When Bad/Screaming Children In Restaurants Make Others - Well, Scream!

If you are the ones bothered by screaming children in restaurants, your friends who are like you feel your pain.

Just imagine that you are going to some sort of fine dining establishment for a night out. You leave your cell phone in your purse and set it on vibrate. You are dressed according to dress code - suits for the men, party dresses for the women.

Inside, the restaurant looks like a lavishly decorated salon at a palace. A harpist at one corner plays classical music. Antique gold gilds every nook and cranny. Soft lighting by electric chandeliers and candelabras (or votives) illuminate the venue. All the waiters are in tuxedos, serving the finest dishes and desserts that make many a gourmand squeal with pleasure.

In front of Palo, on the DISNEY WONDER, where only Guests 18 and older can dine there.
In front of Palo, on the DISNEY WONDER, where only Guests 18 and older can dine there.

As you eat your escargot in garlic butter, you hear and see a child under 7 near your table screaming her lungs out. She is dressed in a party dress with puffy sleeves and zipper back. But it's beauty isn't enough to soften her red, screaming face.

You call the waiter, and convince him to remove the bothersome family so you can eat in peace. You know right away that it's one of the "no screaming children" restaurants, let alone one that isn't intended for them. But you just wonder why that family is allowed to bring that little screaming demon in the first place.

Screaming Children in Restaurants are Problemsome!

Let's face it - with the exception of those that allow people of a certain age and over (discussed later), restaurants even serve screaming kids.

But it's not just the screaming that rattles other patrons' moments of peace. They tap-dance on antique, centuries-old floors custodians try hard to maintain. They grab others' food because they either were served food they don't like (usually ordered by the parent) or because the dishes seem so appetizing to them. They run around with reckless abandon, posing a hazard to waiters.

What Restaurants Face the Most Problems With Screamers?

Usually, the chain restaurants get the biggest volume of noisiness and disturbance when it comes to misbehaving kids. They typically grab the attention of many families wanting a meal together outside their homes.

Worst of all, their peak times tend to be the times when kids are off-school, the weekends, and Fridays. Just dine at a meal at peak times at any said day and you'll likely need to try your best to ignore screaming banshees.

Even the most expensive restaurants with gourmet cuisine can get a ruined atmosphere with ill-mannered youth. So why do patrons spend their money on the finest wine that complements their more than three-course meal that is tainted with baby food? Well, they feel that those who bring their children under 10 are just too lazy to hire a babysitter or have a relative watch over them.

Screaming children are pests in dining out!
Screaming children are pests in dining out!

What Makes Screaming Children in Restaurants - Well, Scream?

Children pitch fits for many reasons:

  • They are hungry beyond control.
  • They are tired and forced to eat past their usual bedtime or right on nap time. (That's especially degrading to autistic children, who rely on routine and can't stand transitions.)
  • They have still-developing attention spans, and waiting at some fine-dining restaurant where you know they serve only a seven-course meal is painful for them.
  • Restaurants are overstimulative and crowded - chain restaurants are noisy and crowded, but even if they are quieter, fancy restaurants are just as overwhelming. (It's also especially bad for unprepared autistic children.)
  • Worst of all, temper tantrums are part of their lives thanks to them finding ways to communicate. Enough is said.

Why Are Patrons (and Owners) Bothered?

Well, restaurant patrons come in all different forms from all walks in life. But they have something in common: a right to dine in peace. Some of them hate children, and they are married or single with no kids and they feel that all dining establishments are no kiddie places.

Another set of them are couples looking for a peaceful dinner out and expect little to no (well, preferably no) screaming children. Others are just families with behaving children who want just quiet meals to enjoy themselves.

Owners and employees are also bothered by bad children in their restaurants. Take elusive, bolting, and/or eloping children, for example. When they run around in aisles between tables, they can trip waiters carrying foods of varying temperatures. (It's even worse if they are carrying glassware of real glass and/or carrying some hot drinks like coffee.)

The din of shrieking youngsters make it hard for them to take orders by blocking out what they are asking their patrons.

'Screaming Children are Not Allowed - Period.'

How do restaurants both casual and upscale curtail loudly crying children? One way is to post signs on doors or somewhere visible where patrons with children can see it.

In a Chicago cafe, a smart owner posted one decorated with green and purple handprints that said that they "have to behave and use their indoor voices" regardless of age. A North Carolina restaurant displays another that said, "Screaming children will NOT be tolerated!"

But signs like these make some parents angry. They feel that the owners are discriminating against them and their children, especially if their traits of autism in a number of them disable them from behaving properly without prior preparation. But the move is not a human-rights violation - it's a method of maintaining peace and order.

Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!!!

"Guests ages 10 and above are invited to dine at this establishment."

- The Walt Disney World Resort, on the Age Policy of Victoria and Albert's

'You Have to Be at Least (Insert Age Here) to Eat Here'

One of the most extreme but effective measures to curb rowdy kids is to set and enforce age restrictions. Although it may seem discriminatory to some parents (After all, even "big kids" can scream and misbehave, especially if they have autism.), it's a boon for singles, married couples with kids who leave them with babysitters, and couples with no intention of having children.

This method of creating peaceful atmospheres is especially effective in fine dining restaurants.

A good example of this is Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at the Walt Disney World Resort. For a couple of years, they restricted their patrons' ages to 10 and over. Another example is the Italian ristorante Palo on the Disney Cruise Line vessels, which bars those under 18.

Even casual eateries impose age restrictions too. The Sushi Bar at Alexandria, VA, only allows patrons 18 and up. McDains, a golf course restaurant in Monroeville, PA, only allows patrons 6 and older.

I Can't Believe the Restaurant for Over-10s is AT DISNEY!

The 'No Children' Section

Like age restrictions and the "children must behave in our restaurant" signs, child-free sections irk some parents because they segregate them with their kids from adults. But adult patrons who want a peaceful meal with no half-eaten mushy carrots garnishing their grilled salmon would benefit it. In fact, some of them even petition for separate seating.

But what if one section gets too crowded? Well, that poses a problem, especially at peak times.

Emily Post's Table Manners for Kids
Emily Post's Table Manners for Kids

Are you a big fan of the Emily Post books? This book on good table manners is sure to teach them what is and what is not acceptable on the table at any place! It’s just like putting your kids in etiquette school – without the hefty price attached to it!

 
Manners Matter: Living the Golden Rule for Kids of All Ages
Manners Matter: Living the Golden Rule for Kids of All Ages

This is an updated version of THE FAMILY BOOK OF MANNERS, but it has a section dedicated to table manners! It's a must-read for any Christian family (includes Biblical verses to reinforce the virtues in a Godly manner) as well as others from the rest of the walks of life!

 

Where's Your Table Manners?

The biggest reason why children bother fellow patrons by their misbehavior is because they lack mealtime etiquette. Sadly, the sights of masticated macaroni and cheese in their little mouths and messy clothing just annoy us. How many of you as parents ask yours to eat with their mouths closed? How many of you remind them that napkins of any kind go on their laps unfolded?

You really don't have to shell out lots of money to enroll them in a finishing/charm school. Just start table manners as soon as possible! Start your table manners at home - play restaurant or practice skills to be courteous every mealtime.

Have autistic children in tow? Don't just show pictures of the restaurant you are itching to take them to prepare them. Ask their instructor or therapist to fashion a social story on table manners! (Don't forget to have them make one on restaurant behavior!) Make sure you share them often!

Let's Try to Be Loving - Even in Restaurants!

Distract Them While They Wait

Because of their still-developing attention spans, children get antsy at a restaurant. Being bored that way can cause them to scream and pitch temper tantrums. To curb boredom, distract them with items such as crayons and coloring books, small and quiet toys, and handheld video games. You may want to pack some earplugs or earphones for children bothered by too much noise.

Don't let your children come to the restaurant hungry - offer them a slightly filling snack (preferably with fiber and protein) to tide them over.

Good for the Dad! Take the Screaming Meanie Out!

If Typhoon Tantrum's About to Hit...

If your child starts to throw a Category 5 temper tantrum, stay calm. Do not scold him in front of other patrons - just take him outside (or a bathroom if it's rainy) to cool himself off. If all attempts to calm him fail, ask the waiter for a doggy bag for your meal. Then, just leave the restaurant. Nobody wants to hear a screaming kid in an otherwise serene dining establishment, especially an upscale eatery!

Hire A Babysitter

Especially if you expect a restaurant to serve the finest dishes that scream "fancy restaurant" in your face, please leave your children with a babysitter. A cheaper alternative is to have an older relative watch them so you can enjoy your fillet mignon in peace. A restaurant with all classical music and rococo d├ęcor throughout is no place for small children, anyway.

If it's THAT elegant, I recommend that you hire a babysitter. This is Murano, which bars those under 12, on the CELEBRITY CENTURY.
If it's THAT elegant, I recommend that you hire a babysitter. This is Murano, which bars those under 12, on the CELEBRITY CENTURY. | Source

When it comes to dining out, the only types of kids most dining patrons like me hate are screaming children in restaurants. They are not prudes who want them to attend etiquette school with a curriculum that reminds them of the Victorian Era. They want not only peace and quiet in their meals, but also good behavior from others.

Good manners are important, but great dining manners from children make an enjoyable meal.

Amen, Brother!

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Comments 8 comments

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

You said a mouthful here. I so agree, parents take parenting way too lightly anymore but they need to understand a screaming kid, though tolerated by them are not the world's little darlings. Great hub.


Jackie 5 years ago

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and Hyperacusis which is very aggrevated by screaming kids. It puts me into full flight or fight mode. I have tried explaining my situation to parents, I stopped after being told i'm a monster who hates children and went home crying. Many parents have been hostile to me, and when I ask not to sit next to kids, I get this wide eyed look as if the staff just can't beeeelliieeevvveee someone wouldn't want to sit near the baybeee!

Whenever I bring this up I'm told earplugs are the magic solution, I shouldn't have to wear earplugs 24/7, and that is only part of the problem. It seems more parents feel they can act aggressively towards anyone not fawning over their child. They fail to recognize two important things:

1. When you act aggressive towards other, and create a conflict, ypu put your child in harm's way either emotionally or heaven forbid, physically.

2. When you act like you are going to glare or bully someone on the Autism Spectrum, you trigger their fight or flight response. I'm not saying parents should be able to tell who is or isn't on the spectrum, because in most cases you can't tell. It does mean you don't want to glare at someone who may have an aversion to eye contact, and see that as a sign of a threatening situation.

The best thing to do, is apologize even if you feel the other person may be in the wrong. Many parents seem to expect everyone to understand their trials and tribulations in having children, yet those same parents rarely give concern for strangers in public.

Not everyone is after you or your child, so please stop the unending drama of "Everyone is glaring at me, WHY WON'T THEY STOP!!" If people are glaring at ypu, it's your job as a parent to figure out why and resolve the situation. Not to go home to your mommy blog or forum, and in grand dramatic fashion talk about how you had to face the horrors of another day in a world where mothers are endlessly being attacked, and children are hated for no reason. Simply take your child outside, or away from the restaurant. That's it, no melodramatic story about how it's you and your innocent child facing off against a world of horrible glaring monsters, simply be responsible.


talfonso profile image

talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Thank you very much!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I went with my husband to a nice Mexican restaurant. Middle of the week, 8:00 at night so we wouldn't have to deal with children. I am in my 50's, My son and his 4 children are staying with us because he was out of work and couldn't find a job in this area. I love them all but we were trying to find some quiet time. Three couples were seated at the table right next to us with 4 accompanying children. They had a party lasting throughout our meal. They talked loud, ignored their children, children ran all over the section we were in. I got hit in the head with a flying car. I felt like I was under attack.

I finally told the child who threw the car to go sit down and be quiet. They got offended and started screaming 'baby hater'. I looked at them and said, "I don't hate children. I have 5, and 4 grandchildren living in my home right now. I make them behave also. You need to try it." They left and complained to the manager. He knows us and laughed at them. Told them not to bring their children back because I loved children and theirs must have been really raising hell for me to say something."


talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Ah! And how you've described the story really well! I don't hate kids either, but they should really practice their table manners before setting foot in even something as casual as a diner! And you really did this very well with your kids! I wish parents do the same to theirs so we won't have to face cereal in our wine!


Fred Pohl 2 years ago

I have had more than my fill of misbehaving kids and I fault the parents They need to control Their Little "Mighty Mouths "R" us plus these little Honey Boo Boo wannabes every time I see this I think there goes tommorows Juvinile delinquents


adamvalerius profile image

adamvalerius 2 years ago

@Jackie I have hyperacusis too. On the Hyperacusis message board someone else who is not a doctor was misunderstanding and labeling me with misophonia. Excuse me! My hypersensitivity applies to ALL shrill noises regardless of their source! Misophonia is "hatred" of SPECIFIC sounds. I have been looking through similar blog posts elsewhere online seeking advice for how to tolerate the squealing from customers' children so that I can get a job instead of living off Uncle Sam 100%.


adamvalerius profile image

adamvalerius 2 years ago

Another thing I forgot to mention...for me, neither earplugs nor music actually blocks kid squeals. I have to resort to blasting a white noise MP3 through noise-isolating earphones just to block kid squeals.

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