Thoughts on Dining's Latest Accessory Faux Pas: Children

Let's keep elbows and children off the table, shall we?

By , Columnist

The newest trend in restaurant dining may, in fact, have nothing to do with food. A few scattered restaurants across the country have starting banning children under a certain age from their premises, and have in turn seen unexpected surges in popularity.

It used to be that screaming, ill-behaved, ridiculous children in restaurants drove me crazy. Now, as I’m getting older and to the point where I’m considering children of my own, it’s the parents of the little monsters crawling over the back of my booth, shrieking next to my ear, or making my table shake as they sprint down the aisle next to me that really get on my nerves. A mediocre “Bobby, please sit down” as your child goes bowling for waiters on his Heelys isn’t really going to do the trick; nor, sadly, does simply ignoring your child’s abhorrent behavior and continuing to stuff your face as though nothing’s wrong.

Now, I know that I don’t have children, so I probably couldn’t possibly understand what any of these parents is going through. But I do tend to get unexpected phone calls at the table and think that, just like cellular business at dinner, surprise temper tantrums or tired fits should be removed from earshot until they’re concluded. No one wants to listen to a loudmouth’s private business as it’s being hollered at his phone; neither does the public at large want to hear a child screaming bloody murder because he’s not getting his way.

Frankly, I don’t know anyone who feels any differently. So why all the controversy?

Perhaps because sitter-less, exhausted parents don’t want to lose the option to have someone else make dinner for once. That I understand. Or maybe parents feel like their parenting style is being attacked. Whatever the reason, I don’t understand why parents insist on taking small children with no boundaries to nice establishments. My solution, either parents are going to have to limit their outings to restaurants that feature slides and ball pits or they’ll have to start taking responsibility for their children’s behavior. Either that, or more restaurants are going to have to start digging in their heels to maintain whatever ambiance they have left.

Frankly, I applaud these places for taking a stand. Perhaps next they’ll start checking phones at the door with your coat. Hmm… what do you think about all this?

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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