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.


And, Finally . . .

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I want to close with a plea for all parents. Just as we ask those who may not have kids to be patient and understanding, it’s also up to us to also be mindful of them. If you know you are going to a restaurant with your kids, bring books, coloring or otherwise, iPad’s, magic tricks and whatever you need to make sure that they stay in their seats until everyone is finished eating and don’t provide a danger or disruption to diners. In other words, be considerate of everyone else and teach your children to do the same.

Good luck Debbie, and everyone else, for that matter.

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(Editor's note: This piece ran in its original format on 4/25/2011)