Dad at 40

Fitness, Nutrition, Parenting, and Life

Bad Kids or Bad Adults

I have been pretty quiet for the last two weeks. Work and life got in the way. It happens. However, I am back with a much lighter load. I still do not know if anyone reads this, but this posting is something I take very personally. So here it goes….

Much is made about children acting up in public. This posting right here illustrates the problem. I was not there and the owner could have handled it a bit differently, but the point that the owner makes is accurate – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. If you are not interested in reading the article, I will sum it up. Family in restaurant. Kid starts screaming. Owner screams back. Kid is quiet. Family is outraged. Morality police scream bloody murder. Restaurant owner says all my other patrons bothered, and I did what I had to do.

I get this. Last night, we were having dinner at Dan’s, a local burger joint. Luke was chilling in his car seat and we were trying to enjoy a meal. Not necessarily quiet, as the din of the restaurant was clearly present, but it was just families having dinner with their kids. However, one family came in and turned it all around. They had several small children. Again, I was not too worried because they seemed to have it under control. Then it started. A little girl of about 3 or 4 just lost it. She went nuclear over something ridiculous. The first minute was understandable, as I can give some people time to deal with a child and try to calm them. But this went on for about 5 minutes. The mother just kept reading on her smartphone. The aunt, I think, started trying to talk above the screaming child. This brought her voice up to a yell – in a crowded restaurant. The child was not in pain or being done wrong in any way. The child was simply throwing a tantrum.

The mother finally stands up and asks the child if she needs to be taken outside. Finally….some common sense and respect for others. But that was it. It was an empty threat. I noticed the look of relief on faces when she said this and then the look of disappointment when she sat back down to look at her phone. Meanwhile, the aunt?, just kept raising her voice. The child just kept screaming. They kept acting like nothing was going on. This went on for a good 15 minutes. Then, once the child quieted down, the aunt kept her barnyard voice and kept hollering how she was an excellent referee and kept the calm. At this point, two women sat in the booth between us and them and I waved at them and told them to move. They had no idea why and I explained to them how loud those people were. They started to get up and sure enough, the kid starts up again and the aunt starts calling the cows to come back to the barn. The lady looks at me and thanks me. Sure, there was only two booths separating them, but I guess it is better than point blank range. At this point, we had had enough and left.

So, what is this – bad kids or bad adults? I call it both, but the real culprit here is the adults. They were to blame for allowing this to continue. Screaming kids should be removed from an establishment. Bottom line. Now, when you hear someone say this, the natural response is outrage because whoever says it must not know what it is like to have kids. Wrong! I do know. And I still say taking the screaming kids out. You see, we all work hard for our money. Very hard. When we go out, we want a reasonable experience. It may not always be pleasant, but it should at least be decent. A screaming child, or children, is not acceptable. While the parents of the screaming child also work hard for their money, at the point of a screaming child, they are not enjoying their meal. So, rather than be the only ones miserable with their screaming child, they decide to make everyone miserable. That makes sense. Real sense of respect for others around you. Hell no. Take that screaming kid out.

Restaurants are in a pickle. Most chains do not say anything. They fear the court of public opinion. Plus, there is the danger of overreacting too quickly. So, when is it a good time. I would think some common sense would prevail here. A few minutes without abatement would generate a “sir (or ma’am), would you please take your child outside for a few minutes so he (or she) settles down? Here is a kids cup soda to give to your little one” or something along those lines. But no, they do not. I am not saying to kick them out, but ask them to deal with the situation.

Wait, but you would not take your kid out. You are just saying this. Hell yes I would take my child out. In a heartbeat. I prefer a quiet meal. I do not want to hear any screaming kid. And if it is mine, then out I go with him. I will not let him ruin a meal for anyone but me. That is the nature of the beast. Certainly, special situations are different. Perhaps you have a special needs child. I can live with some measure of sound, especially with special needs kids. But at the end of the day, they can lose it too and you as a parent have to know the difference between them being happy and a little noisy and ballistic and over the top noisy. Same rule then applies, take your kid out. Admittedly, it is much tougher with a special needs child and I can empathize with that plight, but the collective should not be subjected to that beyond a certain point.

Oh yes, and for the love of all that is holy….do not take a baby or a small child to a movie theater. I mean, seriously, there is a special place in hell for people that do that. I know when Luke wakes up from a nap, he is full on ballistic. Sure, he might nap through part of a movie, but once he wakes up, it is fight time. So, why do that? I do not. You should not either. Common sense.

At the end of the day, I can only come to one realization – BAD ADULTS.

So don’t be a bad adult. Be a respectful one.


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