Ask Rene:
Of Kids, Manners And Restaurants


Hey Rene,

I’m single and childless but my married sister, Caroline, has three kids, ages 3, 5, and 7. The kids are adorable but can’t seem to sit quietly when we go out to eat. They run around the restaurant screaming and bumping into other diners. My sister says nothing. Last week, an annoyed diner yelled at the kids and actually told my sister that she needed to control her “little monsters.” My sister was insulted, so we paid the check, collected the kids and left.

The funny thing is, I agreed with the annoyed diner! When I’m out at a restaurant with parents who let their kids run wild or scream at the top of their lungs while others are dining, it drives me crazy.

Do you think I have the right to tell other parents to control their children and should I tell my sister that her kids are out of control?

Debbie, Ohio



Dear Debbie:

Okay there are two issues here: Annoying kids at restaurants and whether you have a right to say something. Here’s my take on both and what I think you can do.


Kids In Restaurants

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I friggin’ HATE it when kids run rampant in restaurants; that’s what playgrounds and church are for. Okay, kidding about the latter. But just as it’s out of place for kids to be darting in and out of the pews, it is also wrong for them to do so in a place where people are carrying hot plates. It’s dangerous, rude and wrong and I can only assume the parents who allow it have never been food servers; otherwise they would understand the inherent danger. I worked my way through college waiting tables at TGI Fridays. That job was hard enough without having to worry whether I was going to trip over a toddler whose parents didn’t see the harm in letting the tyke wander around while they finished their leisurely lunch.