Parenting Strategies: Making Sure Our Son Behaves in Public

After a long week at work, my wife and I love going out on Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy some time together. We always bring our son with us so we can spend that time together as a family. It gets very hard to relax, though, when things go wrong in the restaurant. We often see kids misbehaving. While we understand that young kids will act up in public, it bothers us to see their parents allow it. We will not allow our son to act up at home, let alone in public.

Recent outing

In mid-September 2012, we decided to enjoy a Friday night out. We went to a new sports grille that just opened in our neighborhood. We got there early, so it was not yet crowded. We had a chance to look around and see the game room. We sat near the game room thinking we might play a few games after we eat. We changed our minds quickly when two families came in together. The kids ran straight for the game room, and the parents all sat down and began to drink.

Kids misbehaving

We knew to expect noise in a sports grille but not the kind of noise we heard. The kids kept running right past us back and forth to their tables and screaming as loudly as they could. We could hear their screams just as well from the game room. I finally got tired of the noise, so I went in to see what they were doing. Two boys were sword fighting with the pool cues, and the other two were wrestling for the pile of quarters on the table.

Parents doing nothing

I tried to let the parents know about their kids, but they ignored me and went about their business. No other adults seemed to care, either. The adult in the game room with the kids kept reading his newspaper. At least by this point, we had finished our meal and were ready to leave, so I decided not to push the issue any further. I had tried.

Make sure our son behaves

We would never allow our son to misbehave in any way. We go to restaurants to relax and enjoy ourselves. We respect those around us enough to keep our son quiet. We engage him in our conversations and do not use the game rooms as dumping grounds and ignore their behavior. I will usually go to the game room with him and play together. We do allow him to talk too loudly or run through the aisles. If he does, we remind him that other people do not want to hear it. Continued misbehavior brings penalties. We have no trouble correcting him in public and then discussing matters with him at home.

Compliments received

One night when I was very young, my mother took my five brothers and me out to eat. A lady complimented her on how well we behaved even without our father there. We knew to behave or Mom would discipline us right then; we would then get to talk with Dad when he got home. My wife and I expect the same behavior from our own son, and we have received similar compliments. We enjoy hearing them, and we have given them to other parents as well. However, we teach our son to behave not to hear the raves but to show respect for people around him who want to relax after working all week – just as we do. Even he agrees that parents need to make sure their kids behave in public.