Lately, there’s been quite a bit of media attention focused on a North Carolina restaurant, the owners of which have decided to ban screaming kids. Many parents are very offended by the news that a restaurant has begun to ban unruly children. What if restaurants in their own city begin implementing the same practices? They don’t want people treating their children negatively. However, the harsh truth is that people who feel animosity towards badly behaved kids in restaurants are usually feeling far more critically of the parents of those kids, then they are of the kids themselves; but usually only when it’s clear that the parents are doing nothing to effectively manage the situation. After all, most kids get a little riled in a public place at some point or another, but what really matters is how the parents respond to those types of situations. So, what does it say about parents who don’t try to effectively manage a situation in which their child is behaving badly in a restaurant?
It says you have little to no consideration for others, and are teaching your kids to do the same
Before anyone gets upset, obviously this applies to children who are not challenged by Autism or other conditions which affect their developmental capabilities. However, for children who are of mainstream developmental capability, behaving horribly in a restaurant tells everyone else in the restaurant that their parents have very little, if any, consideration for other people. If your kid acts like a monster in a restaurant, and it has nothing to do with any type of developmental condition, then it just tells people that you, as a parent, are too self-centered to care how the actions of your children affect other people. Truly narcissistic people will not care about this, of course. Unfortunately, there are an abundance of these types of parents.
It says you are a lazy parent
Parenting is a big job; nobody ever said it wasn’t. Sadly, many people produce offspring despite the fact that they have no intentions of performing at the job of parenting to any significant degree. If a parent cannot be bothered to put forth the energy to guide their child towards appropriate behavior, then they are likely to have children who behave badly in restaurants, as well as other places.
It says you don’t care very much about your kids
If a parent truly cares about their children, they will do all that they can to teach them how to conduct themselves appropriately in public. How many times in a public place have I wanted to lean over to some teenager who is acting horrendously and quietly say to them, “You know, if your parents really loved you, they would have taught you how to behave properly in public”. Of course, I never have done that, and likely never will. Because the truth is, I feel pretty sad for these types of kids, as annoying and troublesome as they are. To fellow restaurant patrons, watching your kid act like a lunatic during a meal only screams that the poor kid has parents who don’t really give a damn. Because if you did, you would want your child to be functional, and consequently, you would help them to achieve functionality.
Unfortunately, the types of parents who have kids who behave badly enough that a restaurant would actually ask them to leave, are also the types who probably are never going to take responsibility for the problem. They generally are the types of parents who will always blame everyone else, who will always justify their children’s atrocious behavior (“They’re just kids!”), and who will never do anything to help their children learn to function appropriately in public. And before those types of parents get all huffy and scream out that somebody with no kids shouldn’t be judging them…be aware that the author of this article has four children, ranging from Kindergarten to college, all of whom have, repeatedly throughout their childhoods, had complete strangers approach our tables in restaurants for no other reason than to compliment them on how well behaved they are.
Teaching kids to behave in restaurants, or any other public place, takes thought and effort. But it is quite unfair to throw a child into public situations and allow them to act like wild monkeys. This accomplishes nothing but to have a huge number of people dislike your child very much, when the truth is, it is the parents who are nearly always at fault for the child’s lack of good behavior. Neglecting to put the time and effort into teaching a child how to function adequately in public is really very cruel, and only sets the child up for repeated failure in social situations.