I feel very lucky that 95% of the time, none of this is even an issue for us. With my group of friends we have unitentionally sort of evolved into a group parenting style when we are all together. There is this sort of unwritten set of rules that we just fell into. It is really nice. BTW, my oldest is 3 3/4 and it is him that I occasionally corral -- very occasionally. My concern for the feelings of other kids comes from my experince posted on another thread titled "gentle disipline or total lack of authority." This is a portion of my post...
"This same dad uses my older ds as a scapegoat when we are out. My ds knows the rules and is good about following them. For example, our mall has an indoor play area that is round and surrounded by soft, highback benches that encircle the perimeter. I don't let my ds run in a circle on the benches. People sit there, and I hate it when I sit down only to find a muddy foot print now transfered to my a**. Instead of telling his kids to get off of the benches, he will tell them, that they have to get off the benches because Christian's mommy won't let him play on the seats, and we don't want Christian to get in trouble and have to leave. It's important to note that my child is never standing on the seats when this happens. I find it awful to use a child as an easy way out for him. I don't want him to turn my child into the fun killer, and have the other kids dislike him for it when the fact is that he has no other way to get his kids to do what he wants. Arrrr!!"
I know how it makes my son feel when this happens. He knows the rules and desperately wants to run with the rest of them, but he doesn't. It hurts him when he has to watch the other kids breaking the rules and can't join in. I hate to see someone else's child sad because my kid is running wild. I'm not talking about things like letting my ds play with the salt and pepper shakers, I'm talking about things like letting him run around in a restaurant where he could knock over a waitress.
I must admit that, again, due to my empathy for the other kids, I would try to talk my ds into waiting to open his toy at McD's until everyone was done eating. Partly because I would feel bad for the other kids who would have to watch him, and partly because I don't allow toys at the dinner table while we are eating.
Perhaps I am too empathetic, but I remember far too much of my insecure childhood.