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What Would You Do? – Unruly Children In Diner

Today starts a new series of posts using the ABC News episodes of “What Would You Do?”

If a warning appears that this video is not permitted to be viewed on this web site, please disregard. I obtained the embed code directly from ABC News Youtube video for this using the “embed” link provided. Embedding was not disabled for this. Admin

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Felisd September 7, 2012, 5:02 pm

    “The issue I see with electronic games as a distraction for children is that it does not encourage the children to participate in conversation or social interaction. Sure, they stay quiet, but they aren’t interacting with anyone around them either. ”

    I don’t have kids myself, except for a step daughter I see on a part time basis, but speaking as an only child who grew up surrounded almost exclusively by adults (none of my parents’ friends had kids until I was close to 10), kids don’t always want to listen to the conversations and social interactions with the grownups around they are out with.

    Sure, for the first 10 minutes you’re there, they’ll ask you questions about your school, what activities you’re doing this year, etc., but then they start talking amongst themselves about things most kids have no interest in, like the economy, politics, the issues with getting a mortgage these days, or this conversation they had with a co-worker about a tv show the kid doesn’t watch with themes that are over the kid’s head (like Mad Men or Lost), or relating a funny story about a mutual friend’s marriage situation. Snore-fest!

    The kid has very little idea about what the adults are talking about and little to add to the conversation. If they do try to add something to the conversation, the adults often don’t listen and talk over them, or think it’s precious that the 6 year old has an opinion about Barak Obama’s chances of getting re-elected. Which is why I always brought a book with me when I had to go eat with my parents and their friends (this is before PDAs). That’s not to say I never talked to them. My parents said that when I first meet up with their friends, I must greet them all by name. But after that, my time was my own.

    Did it stunt my social interaction skills later on? Not much. I had interactions enough with adults and that I was always considered polite and well-behaved, and I interacted way more with kids my own age in school so that I didn’t have any issues later on.

    Expecting children to act like little adults who are interested in the same kind of things as adults and expecting them to want to participate in conversations that they, by virtue of being young, may not necessarily have the attention span or capability to understand yet, and where the adults may not want to talk about kid things, is a perfect setup for acting up on by the kid.

    Far better for them to have an “out” in a book or a handheld and enjoy that while they can. (There are times I wish I could have that “out” again when I have to sit through the fifth repetition of my uncle’s minute-by-minute recounting of that one time he went to the store and saw a first edition something-or-other, but then he got terrible service, so he says to the clerk, he says…)

  • Amanda H. September 8, 2012, 11:09 am

    @Felisd: I agrea wholeheartedly. I see nothing wrong with distractions for the children, including handheld games and ipads/iphones/whatever. The problem is when the parent’s idea of distractions is bringing every noisy, disruptive toy they have in the house and nothing quiet like books or crayons and paper or handheld games or whatever. That’s just setting themselves up for failure.

    I have a similar situation to yours. When I was in my early-mid teens, my family went to an aunt’s wedding and reception. The problem was that on this side of the family, I was the oldest grandchild by a fair margin (not counting my younger sisters), and my aunt’s friends didn’t have children my age. My options were either to try to entertain myself with all the younger kids, or sit in on the adults’ conversations, which were boring to me at the time (and often as not involved alcohol, at least outside my immediate family). Thankfully I’d brought a book. After being sure to congratulate my aunt and her new husband and thank them for the invite, I was allowed to find a table to sit at and read for the duration of the event, which was a sanity-saver. My siblings had cousins they could (and wanted to) play with, my parents socialized with the adults, and I got to sit out of the way and enjoy myself.

  • Nicole September 8, 2012, 11:02 pm

    I wasn’t allowed any sort of handheld or book when we went out to dinner. It was considered rude to bring those things while other people were eating, and I still believe it’s rude now. But, then again, I don’t have children yet…so….

    But…I did have a brother around my same age, so I mostly just talked to him quietly, or we would both talk to our parents during the meal. My attention span, and his, weren’t so short that a 20-30 minute lunch/dinner with the family in a public place had to be “filled in” with some sort of a game or book. Plus, it was so rare that we went out as a family, that it was understood that we would be in our best behavior anyway. It was like a treat, mostly, and treated as such.

    …I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish by posting…I just figured I’d put out my two cents.

  • Snarkastic September 10, 2012, 11:16 am

    I do agree that it’s a matter of how you were raised, however, my parents didn’t have to use force to get me to behave. I managed to survive childhood without turning into a miniature heathen. My cousins on the other hand…

  • Snarkastic September 10, 2012, 1:20 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s rude to read books and play games at dinner, no matter how young you are. My cousins on the other hand…

  • barbarian September 22, 2012, 12:02 pm

    When I go to church, I am surprised at the growing number of parents of small children who bribe them to behave with snacks and electronic devices during the service. I can understand quietly looking at a book or coloring a picture, but children need to learn early and quickly that there will be times when they are expected to be quiet and bored for certain periods of time.

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