This news story hit home for me this week. I believe that the pizza place is in the right and that it is sad that parents have to be reminded about these simple kind of courtesy's.
Here is what happened to us. Every Wednesday I take my kids to a Story and Craft Hour at the local library. This program is geared toward kids 5-9 and younger siblings are welcome. This past Wednesday there was a larger than normal group of kids and there were 2 families there that just didn't know when to call it a day and leave. First there was a Mom with 4 kids. The younger boys were just not able to sit still while the story was being read. They were spinning, talking, at one point one was literally trying to climb the wall. A complete distraction. The Mom alternated between doing 2 things, crocheting and packing up the kids (talk about distracting) and heading out the door only to come back in a few minutes later. She seriously did this 3 times.
And she was not the worst offender. There was a Dad there was his little girl who looked to be about 3 years old. She would not sit in one place. She kept talking, getting up and wandering to the craft tables. The librarian had to repeatedly stop the story to ask the little girl to sit down and be quiet. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Dad’s reaction to all this made it a million times worse. He scolded the little girl over and over. He also does not know how to whisper because he was so loud. He threatened her with leaving about 25456 times. He would grab her and wrestle her into a sitting position on the floor. He was literally chasing her around the tables and even hit her a few times. This made the little girl angrier and eventually lead to tears. All this while the poor librarian was trying to read to the kids. And my poor kid was obviously uncomfortable with the whole situation. It was a total utter mess.
This pizza place I feel has the right idea. They understand that kids are going to be noisy and will sometimes cry but there is a difference between normal behavior and out of your control behavior. When your child has crossed the line and it being distracting to everyone around them and you cannot control them you have reached a new level. As the parent you need to deal with the situation and be respectful of the people around you.
My Mom always jokes that I was such a pain in public as a baby that they just didn’t go anywhere. With my kids I took a different approach. I felt that in order for them to learn how to behave in public, they needed to be in public places. We have always taken our kids everywhere. But if my child's behavior is beyond the normal and I cannot control her I immediately leave the situation. I didn’t threaten to leave a million times. I just leave. I can remember a grocery shopping trip where my daughter would not stop crying and yelling. Probably for cookies. When I realized that I had lost control, I immediately took her from the cart and left my full cart in the aisle and left the store.
Watching this Dad chase around his kid made me so angry. I felt that my kid, and the other kids who were sitting quietly, were getting gipped because this parent did not have the sense to realize that his child was not ready for such a structured setting. That his reaction was making everyone around him uncomfortable. I wanted to say something. I wanted to say “I don’t think your daughter is ready for this. Maybe you should leave, take her home and talk to her about how to behave in this kind of situation and try coming back in a few weeks.” Of course I didn't. But I wanted to.
What do you think about how these pizza place handled the situation? How to you handle your kids in public? How do you handle other people's out of control kids?