Stop Sucking at Parenting, Dinnertime Parents

Categories: Alice Column

paddling.jpg
Ah, those were the days.
Welcome to Alice Column, in which Alice Laussade writes stories about things on (roughly) the same day of (roughly) every week, making it (roughly) a column. Got an idea for a column? Start your own blog and write it up, you lazy shit.

You decide to go to Cane Rosso at White Rock Lake for a nice pizza dinner. You don't bring your kids because you don't feel like spelling the bad words you plan on saying. You are excited to sit on the patio on this beautiful evening. That's when you see it: a ton of kids running around and turning what should be a serene patio into a shit show.

One kid throws a piece of gravel from the gravelscape at his kid friend. Kid No. 2 does what instinct tells him to: He throws a larger amount of gravel at Kid No. 1, with more force.

A nearby stranger sees your look of shock and tells you, "This actually isn't that bad. One time, I saw a kid throw a rock right at a patron's face."

Somewhere, Super Nanny is throwing up and convulsing and she doesn't know why.

"Did these children walk themselves here?" you wonder. Surely the parents of these children are not here. Because parents are awesome. Parents are supreme regulators. They are the ultimate wild-animal handlers.

A father lifts his diapered daughter out of the water feature for the third time. "WHAT THE HELL, NOW I HAVE DIAPER POOP GERMS IN ME!" the soon-to-be-removed water feature bitches.

You've got kids. You know kids can be assholes. Sometimes this stuff happens. What's missing in these parents, though, worries you: They're not embarrassed. They're not upset with their children. They're not immediately stopping the awful behavior and then removing themselves and their kids from the public.

They shrug their shoulders and throw their hands in the air. "Kids will be kids," they say. And you think, "I was a kid. My ass never left the seat at restaurants, because it was time for dinner, not a track meet."

Maybe these parents are simply too tired to stop their kids from wrecking things. Parenting can be tiring. To these people, you offer what must be new information: There are people you can pay who will watch your children while you go out to dinner, if you're too tired to watch your children at dinner.

Are baby sitters too expensive? OK. Consider these options as spaces where your child can get dinner and also appropriately run around like crazy: Chuck E. Cheese. Klyde Warren Park. Your Own Backyard.

If you're too tired to parent your kids, you're too tired to go out to dinner with them at a restaurant.

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93 comments
Jeremy AndEmily Britt
Jeremy AndEmily Britt

Not all kids are horrible people, just putting that out there, my kids are great in restaurants.

mateo
mateo

Everybody thinks the same thing:

"When _I_ was a child, I NEVER misbehaved or my parents would destroy me with the brutal force of furious discipline!!"

Yeah, right.  All of you misbehaved in inappropriate places, yes you too, Mrs Perfect.  And your parents were also either numb to it, or not wanting to make a scene in public as well.  I know, YOUR parents were the brutal masters of discipline, yes yes I'm sure.

Parenting hasn't changed, this is nostalgia myopia, regardless of whether or not you want to believe it.  It's the same as whining about "in the good old days".  Do I think parents are responsible for their kids behavior, of course I do.  I'm just sick of the self-righteous posturing that asserts YOUR parents were perfect and by extension YOU were perfect and everyone else in your pretentious bourgeois pizza dive is a terrible parent or terrible child.

mateo
mateo

Everybody thinks the same thing:

"When _I_ was a child, I NEVER misbehaved or my parents would destroy me with the brutal force of furious discipline!!"

Yeah, right.  All of you misbehaved in inappropriate places, yes you too, Mrs Perfect.  And your parents were also either numb to it, or not wanting to make a scene in public as well.  I know, YOUR parents were the brutal masters of discipline, yes yes I'm sure.

Parenting hasn't changed, this is nostalgia myopia, regardless of whether or not you want to believe it.  It's the same as whining about "in the good old days".  Do I think parents are responsible for their kids behavior, of course I do.  I'm just sick of the self-righteous posturing that asserts YOUR parents were perfect and by extension YOU were perfect and everyone else in your pretentious bourgeois pizza dive is a terrible parent or terrible child.

mateo
mateo

Everybody thinks the same thing:

"When _I_ was a child, I NEVER misbehaved or my parents would destroy me with the brutal force of furious discipline!!"

Yeah, right.  All of you misbehaved in inappropriate places, yes you too, Mrs Perfect.  And your parents were also either numb to it, or not wanting to make a scene in public as well.  I know, YOUR parents were the brutal masters of discipline, yes yes I'm sure.

Parenting hasn't changed, this is nostalgia myopia, regardless of whether or not you want to believe it.  It's the same as whining about "in the good old days".  Do I think parents are responsible for their kids behavior, of course I do.  I'm just sick of the self-righteous posturing that asserts YOUR parents were perfect and by extension YOU were perfect and everyone else in your bourgeois pizza dive is a terrible parent or terrible child.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

What do you think the parents would say if their children ran into a server with hot food on a tray and knocked it out of a servers hands onto their children? 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This change is definitely not for the better.  As kids we had to be practically invisible in public... or else. 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

1) Have experienced these horrors and more
2) Some parents are self-absorbed idiots 
3) I hate Facebook


Threeboys
Threeboys

I'm too tired to read all the comments below and I hate the fact that most of them come from Facebook but my response is twofold.

You went to a pizza place. Cane Rosso or not, it's a pizza place. What did you expect? Want no kids, go to Pyles or FT33.

Not being a feel good lib-tard, my kids are sufficiently scared of me and the ramifications of acting up in an adult restaurant.

janetdubac
janetdubac

Thankfully, my daughter is just a few months old and I don't have this problem with her yet. But my nieces are really really over the top. They run around in malls and restaurants, they hesitate to eat at meal time and they write on the walls of their living room. Personally, I don't get why their parents let them be. They are not reprimanded and their parents just smile whenever they become uncontrollable. I wish to have the guts to tell my in laws that letting children be is not love, the lack of discipline is not love but a groundwork for disaster.

Sara Liszewski
Sara Liszewski

We have children and when they misbehave in restaurants, one of us takes the offending child outside for a time out. If that doesn't correct the behavior, we get a to-go box, pay our bill and leave promptly. As a result, our 5 year old daughter has very nice restaurant manners . Consistently disciplining our children takes lots of effort, but it pays off in the end.

Leah Ferraro
Leah Ferraro

A LOT of parents suck at this, it's true. I have always been horrified at what so many allow. But, quite honestly a lot of parents take their responsibilities seriously. I never let mine run around, stand up in booths, throw things, whine, etc. You act up and we leave. That was all it took. Those who think kids can't behave, or refuse to teach their children how to behave will pay the price in disrespectful kids with bad manners. Not to mention glares from from other patrons and staff. Teach your children how to behave. It pays off.

John W Smith III
John W Smith III

As a business owner, I have no problem asking people to leave especially when someone may get hurt and hold the business liable. Of course, I do not even tolerate loud noise or crying and expect people to have enough respect to take their kids out until they can behave. A few years ago, I was in Target and older kids were sword fighting with brooms and the lazy ass mother never said a word but if they had accidentally hit a customer, Target probably would have found themselves in court.

thecreativeunbound
thecreativeunbound

If you can't regulate your kids--whatever your methods--don't subject other people to them. I'm not going to tell a parent how to parent their kids. If your kids are THAT much of a problem that I have to complain on you and ask the restaurant manager to tell you to leave (which I have done several times, and yes, the managers asked them to leave because I wasn't the only one complaining), then how you deal with them after you leave is your business. How I enjoy my night out is mine. Take them to Chuck E. Cheese if they are hellions. Children running around, throwing rocks, being loud, and generally out of control is a liability to the restaurant. Other patrons can be hit by projectiles, or the children can be hurt and in either situation, the business' insurance may have to cover it. It is in their best interest to keep the majority of patrons happy and returning to spend more money, and if that means telling a parent "control your kid or I will have to ask you to leave" then those are the parents' choices. I could care less how subjectively bad your parenting is as long as your child's behavior doesn't affect me. 

Melissa Howell
Melissa Howell

It just seems like more parents than not, don't know how to parent. They're glued to their cell phones and tablets and in order to keep their ADHD kids from bothering them, they give them electronic devices. Most parents these days are lazy and so worried that if they discipline their child, their kid will need counseling or something. Parents need to stop being the friend and the "good guy" and be parents!

Andrew Reyes
Andrew Reyes

What you described seems to be the status quo here in McKinney...damn shame.

Melissa Howell
Melissa Howell

Amen, Lauren Oxford! I was just bitching about that very thing. Was in line at Target this afternoon and this lady walked in with her three kids, two of whom were playing on an electronic device and both were blaring those obnoxious, high-pitched video game/cartoony noises. I wanted to take the beach umbrella from my cart and knock some sense into all of them.

Baldo Martinez
Baldo Martinez

There is a difference between discipline and abuse. Sounds like you were abused and I am sorry for that.

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

My parents didn't spare the rod, but I'm not sure they ever figured why there were no birthday cards and visits and such after I left home. I was SO glad to get away! Be prepared to die alone if you do what Baldo says.

Bethany McRoy
Bethany McRoy

if you don't discipline your child..eventually a prison will

Brandy Nicole Montes
Brandy Nicole Montes

I completely agree. Paren't don't parent anymore. I have 2 kids myself and would never allow my children to act like that in public. I take pride in the fact that my kids are well behaved in public and are polite and guess what I have a full time job! Yes being a parent means you are tired but guess what, you decided to have kids so that means taking responsibility for them and disciplining them so they won't be heathens when they grow up.

brian.martin
brian.martin

I remember sitting at the El Fenix in Casa Linda Plaza with a horrible nervous stomach ache in 1973..Why you ask? Because I was just informed by my dad, that when we got home I was going to get my ass beat with a belt for blowing bubbles in my coke with my straw after i was told not to...running around and acting like an ass clown would have most likely got me killed or worse..like that damn thin ass leather work belt that was my dads implement of choice...I have 12, 9 and a 6 yr old and they know how to behave in a restaurant...no belt needed....


Lauren Oxford
Lauren Oxford

If you've already gone in for the handheld video games / tablet computer / etc in order to busy and placate your child at the table, might I suggest headphones as well? The cacophonous beeping and booping is unpleasant.

ElFlaco714
ElFlaco714

Jack Perkins has a good policy.  No screaming kids at Maple and Motor.

Ken Williams
Ken Williams

Years ago I corrected two children (not Mine) at Pizza and Pipes.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

Baldo, be careful, every old codger on earth has said the same thing...I don't remember my mother being my friend, I can tell you!

Bill Stafford
Bill Stafford

These are the folks who believe the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" means that the rest of the world is full of their babysitters.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

Reminds me of Mr. Monk Takes a Plane Ride

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

The people who do this re so oblivious, no amount of harrumphing from all of the other tables is going to convince them not to bring the little darlings...

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart

It saddens me when kids are taught free reign, no consequences then parents wonder later why Johnny can't hold a job or move out. Why should he/she? Parents have created an unrealistic world then they grow up & can't make it in the real world. I reared 5 mannered children. I am not at all interested in rearing yours or being annoyed by yours in a public place.

alisonmarie1116
alisonmarie1116

My three year old daughter is the BEST dinner company.  She says please and thank you to our waiters.  She does NOT move her butt out of the seat.  Even at home she asks "May I please be excused?"  We bring paper and crayons to every restaurant to keep her occupied.  I color with her while we wait for our dinner.  We discuss the restaurant decorations.  We talk and play word games.  I INTERACT with her.  

Why does she behave well?  Because since day one my husband and I have made manners top priority.  We rarely spank, but she goes to the corner when she disobeys often, and she must apologize when she comes out.  We have a little discussion about proper behavior.  I get on my knees and speak to her at eye level.  I give her respect as well.  If I am a jerk or mean, I will apologize.  I think it is important to apologize when you are wrong, so that they really learn the importance of that behavior.

At home there is a no singing, no yelling, no electrical devices at dinner.  That rule applies to when we go out to eat. If I have to answer a text message at the table, I apologize to her, then put my phone up.  I try to show her proper behavior and she learns what she sees me DO, not what she hears me say.  

At Dodie's a few weeks ago on Lower Greenville (the old one), two little boys were running around and climbing on the booth while their parents were drinking and ignoring them.  My daughter asked "What's wrong with those boys mommy?  Why are they jumping?"  I smiled.  Acting like that in a restaurant is foreign to her.  That is how it should be.  Parents need to set the bar high for manners at a young age.  All this "kids will be kids" crap is useful for the playground, NOT a dinner table or restaurant.  Invest in crayons and paper and engage your child.  Is is not that hard.

dmtrousd
dmtrousd

I was at a local patio restaurant where I witnessed a boy of about 4 years old teasing his 2 year old sister, and it kept escalating, they got louder and louder. There was a couple about 20 feet away. The man of the couple walked over and gave the boy a mild admonishment, but the boy continued and the man walked away. I figured, well, you tried your best, he's not your son and the parents are nowhere in site. Soon, though, I realized, these WERE the parents! I turned to my wife and promised her that would not be us in four years.

Shannon Clasen
Shannon Clasen

If you don't want to watch your children while you are in public than do not bring them. I believe it should be socially exceptable for an adult to put strangers kids in check if the the parent wants to ignore it. Remember when you got whooped from neighbors before you got home to get whooped. Lets go back to that!

Tommy Miller
Tommy Miller

It's because the parents are to busy taking Instagram pics and updating their Facebook status.

southwestfork
southwestfork

My kids are 21-18. Ask them what would have happened if they got up at the restaurant or caused a scene. "Trip to bathroom to get ass handed to us". Raised to say Yes maam, Yes sir.. and haven't robbed a 7-11 yet. But they have manners because their mother and I made it a priority. Being broke as a young parent makes you cherish going out and having a nice meal.. and for all the other patrons we wanted them to enjoy their meal too... and today when I have children running through and causing a scene.. I ask the parent in a polite way to take care of it.. its a place to eat not a playground. 

Americano
Americano

@1dailyreader I know what they'd say, I've seen it happen.  They blamed the server and got their dinner comped.

pea_dee5
pea_dee5

@Melissa Howell Ridiculous! A restaurant is one thing, Target (where there is a wall of giant televisions and a video game center) is another thing entirely.  Be happy her kids were playing games and not running around.

markzero
markzero

@Ken Williams "Corrected," like the girls in The Shining were by their father?

casiepierce
casiepierce

@alisonmarie1116 Sounds like the difference between people who actually LOVE their kids and people who have them just because it's something that they're "supposed" to do...

SpareThisRodChump
SpareThisRodChump

@southwestfork I absolutely fucking love parents like you who basically brag they physically harmed their children while they were growing up. You are pathetic.

fezmarie73
fezmarie73

@SpareThisRodChump I'm sorry - I was spanked by my parents, and guess what: THEY'RE AGNOSTIC.  I don't consider my folks giving me a solid spank on the bottom as abuse - they were and are amazing parents, and they saved a spanking for the pretty serious stuff, like playing with power tools when we were told to stay out of the garage. I do see a complete and total lack of discipline as neglect, however, especially when kids are throwing ROCKS.  I'm sorry, but that is absolutely inappropriate, and I don't care whether you pack up and leave, or give the kid a time out, or suspend some kind of privilege for a day or two, or even a week - some kind of reprimand is necessary to teach kids that they are going too far, and can hurt someone seriously.  My boss' wife ended up in the hospital because of an incident with unruly children in a restaurant. 

Collin74
Collin74

@SpareThisRodChump  You sound like an incredibly unpleasant person.  I'm very thankful I got spanked as a kid and didn't grow up like one of these mini-terrors that are so common nowadays.  Glad your daughter didn't need spanking, but it's clear that you do.  Hope her manners are much better than yours.

markzero
markzero

@SpareThisRodChump @southwestfork - whoa, when did he mention anything about his religion?

SpareThisRodChump
SpareThisRodChump

@southwestfork @SpareThisRodChump Sorry, try again. My daughter will be 14. We didn't need to spank her. 

You and all your bible thumping cohorts can justify spanking all you want. At the end of the day, you are physically assaulting an innocent child who cannot defend themselves.

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