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Shrieks Of Dining Joy

What would you do in this situation?

Ifyou think saying something will have any effect on the situation, watch this:

While the scenario is different, it’s a baby shrieking in distress as opposed to a toddler shrieking for the sheer fun of it, the surrounding diners don’t appear to be bothered by the disruption.

Saying something to the parents never works. Never. It’s a recipe for even more drama. I’ve concluded that the only option is to ask the manager to move you to a table farther away, if possible. The silent act of having your entire meal packed up and moved does speak volumes that you do not prefer to be in close proximity to that much noise, distraction and chaos.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • shoegal October 31, 2018, 7:51 am

    I’d do nothing. A baby is one thing – the shrieking toddler another. Sometimes toddlers take a stand and throw tantrums – those parents have my sympathy. There is nothing you can do but to let them cry and have it out and to see it is having no effect on you. The toddler who is shrieking for fun – and the parents don’t even attempt to stop it will be hearing that for quite awhile and don’t have my respect. Toddlers can be controlled but not when there is no effort made.

    • Gena October 31, 2018, 9:08 am

      I disagree about “nothing you can do”. You can remove them from the scene.

    • Queen of Putrescence October 31, 2018, 10:08 am

      Believe me I have let a toddler scream it out and I just turn away and ignore the tantrum. Or the random screaming. But only at home. If I were at a restaurant and my toddler was throwing a tantrum, one of us would be carrying the kid out the door to the car where they could sit and do nothing but scream. My husband could get my meal to go.

      The parents of tantrum throwing toddlers definitely have my sympathy but the parent has to take a stand if they are in public.

      Crying infants? Been there and the parents have my sympathy.

    • Kitty November 1, 2018, 11:52 am

      There are things one can do. The child can be taken to the toilets, so it can scream its tantrum out in a place that is less likely to bother multiple people.

  • Kry October 31, 2018, 7:57 am

    As a mum I understand that babies cry and toddlers sometimes scream but deliberately taking them to upscale dining establishments where people are often trying to get away from that? Not on your life!
    When a similar toddler situation happened to me I first asked to be moved and when that couldn’t happen I cancelled my order and left, telling the staff why.

  • JD October 31, 2018, 8:28 am

    When my youngest was an infant, up until she was 3 years old, her behavior in restaurants followed a pattern: she would smile for a while, then make a small noise of displeasure. The noises would come more frequently until she finally erupted into a loud cry. One of us would immediately take her out of the restaurant, while the other finished his/her meal and watched our older child as she ate. When about 20 minutes had passed, the one walking the baby outside came in, handed the baby to the other parent, who then went outside with the baby, and the first parent sat down and finished his/her meal with the older child. Then we paid the check and left. It happened enough that we basically quit eating out until she was over three years old, at which time we tentatively tried it again and discovered she now loved eating at restaurants and was happy the whole time. She still loves restaurants, 30 years later, and behaves quite well :). Leaving a child who is shrieking or crying in a restaurant just doesn’t work for me, no matter the reason.

    • AvalonAngel October 31, 2018, 8:57 am

      When my youngest was a toddler, she liked acting up in restaurants. She would jump up and down in booths and just yell at the top of her lungs, disturbing everyone around us. So when she’d start…out we went.

      Then I had an idea: I had my husband park the car in such a way that the youngest and I could see into the restaurant. When she began her shrieks, instead of all of us leaving, I took her back to the car while my husband and kids finished their meal. As she was throwing a colossal fit in the car, I just calmly remarked on how much fun Daddy and her siblings were having in the restaurant…and look! Now they are having dessert. Doesn’t that look good?

      I did this a few more times before she got the picture: if she wanted to eat out and have fun, she needed to behave. And she’s behaved in restaurants ever since.

    • Harry's Mom October 31, 2018, 11:03 am

      This right here! This is what my parents did. I was the oldest and realized I appreciated fine dining, and always behaved like a lady. My brother on the other had was a complete pain in the neck, and as this poster said, my parents took turns eating. Yes, there are some circumstances where it’s unavoidable, but most of the time it is not, and it’s polite manners to be considerate of others.

    • Rebecca M November 1, 2018, 12:50 pm

      This is exactly what we do, if necessary. Our daughter has patience for about one hour, which is more than enough for most dining experiences. However, if service is slow, we take turns walking her around outside.

  • Lara October 31, 2018, 8:54 am

    In the first instance, that was not a quiet restaurant, even without the child crying. When you go into public places with other people, there has to be an expectation that you may be subjected to their noise. Sometimes adults are loud and obnoxious too. If you’re not willing to put up with that, stay home. In the second one, I really do feel that if you go to an expensive, upscale restaurant, there should be some reasonable expectation of a peaceful atmosphere. I was really touched, though, at all the people around that couple who were tolerant of the baby and unwilling to complain. I would have expected more people to be unhappy about it. If you’re someone who is really bothered by crying children, then you probably want to patronize restaurants that don’t allow small children. There are some of them.

    • EOM November 5, 2018, 1:19 pm

      If an adult has a temper tantrum in the middle of the restaurant, people expect him to be removed. Saying that sometimes adults get belligerent so we must tolerate a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant is a straw man argument. No one expects to just tolerate a screaming man.

  • staceyizme October 31, 2018, 9:25 am

    The age or ability of the person making the noise is irrelevant. Those accompanying them should make an effort to stop the situation from escalating. If there is a lack of compliance (even based on ability), the disruptive person should be removed from the scene. Will parents (or caregivers) possibly miss a nice meal out? Sure. But what right do you have to disrupt the meals of other patrons because it’s “your night out”? A squeak or two here and there? Sure. No problem. A patter of vocalizing that doesn’t draw too much attention? No problem. You might see this from some adults as well. A sonic boom of vibrations assaulting the eardrums of every other patron? No. You cannot justify that. Restaurants should proactively box up the meals, present the check and move the diners out of the establishment. (It’s fine to have a “family corner” too, somewhat away from other diners, where smaller patrons can be given a tad of leeway, without being given enough rope in the etiquette sphere to make anyone wish for their absence.) I have to say that boisterous groups in otherwise quiet places can also be grating, even if they are adults. Want to shriek with laughter over all of your group’s witticisms? Maybe the quiet but upscale neighborhood venue isn’t the best place for that, unless you’ve reserved their banquet room. Interestingly, alcohol is often used to excuse these social missteps in people of all ages/ genders. “Having fun” is also seen as an excuse for being excessively noisy. If that’s not an acceptable excuse for the very young, it shouldn’t be an acceptable excuse from adults, either.

    • PJ October 31, 2018, 10:21 am

      I completely agree. As a parent, I knew I was giving up the benefits that came with having no kids. When you (general “you”) take your kids out, you have to be ready to remove them from restaurants, movie theaters, etc if you can’t get them to settle down in a minute or two.

      I don’t say anything to parents. It seems to go one of two ways: either they are trying to get their kid to stop and saying something to them only adds to the stress of the situation, or they are not trying to get their kid to stop and saying something to them is basically challenging their parenting.

      And what are you going to say, anyway? “Hey, shut that kid up” or “Get that kid out of here” or “Too much noise!” are all either pointing out the obvious, or making demands of a stranger, or escalating a situation. I’ve even seen people complaining about kids who were even more disruptive than the kids themselves. I think the best approach is to talk to the server/manager/someone who represents the place of business. They can decide to what extent they will sacrifice their ambience to accommodate the noise, and they’re in the best position to find you a better arrangement.

      I also strongly agree with the fact that this is every bit as irritating if the noise is coming from adults. Sometimes and some places, the adults are a bigger problem than kids. Being drunk, excited, old, young, special-night-out, or whatever may be an explanation, but it is not an excuse.

    • stampysmom October 31, 2018, 1:59 pm

      Oh we had the worst diners next to us on our recent cruise! We were in a narrower area and that didn’t help. But I swear these 8 ladies thought they were the centre of attention. They yelled up and down the table, their laughter was like shrieks and they even kept trying to call the waiter from us to get drinks while we ordered dinner. My two boys were in shock lol. And on one day (ONE!) my younger son was not feeling well and snapped at his brother (11 & 13 – not perfect but decent) all the ladies were a twitter with us making noise. Come on – I had spent most of the week trying to convince my HB to move tables so we could hear each other and then their noses were out of joint. So irritating.

    • VickyJoJo November 1, 2018, 8:49 am

      I totally agree with you. Parents need to make the effort to keep the situation under control whether that is actively soothing the child or removing the child from the situation. The assertion that the parent has a right to a meal out is faulty. I remember something from my comm law class from decades ago that still stays with me to this day: your rights to (Fill in the Blank) cease when they impede the rights of others. The parents’ right to a nice meal does not preclude others from having one.

      I also agree with you about it not just being children that can make a dining experience unpleasant. I recall being on my honeymoon with my husband in Vermont. We were dining at a very lovely upscale restaurant when our ears were assaulted with the conversation from 3 tables away (not very close but very loud). The discussion turned to plumbing and disgusting things found in drains. Not very appetizing to say the least. There was a couple next to us who were equally appalled. All we could do was ask the server to ask them to lower their voices. she did and brought both our table and the other couples’ table a complementary glass of wine.

      • staceyizme November 1, 2018, 1:22 pm

        Plumbing and drains and the contents thereof… not very appetizing conversation even for the diners at that table. I’m not sure that a complimentary glass of wine would have done it. A bottle of Grand Marnier, perhaps…

    • Kitty November 1, 2018, 11:59 am

      If it’s “their night out” and they consider it so important, I would question why the younger ones were not being handed over to a babysitter. Cannot find a babysitter for your night out? You don’t get a night out if the younger ones can’t behave. You get takeaway, please.

  • Saucygirl October 31, 2018, 9:34 am

    In the second video, while I don’t think I would have said anything negative to the “parents”, I don’t think I would have defended them either. They didn’t look like they were trying to quiet the baby, and that for me is the deal breaker. You have to try to stop the crying and care about impact having, if you want me to care.

    For a toddler screaming for fun, nope. We have a good friend who’s kid that. And they did nothing. Let him scream and run around restaurants. After the second time we stopped going out to eat with them. It’s not enjoyable to be in that situation and I don’t know why anyone would willingly subject themselves to it.

  • Michelle October 31, 2018, 9:39 am

    For the toddler, the parents should at least attempt to stop the shrieking. This is when you start teaching them to not disturb others and possibly take them outside .

    For the baby, I agree with the man that asked if the baby was okay. If you are in a public place, in this case an upscale restaurant, and the baby continues to cry incessantly, I think you should pay the check and leave (or ask if your food could be boxed to take with you). Yes, sometimes babies just cry but sometimes non-stop crying can indicate a problem. In the 2nd video, the faux-parents were not trying to soothe the (fake) baby. They were just letting it cry, which I’m sure they were directed to do. It’s probably easy to let a fake baby cry and ignore it.

    I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this, but your right to have a nice meal out with an incessantly crying baby does not trump other people’s right to have a nice meal without listening to an incessantly crying baby. A few little cries throughout I could understand, but that fake baby was pretty much non-stop crying.

    • CarolynM October 31, 2018, 6:16 pm

      You won’t get flamed by me – I would co-sign every word you wrote!

    • staceyizme November 1, 2018, 1:26 pm

      These social “set-up” situations are annoying! It’s a fake social justice anecdote that we are all supposed to identify with and feel good about. I’d think that it would be irritating to many people to find out that they’ve been conned and had their evening unnecessarily interrupted. Evenings out aren’t a daily occurrence, for most. The idea that someone else would allow their plans for a rather fancy but superfluous prank to intrude doesn’t go over well with as many people as the show portrays, I would wager.

  • Princess Buttercup October 31, 2018, 10:06 am

    I don’t care the age, if your kid is making a lot of noise (crying, screaming, banging on the table, etc) you need to be a parent and try to stop the disruptive behavior. If it cannot be stopped (either because too young or too stubborn) then part of being a parent is taking the kid out of the situation. This is part of what you signed up for when you decided to have a kid. Period. End of discussion. Not all of parenting is cooing and hugs. It is also comforting your screaming kid and missing out on the option to eat out because your kid just won’t allow it right now.

    People like to jump to “that kid could be on the autism spectrum, you can’t get upset and say anything”, but you’re forgetting that there are many on the spectrum that not only don’t make noises like that but actually can’t stand noises like that. My husband has sensory issues. Too much light or noise, and especially high pitch noises like the first video, can absolutely destroy his day. It causes extreme headaches, and stress. (By the way, we both used to work round the clock with the mentally challenged and had some who made disruptive noises. If it started getting bad they would be spoken to. The person would try to curb their noises. If they couldn’t we’d have them step outside with us. And we often didn’t take them to quiet events to avoid any issues with possible noise out breaks. So “my kid can’t help it” is not an excuse for your bad parenting.)

    Since so many people are so entitled now days, the only option is to speak to a manager and ask them to do something. Either move you or ask the offender to be quiet or leave.

  • Princess Buttercup October 31, 2018, 10:08 am

    Testing. My comments keep not going through.

    • Princess Buttercup October 31, 2018, 10:09 am

      Interesting. That goes but my longer response to the subject just bounces…

    • admin October 31, 2018, 8:52 pm

      Hmmm….I’m not seeing any longer comment from you in the moderation queue. Are you possibly using different IP addresses?

      • Princess Buttercup November 1, 2018, 10:38 am

        I don’t know why it’s messing up. I tried sending the relevant comment about three times and it just kept bouncing back to the base page like I hadn’t done anything. Then tried the test comment, it went through. Tried the relevant comment two or three more times with the same bounce back issue.
        I had the same problem on another post previously but didn’t have time to rewrite or test.

        • admin November 2, 2018, 2:33 am

          I found your post in the trash, restored it and approved it. The only reason I can think of why that particular comment was routed to the trash and the one I am replying to right now was not is that the trashed comment contained a word in the comment blacklist. I didn’t see any word I would have added the comment blacklist but Wordpress has its own default set of words. Interesting….I wonder how often that happens.

      • OP November 1, 2018, 6:32 pm

        I’ve been having the same problem

        • admin November 2, 2018, 2:39 am

          Your comments are coming from a different IP address than the one you’ve used. I cannot search for the missing messages not knowing what the other IP addresses are that you usd that have resulted in your comments being routed to the trash.

          • Lara November 2, 2018, 7:03 am

            I had about three times lately that I tried to post a comment, but the same thing happened. It just disappeared after I pushed “submit,” and never made it to the moderation queue. The last comment went through. I have posted all of them from the same computer in the same house, so I don’t know what the difference is.

          • admin November 3, 2018, 9:59 pm

            I discovered the problem and am certain I fixed it. It was a comment blacklist plug-in I was trying out. Turns out to be far more sensitive than I expected and so it’s been disabled.

          • Queen of Putrescence November 2, 2018, 9:21 am

            Interesting! I’m using the same computer every single time I comment. But it is my work computer and all cookies etc. are cleared every night so that might have an effect on it.

          • admin November 3, 2018, 10:04 pm

            It wasn’t just you and Lara. I checked the trash and found about 20 comments from 10 or so people that had mysteriously been routed to the trash. Turns out a new comment blacklist plug-in I was trying was the culprit. It came with its own set of blacklisted words/phrases, one example was “votre site”. If anyone misspelled “voter site” the comment got put in the trash. I disabled this plug-in because it’s way too sensitive. I apologize for the error.

    • Queen of Putrescence November 1, 2018, 9:08 am

      My comment made yesterday morning did not go through either. I don’t believe I said anything inappropriate. Maybe the spam filter isn’t a fan of The Princess Bride!

      • admin November 2, 2018, 2:37 am

        Yours is another one I cannot explain why the software automatically routed those two comments to the trash. I don’t see anything wrong with either of them. Restored and approved both.

  • Kay_L October 31, 2018, 10:43 am

    Nothing worse than paying a babysitter to stay at home with your baby so you can have a nice night out only to have it ruined by someone else’s crying infant.

    • staceyizme November 1, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Almost makes you wonder if an intelligent and creative entrepreneur might not decide to offer infant and child sitting/ minding services in a neighborhood brick and mortar location so that tired parents can have a relaxing evening at home with their meal of choice (either ordered in or cooked by them, as their preference may dictate)? For an extra fee, the children can be driven home by a qualified attendant and handed off to retire before too late.

  • Cat October 31, 2018, 11:48 am

    There are people who change babies right on the table in the restaurant, allow toddlers to run all over the restaurant, annoy other diners, trip waitstaff, and allow their kids to scream. I had to refuse to go out to eat to celebrate my college graduation because my older brother had always been allowed to throw tantrums at restaurants. He didn’t want to eat there; he didn’t like the waitperson; he was bored; whatever, he would stand up and scream. I was amazed we never told to leave. At nice restaurants, I’d leave ill-behaved kids at home, along with the ill-behaved adults.

  • lakey October 31, 2018, 12:13 pm

    First, I really dislike that ABC show. I didn’t watch the whole clip because I find the acting out so annoying. I can’t quite put a finger on what it is that bothers me. Maybe it’s the fact that they tend to egg people on, or that it is contrived. Anyway, they ruined the dining experience of other customers, and I hope that they paid for their meals.

    As far as noisy babies and toddlers, I don’t think they belong in upscale restaurants, but if people do take them, they need to be taken out for awhile when they start crying. Family type restaurants, and chain restaurants, I usually don’t mind because you expect them to be noisier, and they aren’t as expensive. Also, it isn’t just young children. Sometimes it’s a group of people who are just really loud and perhaps drunk. I was once in an expensive restaurant where this middle aged man at another table was using his cell phone on speaker. It was jarring. He even made a comment about how loud it was, but didn’t turn it down or switch of the speaker. So he knew he was being rude and didn’t care.

    Regardless, unless it is a serious situation, I don’t confront strangers in public places. It is just too easy for them to be defensive or argumentative. The suggestion to ask to be moved is a good idea.

    • Calli Arcale October 31, 2018, 1:11 pm

      That program lost all the benefit of the doubt I was giving it when they were caught catfishing a little person in order to generate drama for one of the episodes. They can create some real, serious pain for people and they don’t seem to care about that. If you don’t like being filmed, all you get is promise that they won’t air the clip that you’re in. You don’t get an apology or any kind of compensation.

    • Kat October 31, 2018, 2:30 pm

      I’ll also note that the host did not, in any way, address the blatant sexism of the two men in the clip that asserted that their actor Tracy was “alone because she doesn’t like babies.” Notice that no one said that, or even objected to his actions, when it was a male diner who complained. Yet the host didn’t call out or even question either man about saying that.

      I’m not surprised they didn’t address it, but I am disappointed, because trying to put an adult “in her place” as if her only value is in her ability to procreate and do all the childcare is a MUCH worse offense than wanting an adult-oriented establishment to enforce the adult-orientation of the experience. An enormous part of parenting is sacrificing what you want for what your child needs. If you’re not up for that, you can choose not to be a parent. And you can be an adult and live with the consequences of your choices. You cannot inflict parenthood on people who never signed up for it. Especially when there is a very simple solution to this problem — hire a babysitter.

  • Miss-E October 31, 2018, 12:45 pm

    I’m seeing good points from both sides here. I have a 14-month old and only take her to restaurants for family parties and the like where there are lots of willing volunteers to hold and distract her for awhile. Whenever I take her anywhere and she makes a fuss I take her outside immediately because I’ve got no wish to ruin anyone’s night.

    But someone also made the point that adults can be just as disruptive as rude (loud, drunk, on their phones, arguing) and I don’t think anyone would ever say “well you shouldn’t go out if you get drunk on wine” the way some might say “you shouldn’t go out if you have a baby with you”.

    Personally it doesn’t bother me that much, as long as someone kid isn’t throwing food at me or something but I do sort of agree with the guy in the second video who said it depends on the restaurant. If I’m having a $10 grilled cheese ruined for me at a diner I don’t care nearly as much as if I’m having $50 worth of sushi. The crying in the second video was absurd though, if I witnessed that I’d probably judge them as being bad parents because they won’t pick up their screaming infant!

  • Medowynd October 31, 2018, 12:52 pm

    I had a daughter that cried and could move to a tantrum quickly. In every instance, we had the meal packed to go, paid and left. I have commented throughout the years that other customers or guests did not come out to shop or dine and be inflicted with my daughter’s crying or tantrums. People have commented that they didn’t like the word (inflicted) that I used to describe my thoughts on crying children or babies out in public.

    My daughters learned from an early age to speak in an indoor voice and no shouting. Even the 7-month-old shrieker learned to keep her voice down.

  • Karen L October 31, 2018, 1:41 pm

    People suck. This planet sucks. There’s no hope. We suffer until sweet, sweet death releases us.

    • LizaJane November 1, 2018, 12:25 pm

      This both depresses and cheers me.

      • JohnRaymond Morales November 3, 2018, 10:08 am

        That’s a terrible way to look at life and i wouldn’t associate with people of that thinking because life is a beautiful thing and there are good people and we live in an amazing world. Despite all the things going on.

  • Bernadette October 31, 2018, 2:35 pm

    I had a couple I was friends with – and they took their baby to a tiny Thai restaurant on New Year’s Eve. And he was teething. And she told me he was crying and fussy the whole time. They didn’t leave. Sigh…

  • ALG October 31, 2018, 3:10 pm

    I should start off by saying that I really love kids. In fact, I work with them in a rehabilitative capacity and I have a three year old son of my own.

    It has been a long standing pet peeve of mine when parents bring young children to upscale restaurants. While I do believe it’s important to bring kids to restaurants (including very young children) so they learn to behave in that kind of environment, it should be in family restaurants… the kind of place with high chairs, booster seats and crayons! I have zero problem with young kids being loud and kid-like in those places. That’s what you’d expect from little ones!

    But it is another issue entirely when it’s an expensive, formal dining establishment with a nice atmosphere that’s shattered due to disruptive children! I’m sorry, but parents have no business bringing little ones to that kind of restaurant.

    On the RARE occasion that my husband and I have a night out, we make arrangements for child care. I love my little guy to pieces, but sometimes I’d like a fancy dinner that doesn’t involve lessons on table manners, singing songs from daycare, conversations about Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol, or general boisterousness. I also don’t feel I have the right to inflict my kiddo on others when they’re trying to have a quiet meal themselves. And believe me, when my dining experience is negatively impacted by a disruptive kid and I’ve gone to the trouble of arranging an adult night out, I’m not happy about it!

    That being said, I’m not one to say anything to these parents. Creating a scene is hardly appropriate in this case. I might ask to be moved though, as admin suggested.

    Cheers to both fun times with family and enjoyable times with other adults!

  • kingsrings October 31, 2018, 7:09 pm

    I absolutely can’t stand that show and refuse to ever watch it. There’s enough real drama in life , they shouldn’t be doing anything to make people’s lives worse.
    That said, diners have the right to enjoy a peaceful, pleasant meal. They’ve paid for that right. Anyone being disruptive to their time needs to be stopped. Take your crying or misbehaving child outside until they calm down, or just leave if that’s not possible. I make it a point to do my best to not sit near any children when I’m dining because of that.

  • Kitty November 1, 2018, 11:56 am

    Baby/Toddler screeching for the fun of it is not something to tolerate in a restaurant. They can do it in the privacy of their home. This is not something that should be done in public, nor should strangers be subjected to it.

    If they are screeching over discomfort, the parents need to do something. If they don’t, I see no problem with a stranger telling the parents off. “Don’t tell me how to parent my child”? Then kindly be an actual parent to your child.

  • Anonymous November 8, 2018, 4:51 pm

    I’m not a parent, so I’m really just asking this because I want to know–how old is old enough for a child to begin to be taught manners? I have a friend who has a son who’s just over a year old, who can be disruptive in public places, and another friend with a kindergarten-aged son who won’t greet me back and just ignores me if I see them in public and say hi. I think kindergarten is more than old enough to be taught basic social skills, but as for my other friend with the younger son, when is it realistic for her to begin teaching him that he can’t scream in a restaurant, or make noises during a play, or otherwise disturb a quiet atmosphere when others are trying to enjoy the meal/event/whatever?

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