Am I becoming "that parent"???? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would it bother you to see a parent with a coffee cup following a laughing running toddler (20m) around a restaurant? We get him to sit as much as possible, (he "must" sit while we're actually eating) but we take turns following him around while we're waiting for the meal to come, between courses, or when waiting for the bill. People mostly seem to smile but I worry that we might be disturbing people.
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#2 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 02:41 PM
 
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I worked in restaurants for years, and the issue I had was that I would be very busy running around and I wouldn't see the child until too late. Hands full of hot things... as long as your dc isn't in danger or putting someone else in danger, I wouldn't worry
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#3 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 02:52 PM
 
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Not to be mean, but I think it's rude- unless you're at a really kid friendly family restaurant with a lot of kids in it.
If it's too hard for him to sit and wait, maybe getting up with him and taking him outside could work.
What did when my kids were little, was call ahead with our order (even if we were eating in) so there would be very little "wait time" to sit through.
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#4 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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Children running around in restaurants is so dangerous for both the child and the wait staff and disturbing to the other guests. If he refuses to sit, please, please, please take him outside or to the lobby, if the restaurant has one.
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#5 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 03:42 PM
 
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I would rather he be running and laughing than sitting and whining/screaming. And I'm sure you're smart about it and don't let him run where the wait staff are trying to carry trays.

When I'm with wiggly kids at restaurants, I often take them to an empty/closed section of the restaurant to run. Or outside is a good option as well.

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#6 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 03:52 PM
 
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Honestly, take him outside or play in the car until the food comes, order ahead or get takeout. I have 2 young children and I hate to see kids running around a resturant. Remember that the other patrons are paying good money to be there and eat their food and they may not want to be part of your childs entertainment.

Others have already touched on the danger issue, I've seen trays of food/glassware go over just because it happens, they don't need little children running around.

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#7 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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I'm also in the 'this is dangerous and not fair to others' mode. We took our littles back out to the sidewalk if they were that antsy and gave each other a signal to come back inside when the food was served.
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#8 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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I think it's potentially dangerous too. There are sharp and hot things being carried around restaurants, and toddlers are small enough to get underfoot (as we all know).

We used to take turns out in the lobby with dd when she was wanting to move around. Plus, there was a period of time where we mainly just got take-out.
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#9 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
Children running around in restaurants is so dangerous for both the child and the wait staff and disturbing to the other guests. If he refuses to sit, please, please, please take him outside or to the lobby, if the restaurant has one.
I have been a waitress on and off for.....ummmmm....a long time. I would be so afraid of spilling food on your son! Please take him to the lobby.

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#10 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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dd is usually good, and will st for a looooong time with crayons and paper, water, fruit, but if she gets restless dh takes her outside. Same with ds. I think it is dangerous, rude, and not the proper place for play activity.That said, we made sure dd knew we sit in resturaunts from an early age. No forcefully, just reminding each time she wantd to run around and not letting her or taking her outside.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#11 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:51 PM
 
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we also make sure to get crayons, water and fruit from the waitsatff early on.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#12 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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Depends on the restuarant, honestly.

I have a diner in town that my boys and I frequent. All the waitresses know us & my two yr old walks/runs around the circle (the diner is a round setup, with the counter in the center), none of the waitresses mind nor do the regulars.
Sometimes there are grumpy old ladies and strangers who give a weird look or an evil eye (or at worst, make snide comments...), but they are also the SAME ones who shoot me dirty looks and make nasty comments if my 2 yr old is crying and hollaring because I WON'T let him down to run/walk. There is *nowhere* outside to take him, either - the diner is right off of the main highway through town and there is no safe place to stand, no less walk. There is no lobby and the diner is usually pretty quiet, so there is little chance of any "accidents" by dropping trays. Either my older son or I is always right there with the little one and he never approaches other diners, he just walks around and around and around, giggling.
I'd rather have him walking and giggling then stuck in the booth, fighting with me and his brother, crying hysterically. Any GOL or strangers who have such a major problem with it can either get over it or leave. It's *my* hometown diner, where I spend my money every other week, know the waitresses (actually, "our" waitress even came to T's baptism party) and it is a "Family Diner"... that means kids. Kids are not silent little beings who sit nicely and eat quietly (well, unless you live in Stepford...). If one goes to a "Family Diner" then one should expect children and child like behaviors (including giggling, walking around, running and even crying at times).
You know, in the years I've been going there, I've never actually had a problem with strangers - just 2 or 3 little grumpy as hell old ladies.... I wonder about that. Do they forget what little kids are like? Do they still believe that old adage that children should be seen, but not heard? It is a family diner, after all - not a hoity-toity "restaurante".
I mean, this is a place that removes the ketchup and sugar and puts in plastic ashtrays in after 9pm on Friday and Saturday nights, so that when the drunks come in, they can't do any real damage, so... a wandering tot during the daytime shoudln't rile feathers.
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#13 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 05:15 PM
 
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Yes, it would bother me. I agree with what others have said about safety, etc. There is a regular adult restaurant here in town that gets overtaken by the tot set during lunch and weekends. I now avoid it like the plague because of all the kids running around, squirming on the floor, bouncing on the booths, and talking to patrons behind them. Drives me insane, even though it generally seems to be understood that this is how the restaurant works. I personally choose not to put myself and dd in that environment.
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#14 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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Personally it wouldn't bother me or my dh for that matter. I always enjoy it when little toddlers/kids come up for a chat or a smile and it's also free entertainment for MY 19 month old! I do agree that it could be dangerous though if the place was really crowded or busy.
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#15 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 05:51 PM
 
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LOL... we may RUN INTO each other while chasing our little guys around sometime! We do the same thing. People ARE indeed annoyed... we just pretend they are not knowing all the while that they'd be REALLY annoyed if it was a screaming unhappy toddler we were trying to chase around. And HEY it's a free country- toddlers need to socialize too! If the restraunt staff hates us- then we don't go back! lol
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#16 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 05:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leilalu
dd is usually good, and will st for a looooong time with crayons and paper, water, fruit, but if she gets restless dh takes her outside. Same with ds. I think it is dangerous, rude, and not the proper place for play activity.That said, we made sure dd knew we sit in resturaunts from an early age. No forcefully, just reminding each time she wantd to run around and not letting her or taking her outside.

That's great that you do not have a high needs toddler! Unfortunatly WE DO! And up until just the last few weeks if WE wanted to go out to dinner HE had to come to and it's just not fare for us to NOT go out EVER in TWO YEARS... so chase him around is what we did. He's now doing really well staying with his Gram or his Great Gram or Grandpa so we can have a "run free" dinner every once in a while.
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#17 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 05:58 PM
 
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doesnt bother us. i am sure you are being observant and keeping your child safe. there is a difference between going with your child to explore his surroundings and letting him loose.

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#18 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 06:05 PM
 
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it bothers me, to be honest.

the whole "better running around happy then sitting down screaming" doesn't make sense to me- how about neither? Obviously if I go to a very child-oriented place I fully expect to see both, but out to eat? no. And while it's excellent that he sits during the meal, it's sort of teaching him that restaurants are an okay place to run around in when he's allowed to do so while not eating.

normally I wouldn't say anything, but hey, you asked! lol

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#19 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 06:24 PM
 
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there is a difference between going with your child to explore his surroundings and letting him loose.
I think this is the key. Hey, if mom is trailing the toddler around, making sure he's not in danger or people's way, then that is cool. I think what a lot of people are reacting to is the tendency of some parents to just let their kids loose all over the restaurant so that they (the parents) can sit and enjoy their meal. But that is not what the OP was talking about at all!

It's hard work taking a toddler to a restaurant, but I think it's a good idea. They will gradually learn how to behave, and eventually you'll have a civilized little dining companion. But if you stay home until they are five, they may not learn.

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the whole "better running around happy then sitting down screaming" doesn't make sense to me- how about neither? Obviously if I go to a very child-oriented place I fully expect to see both, but out to eat? no.
Well, I guess I assume that 20 month old children will either be active or cranky. If you are very lucky, they will sit quietly at the table, but there's not a lot you can do to control their behavior - you can only make sure that they are safe and as non-disruptive as possible. I mean, you can try to help them sit quietly by providing plenty of snacks and table activities, but for a lot of kids, these things will only work for so long at that age (we are talking about a not-even-two-year-old here).

And short of fine dining experiences (which I rarely go to because of $$$), I expect to see kids at restaurants. I guess I'm thinking Applebees/Red Robin's/the local Mexican place/pizza place situations, since that's the type of place we typically go when eating out. I know that busy families like/need to eat out at casual dining restaurants as much as I do.

I don't have kids yet - shouldn't I be the one who is suppopsed to glare and mutter "my child will NEVER act like that!"? :LOL

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#20 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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I do not expect my 3-year-old to sit still at the table that long. We always ask for a table far away from everything and let him run around, as long as he is safe and it doesn't get out of control. It doesn't matter how many toys we bring, he burns through them in two seconds and then needs to move.

Of course, we live in Italy where people adore children and they expect the kids to run around. It will be different when we move to the States I am sure.

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#21 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 06:39 PM
 
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It's not that I don't understand child behavior. I truly 100% believe it's unrealistic- and pretty unfair- to expect a toddler to sit down and be quiet for an extended period of time. I'm not saying it's the parent's or kid's fault that they're not just sitting there like a doll. I'm saying that knowing the child's limitations, they should be brought outside or to a closed off area to run around, or if the parents don't want to have to do that, then don't go somewhere that isn't child oriented. Even if mom is trailing right behind the toddler, the toddler is still running around, and that still bothers me, because I'm trying to have a conversation and eat my meal and while I ADORE kids, I just don't want to deal with them when I'm paying to have a meal made for me so I can sit and enjoy it.

I fully expect to see and hear kids of all ages at family restaurants. And as long as they're not coming up to my table, or leaning over the booth, or screaming full blast, I don't care- it's when I'm at a place that's NOT a family restaurant that it would bother me.

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#22 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 06:46 PM
 
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spatulagirl- there you have it! its the us where this is such an issue.

as long as the child isnt endangering anyone, i don't see why people are so uptight about it.

for example, sometimes when i go out there are ugly people sitting next to me, and i don't see why i have to "deal" with them when i have paid good money and blah blah blah...

how is this any different? children are (magically) children, and they are equal members of society.

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#23 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 07:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tabitha
spatulagirl- there you have it! its the us where this is such an issue.

as long as the child isnt endangering anyone, i don't see why people are so uptight about it.

for example, sometimes when i go out there are ugly people sitting next to me, and i don't see why i have to "deal" with them when i have paid good money and blah blah blah...

how is this any different? children are (magically) children, and they are equal members of society.

Sorry, but I disagree.

First, because it's almost impossible, if the kid is running around (even w/Mommy right behind him) for him *not* to be endangering or significantly inconveniencing anyone. And when I say anyone, I mean himself (WRT hot plates and such) and the waitstaff who have to maneuver around him, etc. Trust me-- BTDT.

Second, your "ugly people" analogy is off-- you don't have to look at them. But to expect that a toddler is going to run around *without* yelling or possibly running into someone... Look, you're saying that the child can't occupy himself with anything else at the table. But he's going to calmly walk around the restaurant? (Even if Mommy's with him?) Not likely. It can be very disruptive.

Third, Children are not equal members of society. They should absolutely be treated with respect, but there is a reason that they are not allowed to work, vote, buy cigarettes, etc. They don't have the same rights as adults, nor should they. They don't have the same *capacity*-- to plan, weigh consequences, recognize safety hazards, etc.-- as adults do, either.

Finally, although children's age-appropriate behavior should be tolerated by restaurant-goers to some extent, running around is just not one of those things. I mean, if we want to compare kids to adults, fine. It would be rude for an adult to sit and color a placemat and not converse with his tablemates or eat with his hands, but not a kid. However, whether the diner is 3 or 30, it is not appropriate for him to be running around. If the kid can't *not* run around, he needs to be somewhere else.

NJMNSHO.
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#24 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 07:32 PM
 
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are children people or are they pets? the eternal question.

i firmly believe that children are our equals. the fact they they cannot buy cigarettes, as you listed, does nothing to sway me.

you make the assumption that it is impossible for a child not to be disturbing/endangering. i disagree.

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#25 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 08:12 PM
 
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It really depends on the restaurant. If the restaurant has tableclothes, the kids probably shouldn't be in it unless they are able to be quiet. If it is a fast food restaurant with a playground and you are in the playground area, all bets are off....it is perfectly acceptable for parents to sit and kids play (as long as they are not shoving/hitting/biting...then you intervene). The restaurants in between it is a subtle scale of what is allowable for us. A place like "Jason's Deli/Fazoli/Ryans Family Steakhouse", walking around following ok, "Carrabas/Olive Garden/Outback Steakhouse", take outside to walk around.

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#26 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 08:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mothra
Children running around in restaurants is so dangerous for both the child and the wait staff and disturbing to the other guests. If he refuses to sit, please, please, please take him outside or to the lobby, if the restaurant has one.

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#27 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 09:07 PM
 
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when we go to a restaurant we always go to a family oriented place first of all..Swiss Chalet, Kelsey's, Casey's...then we get our table and sit with dd in our lap...she's usually quite contented to do so long enough for us to order...we show her the menu pictures and occupy her...Once the order is placed we get down and start walking around..sometimes we carrier, other times we hold her hand...we show her pics on the walls, she waves to people, we look out the window and count cars...then when the food comes we take her back...she is a slow eater so she is good at least as long as we are in her chair. Then while the table is cleared one of us will take her to the bathroom and walk about and talk to her.

I have to say I have never gotten a "dirty look" and most people are quite interested in talking to her and saying hi. We are careful around the waitresses coming with food and explain to her about the danger of that. She seems to be understanding. The waiters seem to appreciate it too.

Waiters are always thrilled with her and we have never had a restaurant breakdown yet. Of course we make sure she 's not too tired.

As for me...children delight me. I would never consider it an inconvenience to have children around me while I am eating and usually strike up conversations with the children while waiting for my meal. The meal is worth the money as long as I don't have to wash dishes or cook...

We have pretty much done it this way since she was newborn so I guess it's become her routine.

She is almost 23 months now.
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#28 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spatulagirl
I do not expect my 3-year-old to sit still at the table that long. We always ask for a table far away from everything and let him run around, as long as he is safe and it doesn't get out of control. It doesn't matter how many toys we bring, he burns through them in two seconds and then needs to move.

Of course, we live in Italy where people adore children and they expect the kids to run around. It will be different when we move to the States I am sure.

Haven't finished reading- but I agree with the general Italian mentality that children are indeed part of society, and therefore as entitled to be at a restaurant, and anywhere else for that matter, as adults.
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#29 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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I used to find it incredibly irritating that people here in the northwest don't dress up when they eat out. You can spend $100 to sit in a restaurant surrounded by people wearing jeans and polar fleece.

None of them seem to care that they are detracting from a meal I'm spening good money on. Darn them! Why don't they just go to an "informal" restaurant if they want to be that way! What gives them the right?

I've been on planes and restaurants where people are talking so loudly I can't have a conversation, I've eaten near people who talk with their mouth's full- or who are fighting terribly with their spouses. Heck- I've been a house guest and had the hosts argue loudly in front of me. YUCK!

Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around me and my preferences. If I want to have a good time, I have to block out the stuff I don't want to deal with at a the time.



I think parents have a responsibility to ask for tables out of the way, try to keep their kid's relatively quiet, entertained and coralled, etc. But taking a walk around to check out the restaurant? par for the course. If it's much more than that people tend to go to the lobby, bathroom hall, etc.

I have honestly NEVER seen a parent letting a kid run so amok at a restaurant that I felt anyone was in danger. (Hey wait! Maybe I'm that parent!?) I have, however, seen all manner of adult behavior that was inconsiderate, rude, irritating and yucky.

As my mother used to say- "I don't care, as long as it's not my kid acting up/crying."
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#30 of 96 Old 05-24-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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This drives me crazy. a couple of laps with mom holding a hand is fine but really I don't want to bothered, I don't want to worry that my flying fork will stab him or some witress will trip and fall hurting herself, the child and anyone in the way.

Another thing that bothers me is that we worked very hard to make sure our kids can sit and wait nicely at a a resteraunt. We don't go to sit down resteraunts until they are ready and we do not allow running around. which meant a lot of sacrifice and often leaving when they gotcranky. it was high maitenence but with the right planning and lots of teaching resteraunt manners they had it by around 2. and everytime some kid is running amuck or climbing around or whatever my kids lok at us like we are the meanest people in the world. actually the older two get it. couple of kids were playing hide and seek in a busy resteraunt. rudeness and such aside (they were literally hiding under peoples tables) it was so distracting to my children. tehy could not eat nicely in that environment with people runnig around. we expect that kind of behavior at chuck-e-cheese but not at a normal place.

and lest you think I believe children have less rights than adults I would be jsut as irritated if grown ups were runnign around and being distracting and making things dangerous. and I think mom following toddler, with hot liquid in her hand is even more dangerous than just a kid running around. one more person in the way, one more person to run into trip over and generally create a distraction. Is it really so hard to go in the lobby or outside?

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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