Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kids in restaurants: yea or nay?

Where do you stand on the kids in restaurants controversy? The New York Times article "Rowdy Children in Coffee Shops" has been at the top of the most e-mailed story list all week. It was picked up all over the web, including of course on Amy Alkon's blog, where she titled her piece more colorfully -- "Get Your Brat Out of My Face!" Amy is famously anti-small children in restaurants, happily documenting each surly, screeching toddler at the Rose Cafe on her blog. I guess I don't hang out at coffee shops that much, because I find screaming children at Target and Trader Joe's to be a much bigger problem, but despite being a parent, I guess I'll come down on the anti-kid side here. If you need a muffin that badly, then get your kid to behave. If you have the kind of kid who doesn't always behave in public, take them to places where they won't be noticed. Zankou Chicken never seemed to care what mine did, but it didn't occur to me to take them to fancier places because it just seemed like I wouldn't have that much fun with them there. They're fine now that they can play with their cell phones -- you just have to wait it out.


Anonymous said...

I'm fine with kids in restaurants, and I'm childless. I do think there should be curfew though, like about 7:30pm. I was eating at Nyalah the other night around 9pm, and some kid was punching me on the shoulder from the reverse side of the booth. Kids should be in bed at 9pm, not punching unsuspecting restaurant customers.

Maria said...

Ethnic restaurants are more kid-friendly than other places so take your child out for Salvadorean, Vietnamese or Mexican cuisine.

I used to hate hearing screaming children anywhere but now that I'm a parent, I'm more tolerant (or just sleep-deprived and couldn't care less).

I do agree that discipline is key. Bring a lots of toys to amuse the child and have a quick exit strategy when all else fails.

Anonymous said...

If the place is super casual then anything goes ... just about.

But I detest kids poking at me from the back of a booth. I really have to wonder what the parents are thinking. So, basically well behaved kids are okay ... and not so well behaved kids need parents who know how to control the situation first before dining out.

Dan said...

I'd rather kids than Republicans.

Doran said...

I love kids in restaurants. Well behaved, quiet kids (unless we're talking Charles Cheese's place or the Burger King playground, where all is fair).

When young, my parents regularly took my sister and I to many wonderful restaurants. Sunday nights at Yee Mee Loo was a regular event for years. Once, when sis and I were real young, I remember one of us throwing a hissy fit while dining out. The folks made it immediately clear that if we ever wanted to go out with them again, we'd better behave. We did, and that was the end of that.

So, while kids will be kids, if the parent isn't willing to be responsible for the misery their little cretin causes, I've got no sympathy for Ma or Pa. Letting Junior run around the tables or letting little Baby Doe scream unchecked in her carrier should be grounds for immediate banishment. At least until the parents learn their manners.

Anonymous said...

Some time back a couple of brats were making the aisles of a restaurant their playground complete with constant shrill screams, and mild physical contact with other diners. Their parents could care less. One man took it upon himself to discipline the brats, he roared at the kids, they stopped dead in their tracks and he instructed them to sit down and be quiet. Everybody in the restaurant applauded the man, a red faced parent retrieved their brats and not a peep was heard for the rest of the night.

I know adults that are worse than children, they may not touch you while you're dining but they are every bit as loud. If you're going to get bent over a little noise, Stay Home. If some brat punches you, feel free to discipline them yourself.

and be a good parent.

Anonymous said...

Hi P Saperstein I’ve been looking for related blogs and I came across yours on Kids in restaurants: yea or nay? during my trawl, so I thought it would be polite to let you know about my visit. I have just recently started a daily news feed on my own site and you are most welcome to come and visit me at . I would also be happy to trade links with you if you are interested. Bye for now and have a nice day! Roy