Family in cafe

Ask Rene:
Out Of Control Kids

Hi Rene

I love checking in on your site, even though I don’t have any children of my own. I’m dying to get your take on this.

I like kids as much as the next gal, but there are times when I am out in public that the parents seem oblivious to the fact that their children are running amok! I understand it in more kid-friendly places but in fine dining restaurants or the theater?

Would it be okay for me to say something to their parents in an effort to get them to reign in their youngsters? Don’t get me wrong, I think kids SHOULD participate in the community at large as much as possible, but shouldn’t there be some rules of engagement? What do you say GEM?

Thank you!

Gayle, New Jersey

Hey Gayle:

Thanks for writing in. Wow this is a tough one.

Years ago, I was a waitress working my way through college at a busy TGI Fridays.  One of the most frustrating things was parents, who, after the kids were done eating, just let them roam about the restaurant. Now, this was a busy place with servers moving at a pace just below a full on sprint. Many times we would be carrying plates on our arms or a hot coffee pot or balancing drinks in our hands. When you’re looking straight ahead it’s impossible to see a toddler who barely comes up to your kneecaps so you can imagine the inherent danger. I would typically and politely ask (as my tip was dependent on this) for them to seat their child and offer to bring crayons or something like that.

You're Not The Parent

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As a diner, you don’t have that option. Talking to or rather, complaining about someone’s kid to that person may not go over well. You have some people who, genuinely embarrassed that they are intruding on your dining experience, will reign in their kids. Then there are those whose children can do no wrong. Those are the folks that could go bat-sh*t crazy on you causing a much bigger scene than the initial offense.