Parent Won’t Take Charge; Should the Rest of Us?


I was having dinner with a friend of mine the other night, and at one point, I noticed him waving to someone in the booth behind us. I turned to see a cute little boy, maybe four years old or so, waving back at him.

He was cute as a button.

He was sitting with two women in their late twenties or early thirties who were engrossed in conversation. I didn’t hear what they were talking about, nor did I care to try to listen.

My friend and I went on with our conversation. I felt a tap on my shoulder a few months later, and I turned to see the little boy. I said “Hi” with a smile, then turned back to my friend.

About a minute later, it happened again. And again.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to say. I mean, the boy wasn’t trying to be rude, but what he was doing was very rude. The problem, clearly, was his mother, who was either completely oblivious to what her child was doing, or just didn’t care.

I turned enough to make eye contact with the woman seated across from the little boy, who acted like it was no big deal.

After a few more minutes consisting of him tapping on my shoulder every so often, my friend and I decided it was time to head out anyway, so we left.

I didn’t say anything to the adults at the table, but felt that I should have.

So I leave it to you: what would you say to them in such a situation if you had just arrived for dinner and a child started pestering you the whole time? Would you ask the mother to make the child stop? Would you ask your server to say something? Or would you just ask for a different table?

It’s a shame that there are parents who are unwilling to monitor children sitting right next to them that would cause this kind of question to begin with, but some parents are just beyond lazy.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • I probably would have said firmly but with a smile, "Do you want me to see if they have any crayons for you up front?" or "Maybe should should finish your sandwich, eh?" QUITE LOUDLY so that the women would have had to be 100% deaf to not hear you. If that didn't work, a complaint to the waitress might have been in order. Any further discussions directly with the kid would eventually have led the adults to send evil ped0phile looks your way, unfortunately, since they weren't really aware of what was going on and it's so much easier to blame someone else than take responsibility for oneself.

    On the other hand, I flirt with kids all the time in restaurants, so this wouldn't have been that big a deal for me, unless I was really having the kind of conversation that can't be interrupted. In any case, one can't punish the kid for acting his age.

  • Absolutely you should have said something! At least I would have anyways…being a new parent, I would hope that if my child were doing something wrong it would be brought to my attention in a polite, respectful manner. Having said that, my kid isn't going to be given the freedom to run willy nilly through the restaurant either. It all comes back to discipline and raising your children correctly.

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