Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

« Previous Post | Daily Dish Home | Next Post »

Yea or Nay: Screaming children in restaurants

No one wants to hear a screaming kid while they're trying to eat.

But a North Carolina restaurant is trying to do something about it: The Olde Salty restaurant has put up a sign that says, “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!”

It's an understatement to say that controversy has followed. This MSNBC report does a good job of breaking it all down.

Personally, I think "misbehaving" children are more of a problem than screaming children: If a kid is screaming, doesn't that suggest that something might be seriously wrong? But what do you think? Should more restaurants follow suit? Or should we all cut the parents a break, and maybe even offer to help out in some way?

Either way, the next time we roll our eyes at a screaming kid we should remember that we were all screaming children at some point.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter.com / renelynch

Comments () | Archives (12)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I think parents who let thier little brats run around and grab ass all over the place Either have linguini ofr brains had bowls of stupid for breakfast or just dont care who they annoy GET WITH THE PROGRAM CONTROL YOUR BRATS !!!!!!

Oh gosh, that brings up a recent memory! I was at a birthday party (adults only, no kids) at a chain restaurant and a space was reserved just for us! There was that kid in a light blue shirt grabbing others' food and squealing and screaming. The mother slaps and scolds him and I tried hard not to stare! Keep in mind that it took place on a Saturday, so kids are common patrons there!

Hey, I only love kids when they behave, even those just as autistic as me. It's their misbehavior that I really hate because I meltdown inside each time they pitch at least a Category 3 tantrum! I give that woman three cheers for her effort to help diners dine in peace!

Oh, and read my article, When Children Have No Formalities in Fine Dining Establishments (http://gomestic.com/family/when-children-have-no-formalities-in-fine-dining-establishments) - it's my take on screaming meenies at restaurants!

I'm all for well-behaved kids in public. What I can't get over is the rudeness of the signs - the level of immaturity and inherent contradiction of the business owners who ignore the integral lesson that we try to teach our children everyday: quiet, calm guidelines will invoke positive, calm behavior in both children and adults, not rudely worded signs or ridiculously generalized bans. That's my major issue with it - I thought it was funny that they're being so rude in asking people not to be rude.

As such, I started the “Eat the Babies Boycott” on Facebook as a satirical response to the recent ban against screaming children issued by a restaurant in North Carolina, which posted a very rude sign in their front window that states, “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!” My proposal, which asks that restaurants not ban the children but rather offer the option of cooking the babies (with many thanks to Jonathan Swift’s suggestion to the Irish), is intended to mock the level of immaturity of the business owners who ignore the lessons that we try to teach our children everyday: quiet, calm guidelines will invoke positive, calm behavior in both children and adults, not rudely worded signs. So far, I have 15 supporters. I know this can be a movement.

I love kids.. but i do love out of control kids. Its the parents fault. Ban the kids and the parents.

I would certainly frequent a business that is taking a "values" stand.
When us 4 were kids, my parents didn't take us to restaurants & events until we were mature enough to behave. We did not suffer from "tragic withholding of restaurant rights" as toddlers/infants, we did plenty at family & friend's homes and were expected to behave.

In Oregon & Washington, especially in Seattle, Eugene & Portland, there are many people who bring kids to nice restaurants & expensive events and let them bawl, scream, kick bleachers that sound like rifle shots, race up & down the aisles, and scream & struggle to play with the food on the sushi-train. Parents just sit there smugly basking in their "Little Second-Coming of Jesus's Glory".
Not to mention, getting to watch a beaming Mommy change a poopy diaper on the restaurant table or bare-rumped on velvet restaurant couches. Maybe grownups should demand that right to change their or Grandpa's poopy colostomy bags and adult diapers at the restaurant table?
Less than 10%, I've seen, take their kid outside while it's screaming. Most just ignore it and are in a blissful smirk, or inadvertently reward the kid by giving extra loves & attention for the screaming.
Nobody does anything because they are scared of being crucified by the militant child-centric-nazis.
We have left events & restaurants early because we could not hear the event, or enjoy our meal.
I feel I'm being pushed & my money being pushed into Un-Politically-Correct places for a more "quality" time. I'm a straight Martha Stewarty-female, yet you'll see my money going to Happy Hours, bars, cigar bars, gay bars, Hooters, & strip clubs.

I was one of 6 and I didn't dare act up in a restaurant. I was raised when table manners were important (we didn't chew with our mouths open, we kept our napkins in our laps, elbows off the table, we spoke in quiet voices, etc.). I have two (now grown) children, however, my son was a very, very, very difficult toddler. It was IMPOSSIBLE to take him anywhere. Needless to say, we exclusively ate at pizza places, the park, the beach, outdoors, anywhere we didn't annoy other people, who were also paying for the privilege of dining out. NO ONE, NOT EVEN A MISERABLE, TIRED CHILD has the right to hold others hostage with screaming temper tantrums and other poor behavior. The Europeans treat the dinner hour with the importance it deserves. This is something we spoiled Americans should mirror.

Children should be taken to restaurants, as part of their socialization. When they start to scream or act up, it is on the parents to remove them IMMEDIATELY, no matter what. If they don't, I don't see anything wrong with the manager asking them to leave. That's tough for a manager to do, but if this happened in every restaurant, it would become the norm. It takes a village.

In the state of our current economy, I don't think it is in a restaurateur's best interest to alienate the population with children. That being said we do try and keep our toddler quite, but would be greatly discouraged from walking in a place that shows such intolerance. We would opt to spend our money elsewhere.

Rene, we have dined out with our 13-yr. old daughter since infancy. Yes, she was an easy baby, but from toddler-hood on, we ALWAYS made sure to have appropriate entertainment with us. Small play toys, silent puzzles, crayons & paper and books, and later on, hand held games...we had a special backpack for restaurant visits filled with stuff for her to do. We also have realized that we had to be tuned in, meaning if she was playing happily and independently, my husband and I could talk about a subject of our choice, but if she was restless, it was (and is) our responsibility to have a conversation in which she felt included. So have we sat at fine restaurants and heard the details of the latest Sponge Bob episode? You bet. But do we have a daughter who knows how to behave in a fine dining establishment? Again, yes we do.

My favorite time was when she was about 3 and we were at a trattoria in Milano frequented mostly by businessmen. We entered with our daughter, and did not get the best table, but that was ok. The waiter was a little gruff and probably not thrilled to be waiting on the Americans with the little kid. She sat in her booster seat, playing happily with some small, plastic Winnie the Pooh figurines. The waiter came and she gave him one. He said, "grazie," and since we had been in Italy for a couple of weeks at that point, she had, much to our surprise, figured out she should say, "prego." The guy burst into a big grin, and from that moment on, he could not do enough for us.

We have left a restaurant only once, and it was a night I knew we should not have gone to begin with. But she was ill-behaved, and my husband carried her out like a football. I stayed behind and payed the check.

I think so much of this issue is parents who are selfish and not engaged with their children. They are not furniture; they must be taught and included in the conversation. You can't just bring them and expect them to know how to behave.

As a parent I completely agree. It is not the wait staff or other patrons responsibility or fault that some parents have taken the tactic of coddling their children. I remember many times growing up when my Mom told my sisters and I that if we didn't stop jacking around we would be leaving whatever establishment we were at and we would lose the privilege to go out to eat or whatever it was because we couldn't behave like humans... It is a travesty to watch parents these days being manhandled and manipulated by their children for the sake of being politically correct or because they (the parents) really want to have a meal out. If our kids start acting up when we are in a restaurant then they are warned to start behaving, if they continue to act up then we leave and the privilege of having a meal out is lost for everyone.

I have the perfect solution for screaming kids and it works every time. Whenever I see a kid screaming in public (not a seriously hurt child, but the tantrumming kind), I walk up to the parent and say, in a pitying tone, "Awww...what's the matter? Here, give him/her to me. I'll take him/her home." The stunned, wide-eyed child immediately shuts up, leaving the parent and public at peace. The mere thought of a stranger taking him/her away from mom or dad shocks the child back into reality, and the child then realizes that the parent isn't the only one affected by the tantrum. It works for the parents, too. They're also not too keen on a stranger intefering in their business, and they quickly start behaving like parents should, taking control of the situation. I have a 100% success rate with this method.

As a mother of three, I say aye. All three of my children learned very young that behaving unruly at a dining establishment would lose them the privilege of dining out (which was huge). Once I even walked out in the middle of service when a tantrum started (leaving my card, of course) and came back later to take care of the check. The servers were so grateful they bagged everything and comped my drink. Parents need to teach their children simple manners and respect, if they are too young to understand, leave them home with the sitter. If they are old enough to grasp it, take them for a walk when you sense the sh*t about to hit the fan.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts
5 Questions for Thi Tran |  August 6, 2012, 8:00 am »
SEE-LA hires new executive director |  July 31, 2012, 9:34 am »
Food FYI: Actors reading Yelp reviews |  July 31, 2012, 9:16 am »
Test Kitchen video tip: Choosing a bread wash |  July 31, 2012, 6:04 am »



About the Bloggers
Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.