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.


Your Right To Speak Up

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While I think you have a right to say something to the parents of the tiny terrors, understand they also have a right to tell you to mind your own business or worse, to “eff off.” Personally I think a better way to handle it would be to speak to the restaurant manager because after all, it is his or her job to ensure each diner has a pleasant experience.

Your sister is another matter all together. Tell her how uncomfortable it makes you when you go out to eat with her and she lets her kids run like wildebeests on the Serengeti and that until she teaches them to behave better, you won’t be going out with them anymore. Of course, choosing restaurants that are more kid-friendly can also solve this problem; there’s no shortage of places that have indoor playgrounds for kids to run off some of that excess energy. But if you’re hoping for adult conversation in an atmosphere of fine dining, make a reservation FOR TWO and leave the kids at home.