One thing we know about parenting is that we all do it differently, right? And that can cause its fair share of clashes when it comes to being out there in the world…
And we have to say, this article, written by mum Donné Restom, for Aussie website Kidspot, brought into sharp focus what can happen when your ideas and a stranger’s ideas about ‘what to do with the kids’ are worlds apart.
Donné shares how she was out having dinner in a pub with her 3-year-old and his friend on a Friday night after picking them up from daycare when – well – we’ll let her take it from here…
“Friday nights at the pub are the one time I feel we can really enjoy eating together as a family. And when I say ‘eating together as a family,’ what I mean is, we can all be in the same general vicinity and eat at our own pace. My child is able to hop up and down at leisure, going off to play and then joining us again when he’s ready.
“There aren’t any fights, there isn’t any wrangling necessary and best of all, there aren’t any bl**dy screens.
“So on this particular Friday night we’re at the pub and life is excellent. The fish and chips has arrived the kids are having a nibble and then running off to play and then coming back and nibbling and telling me all about it. GOOD TIMES.
“Until suddenly, they turn towards the centre of the beer garden. They get up and walk to where a mum and her2 children are sitting quietly eating dinner. Each child has a giant iPad propped up in front of them and they’re both watching Youtube.
“My son and his mate are entranced, they walk over and lurk by the one girl’s shoulder, watching. It’s rude and I’m embarrassed. I hop up and explain that this girl is having her dinner and maybe she doesn’t want a pair of lurkers watching telly over her shoulder.
“I hustle them away.
“A minute later they’re back there and the mum is looking around as if to say, “who does these children belong to and will you get them away from our table?”
“I hop up again and drag them away, but they resist more.
“They’re no longer interested in playing anymore and they’ve stopped caring about dinner. All they care about is those bloody screens shining in the middle of the beer garden. F**K!
“Eventually it got too much. The boys refused to be dragged away, they wouldn’t ignore the screens and it was tantrums and fights all round. And I’m sorry but I just got really, really mad.”
Rage, compassion, annoyance
Donné goes on to say she went through a range of emotions – from rage (she was just SO cross the other mum had bought screens to the pub at all) to compassion (she had no idea what kind of day the mum might have had) to annnoyance (why did she have to sit slap bang in the middle of the pub and distract her son and his mate?)
Now, we have to say, Donné’s had a fair few comments on her article (as you might imagine).
“I don’t take iPads to pubs, but I certainly don’t judge others for doing so,” said one critic.
“My son is autistic and we take his iPad with him to places like this so he can zone out and calm his mind,” said another.
While others suggested it was up to her to make sure her little one didn’t get distracted by the iPads.
What do you think?
Hmmmmm. Kids can go up to strangers for all sorts of reasons can’t they? Even if the girls with the tablets were colouring the little boys might have wanted to go over and watch, and – let’s face it – 3-year-olds don’t often want to sit still in a pub or restaurant for very long do they?
They can get distracted by a dog, a stranger in a funny hat…you name it really, partly because at that age they’re not always the best at simply staying put.
Which is why lots of us use iPads, and smart phones as a distraction when we’re out – or take along a good old-fashioned colouring book and pens or sticker book along when we go out for dinner.
So – what’s your take on this? Has Donné got it spot on – or totally missed the mark? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook