The problem: My problem is disruptive children in restaurants. We’re not talking fast food and pizza places, but wait-service restaurants. These kids are under age 5, and bound to bawl, stage a tantrum or bang a spoon on the table. Mom and Dad try to calm them, but never remove them. Or Grandma carries the child up and down the aisles, which is disruptive to others. Management doesn’t seem to know what to do. I say, like military orders, they should be carried out immediately. Sign me, “Old Guy.”

Low road: Stage a grown-up tantrum and watch how fast Grandma repacks that diaper bag and bolts.


High road: I laughed at that military comment. Thank you and enjoy your meals ready-to-eat!

Kids behaving badly in upscale restaurants is a common complaint. There was a time (your time, I’m guessing) when children were seen and not heard. They never accompanied their parents to restaurants, as such outings were reserved for special, adult occasions. Today, restaurants are varied and ubiquitous, and young parents are on the trend like tamarind on pad thai noodles. That, coupled with the fact that they’re tied emotionally to their progeny in a close (some would say smothering) way, and baby sitters are expensive, means you need to be at the ready, sir.

Call ahead and ask for a table “away from the noise” (code for screaming toddlers). Be prepared to ask for a different table if a flying crayon lands in your buttery polenta. You deserve a fine dining experience instead of a fine whining experience.

But please don’t blame the kid. It’s an attuned parent who packs snacks and distractions and keeps his or her eyes on the little prize at all times.

Soon enough, the kids will sit across from their parents (and nearby diners) transfixed on their mobile devices refusing to interact with anybody. Give me a curious toddler any day.


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