twenty years ago.

Short of locking them away, they will be infected to some degree Unfortunatley by this sick world.q

However that does not excuse bad behaviour in any way. Just a reminder that our tollerence levels change as well especially when you no longer have little ones at home so noise may be exaggerated in your mind.

There was a time being pregnant meant you were hidden away until society could deal with you as well. So to say that babies should not be taken out is just the same. Hide them away until others can deal with it. Nope.

One final thing, remember the recent October broadcast. Some children may look fine but have underlying issues that the parents have to deal with all the time. Nothing worse than someone insisting on their rights without checking to make sure that it is really a bad situation and not them being over sensitive. Some of you must live in safe places if you think you can approach bad parents with no consequences. Lol. :) Here you would likely be in A&E for the rest of the day.

Of course, I was aware of the surroundings. I, myself, was still working in a restaurant when I was about 50. Personally, I would have not chosen to go out on an Easter Day, but husb has the say, I acquiesce. We have a late afternoon meeting, so this meal was evening dinner. The parking lot was behind the restaurant, and as we walked around, we could see that there was a huge dining room, with large windows.  When we went inside, there was a sign "Wait to be seated." We waited quite a long time. Finally, someone appeared and did not take us to the large dining room. Evidently, it had been used for the Easter Day Meal, and the staff was now cleaning it. A few patrons were still straggling out. We were led through a narrow bar with people on the barstools, drinking, and off to the corner of this was a very small room -dark and with few windows. The large table of about 14 adults and several children took up most of the room. There was a small table for two in the corner, at which we were seated. Since most of the staff was attending to the main dining room, there was one young lady to serve this room, including those who chose to dine at the bar. It looked like the adults at the large table had finished food, but were still ordering rounds of libations. The children were literally running around and around this large banquet sized table and yelling, and eating yellow marshmallow candies and chocolates. They seemed to be armed with quite a candy supply on their table. Not sure who provided it. We waited an extended time for our order to be taken and even longer for it to be served. If I had my druthers, I would have left, but, headship, you know. This is the fanciest, most upscale restaurant around, and not known as a family eatery. (Yes, I worked for many years as a server, host(ess), bartender,and trained many in the hospitality industry. My husband owned an establishment, but not as fancy as this one.) Never once did I hear any adult ask the children to slow down, sit down, or quiet down. Even after the server moved us, we were still a few feet from the big table, as the room was small. When the server moved us, she said, "I'm sorry those kids are so noisy." We got out of there as quickly as possible and the big table was still there.  I am not easily irritated by children, but this was clearly misbehavior in a public place of fine dining. I am not a bit bothered by children crying at Kindgom Hall, and have an energetic three year old boy who is out in service with his mother and myself every Thursday. He also comes to my home to read and count. Another three year old boy from our cong is starting to come visit to 'do letters and numbers" with me, as well. I have afternoon pizza-Karaoke-dance parties for all ages at my place, and the guests are quite active. I would not expect them to behave the same way at a fine-dining restaurant. So, is it your opinion that if your two small boys were running around a restaurant table while yelling, that you would not try to quite them down in any way? And if you did have this running and shouting behavior and noticed a server had to move other diners, would you not realize that the boisterousness was bothering others? Just a thought. YS,pauline. 

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Do you honestly think I would allow my children to tear around like that. :) Absolutely not. However like I pointed out they are completely different to my older boys and yes I have to constantly remind them to walk, to quieten down etc all the time. Very tiring but I would not let them away with it. Yet another compete change to my older boys.

Like I mentioned I am in no way excusing bad behaviour and i hoped you would have seen that I said that.


Edited by Mykyl
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Yeah, it was a bad situation. I didn't see any one suggest a good thing to do.

 

To PRAY.

 

When your prayer gets to Jehovah, will he help? We would hope so, and we know that he helps.

Think of how the prayer would lead to a witness.

 

Especially if the raucous kids calmed down! 

 

At the Kingdom Hall kids may start to cry, interrupting the meeting. I usually will silently pray and amazingly Jehovah

may calm down the little one.

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I would have asked the parents if they could do something with their children as they are disturbing the rest in the restaurant. Some times parent shave just tuned their bratty children out and don't even notice them. It is is a sad situation if you think about it.

 

If they do nothing I speak with the manager.

 

If they do nothing - I leave.


Edited by trottigy
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My experience has been that parents who allow their children to run wild like that would not be moved to correct their actions by a note but would instead find it a reason to be offended and act out themselves (where do you think the kids learned it?).

I just chalk it up to a bad experience and move on.

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Most of the time I ignore things like this.  I tune it out.  Most of the time I'm pretty good at that.  However, my husband is not.  He hates screaming children, even a happy squeal grates on his nerves.  I have my 9 month old grandson who I am already training to hush when necessary.  

 

I can see why it would have ruined your evening though, especially when there is precious little money for these things, or it is as rare treat.  I would have then spoken to the manager and commented on how it had ruined my meal, and my experience at the restaurant.  I wouldn't have eaten the meal, and would have gotten up to leave.

 

I actually did this once before when a restaurant refused to let me bring a cup of coffee into the establishment, I said to my husband well it looks like I won't be ordering breakfast here.  I left a $2 tip on the table for their 'time'......... and walked out.

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