Kids That Don’t Belong “At Lunch”

by Eden on December 28, 2011

Now that it’s “winter break” for elementary schools, this means I’m enjoying a detox from my cooking students. I was having lunch the other day, I realized some kids can really kill the dining out experience. I’d like to think that I’m actually good at handling kids (with me teaching them how to cook and all during the school year). But I’ll admit it: sometimes they make you want to drive your head through a wall – yea, even if you’re related to them.

So you can just imagine what strangers think of them.

If there are any servers reading this, before you quit your jobs, remember they’ll be gone in about 30 minutes. If not, spike their sprite/cranberry/lemonade concoction with a roofie.
 Here are the five kid situations that get on my nerves:
5) The Screamer.
“Why are they screaming like they have Tourette’s syndrome?” Enough said.
If you actually have Tourette’s syndrome, continue screaming.

If they only came with a mute button or a "silent mode"....like an iphone

4) The Silent, But Deadly Kid
One second ago, they were crying bloody murder; now, you can’t get them to open their mouths for a drink order. Who knew ordering water was a torturing device used in Guantanamo Bay?
BEWARE: This situation could easily turn into a scream fest.

He's like a fart: silent, but deadly

3) The Picky Eater.
Typical order: pizza sans sauce and sans cheese.  Two seconds later, they change their order to chicken nuggets with extra fries. Once the order arrives, one of the following occurs:
  • food remains untouched
  • the food is sent back (a piece of parsley made its way onto the fries),
  • Parents eat the food (usually the mom who is obviously dieting/starving and won’t order a real meal while her un-dressed salad isn’t making a dent in her satiety)
  • the food is taken to go (i.e., their dog will eat the untouched chicken nuggets after they sit in the fridge for two days).

 

2) The Gamer.
I have lots of these in my cooking class. They don’t interact with anyone at the table or anyone in the restaurant, for that matter. This type of kid is “IN THE ZONE.” You can try to tickle and torture them all you want, but they won’t budge. Their gaming device costs more than what the server makes on a good night in tips and the kid’s only 10 years old. On the brightside, I’m sure he’ll have a flourishing social life.
1) The Runner.
They may or may not have ADHD, but they can’t sit still in their seats. Funny thing is, the kids in my class that DO have ADHD are actually the tame ones because their parents put them on meds to help them focus. Anyhow, they run around the restaurant like they’re Ninja Turtles (anybody remember that? Anybody? Bueller?). Flying plates, spilled food, crying children. Boom. The restaurant turns into Chuck-E-Cheese.

Lovely.

Look, I don’t hate kids. Well, not always. I mean, I was a kid once (even though I’d like to think I wasn’t any of these resturant culprits).

pouting at its finest

But please, parents out there: unless your kid is Stewie Griffin, take caution before you bring him to lunch.
What do you think about kids in restuarants? Should they be allowed in fancy establishments? What type of kid diner annoys you the most?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess December 29, 2011 at 2:41 am

As a long time server and restaurant manager, I can tell you that 99% of the time the problem is not the kids, it is the mums.
I have had parents ask waitresses at my restaurant to clean up the vomit their child has just done on the floor. For real. Also- if your child is throwing crayons/french fries/dropping everything on the floor, you need to deal with it. And finally, finally, if your child is running around and around the restaurant in circles and you are too busy chatting with you mommy friends to discipline them, I will ask you to leave. And tell off your child. Booyah.

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Abby December 29, 2011 at 4:35 am

I was going to say what Jess said, in that I don’t blame the kids, but rather blame the parents. I don’t eat out unless traveling, but I used to be a server as well. While most kids are fine and just little people with curious minds, the brats are the ones who have completely ignorant parents. Whether it’s in a restaurant, the mall or a grocery store, parents need to have some sense of decency and respect if their kids start acting demonic.

Going to a restaurant isn’t a ticket for a free babysitter–the server. Keep your kids in check, people.

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Jess December 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I can remember every time a mother has tidied up the bits of crap her kids have dropped all over the floor before leaving the restaurant. I say mother, because both times it happened it was a mum. I say both times because it has only happened twice.* I was so pathetically grateful each time that they are etched into my memory forever.

*The restaurant I work in is in the poshest part of London, so a lot of the customers are used to having servants. This isn’t reflective of all parents everywhere I hope.

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Heidi December 29, 2011 at 5:19 am

I have kids and I have taken them to fancy restaurants from time to time-mainly for holidays or family celebrations, never just because I felt like it because really, I don’t need that kind of stress in my life by choice! 90% of the time they are really good. Although I can never relax because I’m always waiting for something to go wrong! That other 10% of the time I take them out to the car where we wait until everyone else is ready to leave because I don’t want to ruin everyone’s meal with my screaming child.

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Eden December 29, 2011 at 8:13 am

thatst the thing, i think i i had kids i wouldn’t bring them just cause I would be worried the whole time even if they did end up behaving well. and to be honest, some kids behave better than some adults I know ;)

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Emily December 29, 2011 at 6:50 am

My kids can definitely throw down and be little terrors from time to time, but they generally behave themselves in restaurants. The real question I have is, why is the food at kid-friendly restaurants usually so crappy?

I think your cooking class sounds awesome!

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Eden December 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

ha, no way. i think I’m a terrible teacher. I’m way better at teaching adults. ;)

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StoriesAndSweetPotatoes December 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’d say “the screamer” is the kid I don’t want out in public at all, certainly not while I’m trying to enjoy a meal. All those kids are screaming is “I have horrible parents”.

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Shannon December 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

The worst ones are the ones who are family to the owners of the restaurant. Cuz, you know, they have every right in the world to run all around the crowded dining room, screaming and yelling. And the servants… ahem, sorry, servers, aren’t allowed to say anything because it’ll offend the parents. BUT, of course, the servers and front desk staff are the ones who are expected to take care of the little shits.

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Kris December 29, 2011 at 8:50 am

I pretty much agree with Jess + Abby, it isn’t the poor kids fault most of the time, it is the parents. I have many friends with kids (heh) and MOST of them are awesome attentive parents. their kids are a JOY, where the worst thing that happens at a restaurant is they might spill their drink, which happens to anyone.

I have said for years I am too selfish to have kids – I had so many other things I wanted to do! for years I went after great jobs and I traveled and had fun, thinking “I’ll have kids later”. nope, still don’t want them. now it’s still a blend of “selfishly” wanting to keep my lifestyle (of, HA, going out to restaurants a lot!) and… this world is just too messed up. the sad thing is I LOVE kids, and everyone tells me I should be a parent. ah, well. we spend time with others kids.

I’m off topic now. it takes a lot for me not to trip a kid as they run by my table screaming. I do shoot a glare at the parents.

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Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty December 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

As a server who works in casual fine dining: I’m with everyone else – kids will be kids. If the ADULTS can’t control them, take them to a kid friendly/oriented establishment… I am NOT here to babysit your little fucker. I make minimum wage – most babysitters make double what I do these days. SO: leave the little bastards at home or control them. Period.

Re Betty: I have made the choice not to have children because like you my dear, am also too selfish to be bothered. I like my lifestyle and the freedom it allows me. And while I get that those with children have rights as much as anyone else, you CHOSE to have kids (well, most of the time). There are certain social repercussions/limitations for that – if that means not going to dine out in classy establishments until your ‘lil one can behave accordingly, deal with it.

I like kids as much as the next person, but i want to be able to A: do my job effectively – which I can’t do if I’m chasing your kid around the restaurant trying to get him to stop blowing out all the candles on the tables and B: enjoy my meal.

P.S. if you bring a gaming console or an Ipad or whatever to entertain your kid at the table, please don’t forget the headphones. Do you have any idea how irritating and mood-ruining it is to listen to little high speed bombs going off in the background of your meal??

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Sarah December 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

I think kids should be allowed in nicer restaurants so they learn how to behave – but perhaps a curfew would be best – say for the early bird meal only, then adults can book in later to avoid the kids.

I avoid kid oriented restaurants if possible, not having kids myself.

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Kris December 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

oh, and also?

I would pay more for an airline ticket that was adult only. hm, adult only makes it sound weird… lets say, if you can get into an R rated movie, you can get on the plane. :D

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Missy December 29, 2011 at 11:23 am

Eating with my 18 year old nephew is torture.
He doesn’t wash his hair often, he chews with his mouth open, licks his lips, shoves the food in and talks only to complain about the food.

Boys are gross.

I’d probably prefer the crazy kiddos to him.
(Is it mean if it’s true?)

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Adi December 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

I am not sure how many of you have kids but I have 3 boys under 3 1/2 years old. While I do get stressed like Heidi when I take them out and while I will take them to the car if they are acting up in anyway. I also have friends with kids that are unruly at the table. I believe that we all have to remember that they are human just like us with a lot less ability to express themselves the way we do. I have seen some crazy things at restaurants from adults that we as a society excuse because they are adults ie. drunk and impropriate behavior, loud bachelor/et parties, couples breaking up, of course the nasty old people that make more of a mess then my 2 year old, also lets not forget the When Harry meet Sally type person how could drive you crazy by the way they order their food with “everything on the side” and still find fault with it, And of course the “BAD TIPPER” (you servers do live off your tips. RIGHT???) I might add that I tip between 20-25% because I have kids and I know how servers feel about kids you can see it on their face. How many of the people I mentioned above do that not much I can garanty you that.
I believe we all need to learn tolerance, control, and kindness. That is what I try to teach my kids when we go to a restaurant and they see some “hand capable” person drooling and dropping food, or shouting out in a Tourette’s outburst. Be kind and understand that we are all doing our best.
Like I said correction of a young child is important, but as adults we have to self correct.
Sorry so long winded, it just hurts me to see any group left out or discriminated against weather it be age (old or young) sex, and race. Plus these little people are our future and will be taking care of us I would like them to respect me the way I respect them now.

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Kris December 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

“correction of a young child is important” – yep, and since you are aware of this, and get stressed thinking your kids could act up, I am willing to bet your kids aren’t the ones talked about here (at least not the ones I’m talking about).

I am kind and tolerant of unruly children when I cannot remove myself from the situation (and I would never really trip a kid), but there are many parents out there that do not “try their best”. kids from those parents are the ones I’m talking about.

I’m not going to comment on equating this thread to age, sex, race or handicap discrimination, because that is something altogether (that I don’t tolerate).

I’m thinking if I were in the same restaurant with you and your kids, I wouldn’t even hear them. I am not one to immediately react at just seeing a child, or even hearing them a little (same volume as the the other voices; kids who run wild etcetera without consequence or attention that annoy me, and like I said before, that is the parent’s fault – I never fault the kids! The way you seem to interact with your kids IS to be respected.

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Kris December 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

* something altogether different.

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Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty December 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

i agree – intersections of race, class, age, gender, sexuality, etc… is a completely different ballgame.

but i do appreciate that you don’t tolerate the bad child dining behavior and I applaud you for that. you are an exception though. most people who bring their kids into restaurants don’t rectify the child’s behavior or their own. and MOST actually tip LESS than the standard 15% even though I work my ass off cleaning up after them, babysitting, etc… you are valued as a customer I am sure and as a parent – keep up the good work!

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janetha December 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

i don’t want kids.

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Mary Legare Whaley December 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Ditto. Standing ovation/slow clap (I know others are clapping along with me).

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umbrellasr4sissies December 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I don’t dislike children, but i hate Chuck-e-Cheeze!!! Its like a punishment for the “grown-up” crowd. And if you’re a parent and don’t want to leave tips, you can just go to The McDonalds. Then serve yourself ! ! ! :>)) An enormous portion of soda or ketchup or whatever and not be tipping anyone ….

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Mary Legare Whaley December 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I admittedly can’t stand children at restaurants or in church. Children and babies in restaurants infuriate me, I think it’s incredibly inconsiderate of the parents. I think a lot of parents tolerate the screaming and crying because they have become immune to it (I, on the other hand, am not). A screaming baby raises my blood pressure, like whoa…I think they should NOT be allowed at any non-chain restaurant past 4 PM. Take them to Outback and Applebee’s. I won’t be at either of those eateries. But when your kid starts screaming, go outside or leave. As far as your obnoxious children labels go…my 2 least desirable eating companions would be the “Screamer” and the “Runner”. Combined, it’s my worst nightmare…

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) December 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

All of those kids annoy me …. especially the picky eater. I was a very well behaved kid at the dinner table, and I expect the same from my future children.

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melissanibbles December 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Children are revolting. Leave them home.

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Eden December 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Just don’t leave them with me. I’m not a great sitter, obviously.

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