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View Full Version : Well behaved children, a question of nationality?


surely not
29th Sep 2005, 14:48
Being abroad a lot recently and having the opportunity to observe at close quarters (sometimes too closely!) the beahviour of young children in restaurants I have come to the conclusion that a lot of couuntries parents have given up on the idea of trying to teach their children to behave well at the table.

The notable exceptions appear to be parents of Indian and Pakistani young children. These children display good table manners, don't scream every 15 seconds, and remain seated instead of treating the restaurant like a feckin playground.
This was highlighted today at breakfast where I watched American, South African and sadly British children all creating mayhem with the parents either unwilling or unable to stop them. Meanwhile there were two families of Indian/Pakistani descent whose children behaved impeccably throughout.

So what do fellow pruners reckon? Am I right or wrong?

airship
29th Sep 2005, 15:09
Watching children closely could be misinterpretated these days. Have you considered the virtues of train-spotting...?! :O

Stockpicker
29th Sep 2005, 16:02
Nope, never ceases to amaze me what Brits and Americans (particularly) allow their kids to do at the dining table. The Stockette is, of course, an angel and as a result gets taken to nice restaurants - she is in no doubt at all as to the connection between these two things! :ok: It's a lot like childrens' behaviour in flight, on which I KNOW we've had threads before.

Smeagol
29th Sep 2005, 16:06
Have to agree with Surely Not.

The term 'ex-pat brats' comes to mind and usually applicable to Brits.

TheFlyingSquirrel
29th Sep 2005, 16:12
Children of the oil rich Arabian states have impeccable table etiquette !

hemac
29th Sep 2005, 17:02
I think it depends on how you define enjoying a meal at the table.

Although my children are well behaved (generally) and have been taught table manners, they do on occassion misbehave due to their age. In this country one small commotion and the people sitting near are tutting and huffing and generally being a pain in the a**e.
In Italy when we go out people are much more relaxed. Everyone brings their children, who are entitled to enjoy themselves also, and the idea of worrying about which piece of cutlery to use is nonexistant.

H.

maggioneato
29th Sep 2005, 17:15
I consider it a bonus just if they are quiet. Nothing worse than going out for a meal to find kids screaming and running wild around the place. I don't think most of them know how to use a knife and fork, fingers stuffing as much as possible in their mouths is the norm. I least they are quiet with their mouths full. Not the kids fault, it's the parents. Doesn't seem to make any difference if a posh place or the local pub. :rolleyes:

PilotsPal
29th Sep 2005, 20:12
I don't see why children's age has to be an excuse for misbehaving. Surely mealtime discipline is instilled right from the start? My parents viewed polite table behaviour as being of the utmost importance and bad behaviour was never tolerated in any form. The punishment for bad behaviour in public was to be left behind with a babysitter or worse, one of the ancient aunts, a terrifying prospect.

reynoldsno1
29th Sep 2005, 20:54
Judging from the present glut of child behaviour reality TV programmes doing the rounds at the moment ("Little Angels" etc....), the one constant is that the children's behaviour is mostly learnt from the parents.... in fact, the mentioned programme is really about the parents' behaviour...

hemac
29th Sep 2005, 22:35
I don't see why children's age has to be an excuse for misbehaving.

It has a lot to do with how they behave, because the younger a child is the less able they are to express themselves adequately and they then become frustrated.
Possibly in some victorian households where everything is repressed no outward emotions will be detected, my children aren't victorian.

H.

airship
29th Sep 2005, 22:41
I'll wager you even do it with the lights on hemac?! :O

G-CPTN
29th Sep 2005, 22:43
>The term 'ex-pat brats' comes to mind and usually applicable to Brits.

**********************************

Whilst working with the bus companies in Hong Kong I learned that the only graffiti and vandalism was on those buses that served the areas where the British schools were situated.

eal401
30th Sep 2005, 06:41
In this country one small commotion and the people sitting near are tutting and huffing and generally being a pain in the a**e.
I think that just speaks volumes!! :rolleyes:

SASless
30th Sep 2005, 06:51
One just has to learn to love children.....such as I have....boiled preferably.

BombayDuck
30th Sep 2005, 07:18
surely not

The notable exceptions appear to be parents of Indian and Pakistani young children

Not the Indian kids here :*

As for pondering over on which cutlery to use, well, thats why we eat with our hands, mate! :}

maggioneato
30th Sep 2005, 07:18
I used to love the company of children. I could take mine anywhere as they were growing up, they were not repressed, just taught good table manners, disipline and respect from from the start. It is much easier to let children do what they like, but no way was I going to end up with a pair of brats that ruled the roost like the majority I see around today. Now they are grown up, I look at them and I feel I made a reasonable job as they are well balanced young men. Not perfect, as the perfect man hasn't been born yet, unless someone knows different. :p

Stockpicker
30th Sep 2005, 07:22
Sorry, hemac, but I just couldn't let that one go by. In our (Victorian, apparently) household children run screaming round the garden and, indeed, the house on occasion. On the other hand, they strive to use a knife and fork successfully, and if they want something at the table, they ask for it politely using the word "please". Not rocket-science, just a basic standard of behaviour.

redsnail
30th Sep 2005, 11:01
Got a tad miffed yesterday. I was sitting in the doctors surgery awaiting to see a doctor. I was suffering from a cold and jetlag. I really didn't appreciate 2 rowdy boys playing chasings and tag all over the surgery and colliding with me more than once.

Did the useless parents give a toss? No. Did they try and restrain them? No.
Is the waiting room a play ground? NO.

If I was sitting in a children's playground I would expect noisy boisterous child play. Not in a waiting room.

BlueDiamond
30th Sep 2005, 11:29
Teaching good manners to children is not 'repressing' them, it is simply teaching them how to live considerately with others. Children are capable of understanding from an early age (as shown by the parents here who have successfully taught manners to their offspring) what is expected of them and are perfectly capable of following simple rules. Children will have more than enough time for freedom of expression in their lives without needing to "emote" all over the place in the short time they are at a restaurant.

It's a question of appropriateness of behaviour and teaching the children where and when they may do certain things. It isn't repressing them, it's giving them valuable information that they need in order to happily co-exist with others. There is nothing worse than the utterly self-centred child who has control over his/her parents because they are afraid to say "no" or "you cannot do that here." It is appropriate for a child to run riot in their own garden or a playground, it isn't appropriate when they're in a restaurant, doctor's surgery or shopping centre.

It's not repression or suppression, just practical training for a happy life.

gatfield
30th Sep 2005, 11:34
I love children

When they are at least 100m away from me.

I can vouch for the all Aussie kids - all loud, noisy and irritating.

Is there are a country where children are banned , cos I wunna go live there. Serious.

allan907
30th Sep 2005, 15:30
...and there's Hemac, huffing and puffing and thinking what a lot of crusty old duffers are on this thread. He has taken his toys elsewhere and now won't bother to add to the thread. He will take his beloved darling children to misbehave in other public places firmly convinced that he is giving them a non-repressed, non-victorian upbringing that brings out their wonderful gift for self expression.

Hemac, do us a favour mate....can you post where you are likely to be taking your children in future? A weekly update will do. The rest of us can then make alternative arrangments.

Binoculars
30th Sep 2005, 15:44
I'm with allan907 all the way on this one. Funny how eventually you'll agree with everybody about something!

Send Clowns
30th Sep 2005, 15:58
Even me on this one Binos ;)

Binoculars
30th Sep 2005, 16:02
God help me, for surely nobody else can now. :(

hemac
30th Sep 2005, 16:38
My, my, what a nest of vipers I've stirred up?

I didn't once say that good table manners where not important, nor did I say that my children misbehave constantly or regularly.
My post was about the people who seem to find the presence of children inherantly annoying.

I'm sure that all of your little cherubs are so perfect that only a little finger needs to be raised in order to quosh any dissent, unfortunately some of us just aren't perfect parents.


Hemac, do us a favour mate....can you post where you are likely to be taking your children in future? A weekly update will do. The rest of us can then make alternative arrangments.

alan907, with pleasure if it means not having to bump into the likes of you.

H.

AIRWAY
30th Sep 2005, 16:43
The answer is really quite simple: no is something that children should say less of and parents should say more of...

frostbite
30th Sep 2005, 17:12
'Should be seen and not heard'.

Not sure about that first bit though.

Nick Riviera
30th Sep 2005, 20:30
Once again we learn why it is such a joy to go abroad and find that children are actually welcomed by adults, unlike in Britain where the attitude shown by many on this thread prevails. My children have been taught from an early age that good manners are conducive to them living to see their next birthday. But, they are small children and, as such, are wont to occasionally being loud and boisterous despite being warned otherwise. Yet we find that, even in so-called family restaurants in the UK, the stares and tutting from people who truly believe all children should be gagged at the table are constantly to the fore. I am in total agreement that excessively bad behaviour should be frowned upon and pointed out, but too many in this country would like to see all children banned from public places. We really are a bunch of hateful, mean-spirited people.

G-CPTN
30th Sep 2005, 20:58
>Once again we learn why it is such a joy to go abroad and find that children are actually welcomed by adults, unlike in Britain

********************************

25 years ago, we went to a five-star hotel in England for a Mother's Day meal (together with the children of course). Tom was maybe 3 years old. The waiter was 'Continental' and engaged Tom in helping him to go around the empty tables and lay out cutlery for later guests. Result - a quiet, happy child.
Brilliant psychology!

reynoldsno1
1st Oct 2005, 22:59
In an international hotel in NZ a few years ago, we took a meal accompanied by young daughter. The tables had paper tablecloths and daughter was presented with a set of crayons and asked to decorate said cloth. The look on her face was priceless (unlike the meal).... "can I really?" She ate all her food too....

Flip Flop Flyer
2nd Oct 2005, 01:22
No, it's not a question of nationality - it's a question of upbringing. There are decent, reasonable and determined people everywhere regardless of gender, nationality and social standing. Their opposite exists in all societies too.

Kids need to have extremely loving, yet a firm upbringing. Kids need to know exactly what is not acceptable behaviour, and once those borders are eroded or not present, they will misbehave. Trust me guys, I've got a girl of 9 (turning 19!)

PPRuNe Radar
2nd Oct 2005, 01:38
Well said Nick Riviera :ok: thank God I spend most of my leisure 's attributed to my kids outside the UK. Continental Europeans have the right balance, appreciating that children ain't adults, but also instilling a sense of discipline appropriate to their level of development and childhood. (note the word appropriate) UK folks on the other hand epitomise some of the posts seen here and seem to forget they were once children. I've seen a damn sight worse behaviour from UK adults in my travels than the children of that nation. No argument.

Kids should behave and be respectable, and have due consideration for others, but anyone who thinks that doesn't include a little bit of noise and movement is sadly deluded. The parents should take an active role in that ... and often do.

Flip Flop Flyer
2nd Oct 2005, 01:55
Radar

Continental Europeans have the right balance, appreciating that children ain't adults, but also instilling a sense of discipline appropriate to their level of development and childhood.

Phwoar, an appreciation that things on the far side of the channel might not be all bad on this board, and from a moddie none the less. I'm flabbergasted, on top of being pretty entoxicated!

flufdriver
2nd Oct 2005, 02:34
More often then not, it is the parents that are the problem.

When in a public place such as a Restaurant, they expect the children to behave in ways which they were never taught and most likely do not practice at home.

flyblue
2nd Oct 2005, 10:17
I don't dislike children, I just don't want to be around them a lot. Problem is, neither do their parents.
Bill Maher (the Politically Incorrect comedian from HBO)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007G89GY/qid=1128248140/sr=2-3/ref=sr_2_11_3/026-4154343-2454837

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ANVQ5U/qid%3D1128248231/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/102-0018927-6164167

surely not
2nd Oct 2005, 16:03
What an interesting set of replies.
So maybe it isn't the nationality then but just the way they were brought up. Like others on this thread our children were brought up to appreciate the fact that other people might not want them shouting, hollering, chucking food, going to other tables and sticking their dirty hands all over other peoples knives and forks etc etc. On a couple of occassions when they were 2 and 4 we were complimented on their behaviour.
They weren't told to sit still and say nothing, we involved them in conversation, I-Spy etc.
However it does seem that even in nice quality hotels that I have had the pleasure of staying in over the last few months there are quite a large number of parents that don't give a t*ss. What a shame because the kids don't learn manners from anywhere else.

Paterbrat
2nd Oct 2005, 16:25
F F Flyer hits the nail on the head. It is a question of the behaviour children learn from their parents. The old saying 'as ye sow, so shall ye reap' is very apt. Effort by parents to instill manners, table and otherwise, courtesy and consideration to others, responsibility, the relative values of work and money seem to be areas that seem to be increasingly neglected.

The PC brigade and their attitude towards parental and school discipline seems to have swung too far past the sensible median. Smacking was administered, it was never excessive and more for shock value rather than the inflicting of pain. If done judiceously and appropriately it is amazing how very little is actually ever required. I know there are parents who will be unfortunate enough to have children who due to some medical or psycological disorder will not be able to rely on the methods which are available to the majority, however increasingly it seems the majority are have the most basic parental tools prised out of their hands by the know all do good state collective.

It has been my personal observation that ones efforts to instill good habits in the very young pays dividends as they grow older.
No always meant no. Simple rules that were adhered to and not subject to whim meant established boundaries that children understood. If they were crossed then the penalties which followed came as no surprise and were accepted without resentment. Voices never had to be raised, although to be fair some of lifes hairier moments did resulted in temporary loss of volume control on extreme occasions.

Parenthood is a privilage and an experience to enjoy, but with it the responsibilty to equip ones offspring with the basics to fit into society in a meaningfull way as a pleasant wellmannered and useful members who contribute, rather than unpleasent boorish self centered takers. The difference between children whom it is a pleaure to be around or brats.

High Wing Drifter
2nd Oct 2005, 17:17
I totally agree with Nick Riviera!

To some extent I agree that many parents don't make any effort to instil some sense discepline in children. However, I am often concerned at extremely well behaved children...IT AIN'T NORNAL nor NATURAL. Kids is kids and they are designed to lark around, they shouldn't be able to sit still for long periods. Yes I totally agree that parents should be able to inhibit their childrens natural tendency to promote bedlam at any opportunity, but not at the expense of children ultimately being children.

surely not
3rd Oct 2005, 09:53
Nick R and High Wing drifter, no oneis suggesting that a child doesn't need time to be boisterous and develop the livelier side of their personality, what we are saying is that a restaurant, doctors waiting room or similar are not the places, and that teaching children respect for other people is as important as giving them space, in playgrounds, sports fields, beaches etc to be boisterous.

Nick Riviera
3rd Oct 2005, 11:45
surely not

It really depends on the level of boisterousness we are talking about. My post bemoaned the attitude of people who believe that children should be placed in a social straitjacket in public places. I certainly would not allow my sons to run amok in restaurants, waiting rooms etc. However, I am happy for them to display appropriate behaviour for their age in any of these places, as long as it does not grievously affect others. If this means that they are a little louder than the adults in the room, then so be it, they are children. Too many people in this country expect children at all times to be seen and not heard, and preferably not even seen, which is an appalling attitude. Go to a restaurant in Italy, Spain or Portugal, for example, on a sunday lunchtime and see how the children are allowed to enjoy themselves with no complaint from the adults. And yes, I have been complimented on my children's behaviour on many occasions. In fact we found a great place yesterday that welcomed families and were informed by the owner that it had been a pleasure to see my kids enjoy themselves so much and behave so nicely. They will definitely be getting my business again.

surely not
3rd Oct 2005, 13:51
I agree with you Nick R, well behaved doesn't mean without character or a voice, but what I have witnessed recently was parents ignoring their children whilst they wander around the restaurant disrupting other diners. Now I don't care how cute the little angel is, the parents should be showing consideration to others and bothering to acknowledge that they have children with them!!

hemac
3rd Oct 2005, 20:21
I would be very surprised if many people subscribed to this forum found it acceptable for their children to disrupt other people without any control or discipline.
To my mind the discussion is whether children should be allowed to be children or facsimiles of their, no doubt excellently behaved, parents.
As previously posted I find it hard work eating out in this country where every minor disturbance is greeted with over exagerated dismay.

H.

eal401
3rd Oct 2005, 20:23
Yet we find that, even in so-called family restaurants in the UK, the stares and tutting from people who truly believe all children should be gagged at the table are constantly to the fore.

I find it hard work eating out in this country where every minor disturbance is greeted with over exagerated dismay.

What a pair of ridiculous comments.

Of all the times I have eaten in restuarants with children, I have never seen anyone without children behave as suggested here. I ceratinly would not "tut and stare" unless a child was casuing major disruption.

If you are gettings tuts and stares, I would suggest something is generating that. Just having a child with you isn't enough.

Maybe some people just can't see the truth!!

Nick Riviera
4th Oct 2005, 11:39
eal

I can assure you that the comments are not ridiculous. I have lost count of how many times I have seen adults behave in the manner described, showing displeasure at normal childish behaviour. I can also assure you that my children have been brought up to be very well mannered and behave far better than most children that I have observed in restaurants. Every parent I know bemoans the anti child attitude that prevails in this country, so I suggest that it is you that opens your eyes.

Gunship
5th Oct 2005, 04:40
Arabic kids normally behave the best I have seen. (Those in the upper class).

African kids normally behave very well bu tsad to say the worst of the worst must be the American kids.

Then again their parents do not close their mouths when they chew - so how / why must they ? :E

Look at the parents if the kids do not behave. Being in the military for many years and a learner of Brit manners at the " formal officers dinners" class my poor kids had no chance.

They had to wee in the silverware and shoot butter in the overhead fans ;)


~~~~

Surely Not ... some good restauarants in Jhb - Pta area mate.

Can I send you a list ? :E

C130 Techie
5th Oct 2005, 06:54
Don't have a problem with kids in restaurants provided that the parents keep them under control. There is nothing worse than kids wandering or running round the tables with mouths full of food annoying other diners. Surely parents can teach them to remain at the table during the meal.

I do tend to avoid the "family" restaurants as many of these tend to have these ridiculous play areas within the dining area creating an understandable temptation for the kids. Of course when kids play they make a noise which normally isnt a problem but not in a restaurant.

eal401
5th Oct 2005, 06:55
I suggest that it is you that opens your eyes.
Or maybe it doesn't happen around here?

I assure you, I have never behaved as claimed or seen behaviour as claimed unless the child really was badly misbehaving with no attempst to stop from the parents, not just the odd "fidget." This is despite frequent visits to family restaurants.