Make Your Kid Stop Crying

There have been a lot of stories recently about restaurants, supermarkets, movie theaters, airlines, and other private businesses banning or discouraging the presence of children.

Without question, people who sneer at you when you roll through the park with four kids instead of the permissible 1.5, supermarket cashiers who won't make eye contact with you even though your kids are behaving perfectly well, the waitresses who give you crappy service before your kids even have a chance to prove that they're going to be the nightmare you think they're going to be...these are selfish people who live life only for what they can get out of it.

And that is certainly the motivation for most of this: children aren't really fully human, and are ruining the fun the real humans are trying to have.

That being said, this factor cannot be ignored. There are lots of really really really badly behaved kids out there.

Wait a second...those are the kids of the selfish people! They should never have slipped up and had kids...thankfully the birthrate of rude suburban white people is way below replacement levels. Phew!

A perfect example of what I'm speaking of is this post, where I found the picture posted above. The post is made more poignant by the fact that it's about autistic children. I'm not going to comment on autism or the raising of autistic children, but I can comment on a couple of things said by the woman who wrote the post.
Brenda Armes, the owner, says that “she got tired of hearing customers complain about screaming kids.” “We‘re not saying your child can‘t have fun. We‘re not saying your child can‘t be here.” She says that if your child is acting up, a restaurant worker will ask you to take the child outside.
This is a family restaurant, but not a family friendly restaurant. It is also not an Autism Friendly restaurant. I am offended that a restaurant like this would have this policy. I visit Carolina Beach several times a year. I have eaten at this restaurant. Luckily, they did not have this policy during our visits.
This restaurant is discriminating against families with babies. This restaurant is discriminating against families with young children.
That's simply not the case. Later in her post, the author asks how often the reader has been to a restaurant and behaved like a "perfect angel"? I can honestly answer, nearly always. And if my children were misbehaving to the point of interfering with others enjoying their meal, I would take the kid(s) oustside...possibly even leave. In fact, when we have infants, we sometimes do.

I have four kids, ages seven to two. And I'm not telling you we're the perfect parents, or that you should do things the way we do things. But if you can't sail into a casual restaurant with the confidence that your kids aren't going to freak out or misbehave, that's on you. Figure it out.

The idea that you should be able to live your life exactly as you did before you had kids, to go to all the same places whenever you want to, is ridiculous. I mentioned that when we have infants, we have been known to leave a place early. Mostly this means that we change our habits when we have a baby; on the other hand, we make sure they're ready to go out and behave well early on. You and your children should always be well-mannered; don't put your kids in situations they can't handle, and be prepared to cut your own fun short if your children have been overtried. That's part of the deal.

There's a great FoxNews video at the bottom of the autism post. From it we can garner that a woman with an autistic child compared herself to Rosa Parks, that the owner of the restaurant seems to have an abrasive personality, and that talking heads are actually capable of some incisive commentary (at the end of the segment).

I do often feel that parents with obnoxious loud kids are ruining things for the rest of us. But that's part of the terrain we have to deal with. A couple of years back we went to a Cuban restaurant that had just opened. We went early, around five, and were seated all the way in the back, even though we were the only customers in the place. That annoyed me a little, but wasn't really a big deal. We ordered and enjoyed our meal. The kids behaved just fine. The service was good. At the end of the meal, as I perused the menu for future reference, I saw a note at the bottom of the back of the menu: children under such-and-such an age not allowed. No other qualifications, no exceptions for parental accompaniment, no definition of inappropriate behavior. The only real problem I had with this was that it was completely unreasonable for the town and district it was located in; we live in a kid-heavy, few-fancy-restaurants area. I thought it was bad business; I even did my part to make sure it turned out to be bad business: even though I love Cuban food, I never ever go in there. But I'm not going to bad-mouth them, unless it's to say that $10 is too much for a Cuban sandwich. There's a reason restaurants that aren't Texas Roadhouse or Friday's or a local greasy spoon diner cringe when they see kids come in: there are lots of obnoxious kids out there, making life hard on the staff and all the other customers.

Here's the first step: can you get your kids to behave at your own dinner table?

P.S. You can send your rants about what a mean person I am here, or you can simply post a comment below. I especially hope to get messages about how my children must be sad, uncool, browbeaten little darklings who walk around with frownies on their faces. And it's true. We're a sad, unhappy little family of brown-haired trolls.


  1. When I have a night out with my wife, away from our two children, I admit that I try to go somewhere that is unlikely to have children around. However, if I go somewhere on one of these nights, and there are children there, I do not think that someone should not have allowed the kids into the place. This strikes me as a wrong way of thinking. There is, I think, validity to the argument that there are some places where children do not belong, and it seems that the people willing to take their children to these places are also the ones that have children that are not well behaved. I’m sure this is just the other side of the bad parenting coin: if you are too self-centered to alter your social life around your children, you are probably too self-centered to actually teach your kids anything except how to be self centered; forget about manners.
    I have always taken my children anywhere I thought their behavior allowed. My children, partly through natural temperament, and partly through parental guidance, are always polite and well behaved (well, maybe not always). I have never felt as though there was a place that I couldn’t take them because their behavior would be an issue. There are places that I haven’t, and wouldn’t, take them because they are not really places for children.
    I have found that being a parent does require that you alter every facet of your lifestyle, and those that insist on taking children where they don’t belong, or those who take their children places that their children’s behavior will not allow, are, in my opinion, bad parents.

  2. My wife and I have one simple rule for dining out with or without kids. If there's not a kid's menu, the kids don't get to eat there. It's that simple. No kids menu clearly means that kids are not welcomed. It's that simple, we don't have to make this a civil rights issue or discuss what's fair in a society. The restaurant owner made a business decision, if I don't like it, I don't have to go there.

  3. The tone of the sign is abrasive. It would be enough to make me rethink my restaurant choice even though my kids behave at the dinner table. A sign the read, "Disruptive Children Should be Taken Outside or You May Be Asked to Leave," would be understandable, but not this. A little irrelevant though because everyone knows the better restaurants are in Wrightsville Beach and downtown Wilmington :-)

    As for the autism factor.... As a mom of a special needs kid who also happens to be a sometimes-disruptive toddler I know that there is a good chance I will have to take him outside until the food comes and he will be busy eating. There are also times when his mood is particularly questionable but for whatever reason we still need to go out and chance it, in these instances we take two cars.

    The fact is that this IS NOT an autistic friendly restaurant and that's their right, but just as some movie theaters show autistic-friendly movies (lights up, people can bring there own gluten-free snacks, volume is at a more normal level) some restaurants may decide there's a niche in kid-friendly and autistic friendly attitudes. And let's face it, many are with kids eat free nights and gluten free menu sections.

  4. Being that my wife and I do not yet have children, I'm not sure if I have the right to comment on the subject but here I go. I know there are some really difficult kids out there and even know a few quite well, but when I see these kids behaving such ways in public I cant help to think back to my own childhood. When I was a child I would have made it about three seconds before my dad took me from this world into the next if I were to make a scene in a public place. And the amazing thing is that I knew that so it only took my father giving me that unmistakable look, that look that says your about half an inch from certain doom, to bring me back to a proper demeanor. I guess with that being said its frustrating to watch parents today begging and pleading with or threatening there kids to try and persuade them to behave. I have a great love for my father and my father does for me but the lines were clearly drawn as to how I was to act in public. Guess it was a different time though.

  5. Oh and great post by the way.

  6. Faydra, I wanted to be very careful not to comment on autism. I ended up using that story because the writer also shares the general attitude regarding all children, i.e. if you're annoyed by my kid you hate children.

    As for kid-friendly, every Monday night the Swait's roll into Mojo's Burgers for kids eat free night. And I might even have a pint. We just fit the two kids per parent limit. :-)

  7. Trolls who regularly sit with their parents at the dinner table probably have a much better chance of making it work at the restaurant. Nonetheless, fights, tantrums, and other inconvenient behavior can happen in public. Parents who recognize the inherent trollness of their own children can have a plan in place before it happens and perhaps are better equipped to avoid becoming part of the problem. Mojo's rocks!

  8. Joffre, Having met your children on multiple occasions, in my own establishment, I can certainly vouch that their manners are impeccable in such a setting. So much so, in fact, that my own occasionally unruly children cannot help but take notice and comment to this effect.

    I can only hope, for your sake, they are as well behaved at home as they are in public. You have raised (and continue to) some wonderfully well behaved little Swaits.

  9. Very kind words, Chris, thanks. They're almost as good at home. :-)

  10. I know this is an older post but I love it. I have a toddler of my own and one on the way, and I've left social situations (or just said no outright) many, many times. It's about knowing your children... sometimes she's just overtired, or I didn't do a good enough job of preparing her to go out in the first place (bad timing, or she's hungry, or she hasn't gotten to run around enough yet today). Of course, sometimes those situations are unavoidable, and that's the perfect opportunity to lovingly teach her some self-control. You don't need self-control when everything is good... you need it when you're struggling.

    On the other hand, my own daughter sometimes drives me nuts. That's just what kids do, and people should show some grace in those situations. :)

  11. I'm single and childless, so I can only comment from the other side of the experience. Personally I have no problem being around kids in a restaurant, as long as the aren't screaming or running around crashing into things. In fact I like seeing big families with well-behaved kids when I'm at restaurants, because it gives me more faith that there are still good parents in the world.


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