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Kids eating in SE1

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Thursday 10 September 2009 1.28am
At the start of this thread, I was tempted to point out that 'screaming' and 'children' are actually two separate words. What is sad is the perception that children in restaurants are a nightmare per se and so there is immediately a situation where both parents and other diners are anxious. As Sophie has said, it really is a rare minority who sit back and allow their children to get out of control - most parents are hyper aware of the impact on others but unless children gain experience, how will they learn what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour?

Spending on eating out has doubled in the past 15 years and more money is now spent on eating out than food at home so I'm not sure that Gwynaethva's assertion that 'for most of us, a meal out is a luxury' - eating out is a normal regular occurrence - in fact, more likely a luxury for the parents due to the sheer logistics of getting there. So, whilst a culture of families in restaurants (God forbid!) is still not as embedded as in other countries such as Spain and Italy, it's not going to diminish and as there's been quite a baby boom in SE1 over the past few years, maybe we all have to get used to it and adjust our behaviour and our tolerance levels?

We're not exactly talking fine dining - no toddlers chucking foie gras in Claridges (yet). The restaurants mentioned, Ottolenghi and Del Aziz, are very informal and aimed at a wide range of clientele - certainly Ottolenghi is aimed at yummy mummies so steer well clear or you might even witness a spot of breastfeeding. Even better, find somewhere more child unfriendly - The Garrison is a no go for anyone with a pushchair and further afield somewhere like Andrew Edmunds would be near impossible to get a child into - otherwise, up the stakes and hit Magdalen and you'll be guaranteed a night of adult sophistication, no doubt with a few exhausted looking couples who managed to get a babysitter.
Thursday 10 September 2009 9.16am
I suspect, and I could be wrong, that most of those complaining about children in restaurants will change their views when, and if, they have their own children....I know I did. It makes you grow up....
Thursday 10 September 2009 10.49am
shaggy wrote:
It makes you grow up....

Sorry but I'm not raising to that bait. I'm not that immature! lol
Thursday 10 September 2009 2.50pm
Shaggy I think you are absolutely right.
Thursday 10 September 2009 3.18pm
This subject seems to be a hot potato, (no pun intended.)
I think that it may be a generational thing.
The older the poster, the more that they appear dismayed at not just how badly children can sometimes behave in a public place, but also at how virulently their parents defend that behaviour, and wax indignant that other people don't accept it as a learning and developing curve.
Brought up in an age of austerity I cannot recall ever going to a restaurant with my parents, but I certainly took my tribe to various establishments as they were growing up, and we are not talking Wimpy Bars or Burger King here.
The thing is, they were educated in what is and is not acceptable before they were let loose on the public, with the result that at the first sign of anything untoward all that was necessary was a meaningful look or a quiet word and that was that.
Debrajoan found herself lightly damned by Sarah2 and categorised as "the likes of Debrajoan" when she submitted what appeared to me to be a perfectly reasonable post on the subject.
Serge appears to have an open and fair attitude to all by his postings but is ever so gently castigated by Trevor, who by offering an apology in advance to anyone who may encounter his children when they are presumably having an off day is merely saying, "They're children, what do you expect? Tough luck, suck it up."
Even poor Ivanhoe, that most erudite of contributors is blithely labelled a Super Nanny for having the temerity to state that he would question boorish behaviour should he encounter it while he was dining out.
To sum up, there appears to be a wide, unbridgeable gulf between the generations, the older one who cannot conceive of allowing children to misbehave in public, and the now generation whose attitude appears to be, "Dinosaurs, get over yourself, this is how it is now, get used to it."
Friday 11 September 2009 6.01am
I am 43. I never thought I was a dinosaur(just joking, I really don't mind!)! I have a 7 year old half brother and I know it is difficult for him to remain still at a table but we don't impose his normal lack of patience to other diners in any restaurant.
And as far as Trevor is concerned, I have NEVER been to a restaurant where people are drunk. I hope your "petites tĂȘtes blondes" don't have to experience that as it can be very traumatic for them!
Friday 11 September 2009 9.31am
In the interests of detente, I think Tom's summary is fair.

I don't agree with all parts of the rest of it - but he wouldn't expect me to as I'm one of the 'now generation'. There was a fair bit of not so gentle castigation as well - see Bloggies's post on lazy parenting.

As for poor Ivanhoe, I think that the fact that he would challenge boorish behaviour is admirable.

But the question was actually to Serge. Challenging the behaviour of parents and children one third his size is one thing - but would he take it to the streets and really openly challenge drunks or for that matter people who litter, put their feet on seats, spit, swear, let their dogs poo without cleaning up behind them, dodge fares and on and on and on...

Really? - It sounds exhausting.
Friday 11 September 2009 10.29am
I can see Tom's point - even though I'm in my early thirties.

However, perhaps my view comes because I too was raised in a very loving family but with rather firm hand. We were often taken to restaurants and if we started to misbehave, either a look from my mother or father or a 'You've got one last chance' always worked a treat on my sister and I. I find that a lot of children, in London particularly, think that they are in charge and their parents let them behave like it.

I often go out with my best friend and her two and a half year old. We even went for Sunday lunch in Village East on Sunday and she is very well behaved, so it's not that I don't like children (I'll refrain from the joke about not being able to eat a whole one, in case it gets misconstrued!)

I think the problem with these types of threads is people make generalisations and then other people perhaps think 'MY children aren't like that'... and respond with all guns blazing and then it all just escalates.
Friday 11 September 2009 10.51am
All children are evil. FACT!
Friday 11 September 2009 11.21am
"Any man who hates small dogs and children can't be all bad". I admit I'm besotted by both, but they're my own and exceptional.
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