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We went out for dinner to the Cabbage Tree last night. It could have been a nice evening but it was buggered up by a clutch of screeching brats who were running around as their indulgent parents looked on.

Why is it these people think the rest of the world is as delighted by the company of their offspring as they are? Because we’re not.

If I want to spend an evening listening to children scream and shriek as they jump up and down on the chairs and climb across the table, I’d go to McDonald’s. Actually, I don’t even think McDonald’s would tolerate that behaviour.

The children appeared to be with a group of simpering adults who could do with spending less time making sure their hair is perfectly styled and more time actually parenting. One of the waiters told the children a couple of times not to run around inside the restaurant but it continued, with ineffective mothers looking on adoringly as their little brats continued to ruin the evening of everyone else. In the space of about 10 minutes they very nearly ran into staff laden with both full and empty dishes half a dozen times and it was the fancy footwork of the waiters and waitresses that stopped them wearing the lot.

When I was growing up, we rarely went out to a restaurant, but when we did we knew how to behave. My parents weren’t tyrants, they weren’t even overly strict, but we knew that a certain standard of behaviour was expected.

badge (1) Then, when I became a mother myself, I had those expectations for my son. I’m not saying he was a perfectly behaved when he was a nipper, because all kids play up at times. It’s normal. However, we never had the whole “being a brat in a restaurant” situation arise because when he was of an age where I thought he might not handle sitting down and behaving at grown-up  restaurants, I didn’t take him to them. Have these parents not heard of McDonald’s or Cobb and Co?  We didn’t take him to a grown-up restaurant until we felt he was old enough to appreciate and enjoy it because that’s better for everyone: us, the kid and other diners.

What made last night’s noise-fest even worse is that the restaurant has a substantial outdoor area and it was a beautiful evening: can’t these people send the fecking children outside to run around? Isn’t that what normal kids do?

It’s worth mentioning that the noisiest of these creatures were two little girls who looked old enough to know better, probably somewhere around 8-10 years old. And contrary to the beliefs of one of my family members (if you’re reading this, you know who you are and you won’t be surprised by my aversion to screaming brats because we had this same discussion as you looked me in the eye and told me all children scream when they are playing): normal children don’t scream like banshees when they are playing. I didn’t, neither did any of my siblings. Neither did my son.

Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon experience in restaurants these days. Parents, it’s time to take some responsibility: if you can’t control them, leave them at home.

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