I Have a Gripe

September 9, 2010

Screaming Children Will Not Be Tolerated: Amen!

We’ve all experienced it. You go out to enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks or a nice dinner with your spouse, only to have to deal with a screaming child at the next table. Well, Brenda Armes has heard our cries!

Breanda is the owner of Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach that read “screaming children will not be tolerated.”

Now of course there are parents that will complain, including one mother of an autistic child saying she is discriminating against children with special needs. I completely disagree. I think she is responding to people who have had enough listening to screaming children and parents not handing the issue.

Now whether right or wrong, when I was a child and acted out in public, my mother would say very flatly, “I’ll give you a reason to scream.” That’s all I took, because I knew she was serious. Today, parents are more interested in being their child’s friend and trying to reason with their children. Now, whether my mother’s approach was right or wrong, I knew the behavior that was expected of me. Actually, even my friends that came to my house knew exactly what level of behavior was expected of them as well. In my opinion, teaching manners and good behavior in public is a lost art.

I would like to give you a personal example. My husband and I spent our hard-earned savings a few years ago to go to Cape Cod. I wanted to spend a day on Nantucket. So, we purchased tickets for the ferry and headed out. There was a child screaming bloody murder the entire looooong trip. There was nowhere you could go and not hear this child. What did the parents do? They turned her carriage to the wall and ignored her. I went to the snack bar to see if they sold Tylenol or Advil. The girl apologized but said she was completely sold out and actually gave me two Advils from her purse. Ten minutes before getting off the ferry, the child fell asleep. When we got off the ferry, my husband took me to lunch. When the restaurant employee tried to seat us, they tried to give us a table right next to that family! Well, I flipped out and said there was no way in hell I would sit next to them because they are terrible parents! They looked at me with a dirty look and then employee sat us elsewhere. Once we sat down, he asked me what that was about because he had tried to seat at least five different groups at that table and none of them would sit there. So, I told him the story. He said he completely understood and for the rest of the time that family was sitting there, he sat no one near them.

I have said for years, just like there are “smoking” and “no smoking” sections in restaurants, there should be “children” and “no children” sections as well.

As you can tell, I have a pretty strong opinion on this topic. Nothing makes me more crazy when I go to Starbucks and there are two mothers enjoying their coffee while their children run buck-wild.

Now, do I think all parents are bad parents? Certainly not. I have a friend with an adorable autistic child and every time we have gone out with her children he has always behaved very well. Is that always the case? I’m sure it isn’t, but she is an excellent parent.

So, I ask parents, please stop trying to be your child’s friend and be their parents!



  1. I agree with you for the most part Andrea, but sometimes it is not completely the parents fault. I have seen the mother’s enjoying their coffee at Starbucks while the children run wild and that is just inconsiderate and rude and bad parenting. My oldest has Aperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and when he was very young it was difficult to take him out and about. I certainly was not bringing him to fine dining establishments but I did have errands to do sometimes and outings were necessary. We had scenes sometimes and I got many, many dirty looks from people and I can’t tell you how awful it made me feel for him and for me. I am not a bad parent but my son looks totally normal so the general population just looked at him and at me and automatically assumed him a brat and me a bad mother. Just wanted to say my peace because I have been on the other side 🙂

    Comment by Julienne — September 9, 2010 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

    • And that is completely understandable. It is obvious to me, however, that as a good parent you understand there are limitations and are not bringing him to fine dining locations. There are definitely times that a child is going to do what a child is going to do. And I am sure that having a special needs child makes it even tougher. When you go food shopping and a kid is flipping out for whatever reason, it is annoying, but somewhat expected. I always chuckle when at Church and hear a child crying. I don’t think I have ever been to Mass without it! LOL But there is definitely a difference and I am glad you and I can agree on most of it. 🙂 Best of luck with your child!

      Comment by alvb1227 — September 9, 2010 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Andrea!

    Comment by Julienne — September 9, 2010 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

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