He went out to eat with some college friends at a restaurant near the campus. All the friends had passed their exams, so they went out to celebrate and relax. They went at lunchtime, and the place was partially full but busy. The weather wasn’t nice, so everyone was seated inside the restaurant.
He was sitting facing the door and saw two women come in, along with a baby and a child who looked between 7 to 10 years old. He was sitting in the middle of the room, and the family walked in and took a corner table. Things were fine at first. The child was playing with the baby and was sitting with his family. But after the food came, the boy started to wander around. He was all over the place, which was a bit annoying, but he was still easy to ignore.
But then he says the boy started to run around while yelling, and neither of the women did anything to stop him. He says that other people were looking annoyed as well. Then the boy accidentally hit his friend’s chair. Eventually, he started running circles around their table, perhaps because it was the one that was right in the center of the room. By the third round, he put his arm out to stop the boy. He says he told him to “stop that and sit down and wait until he’s home to run around because it’s inappropriate to bother other people at a public space.” He also told him, “I’ll have him wait outside alone if he doesn’t behave.” He knew he couldn’t do anything but was trying to scare him into stopping his behavior.
He claims he didn’t realize that he was actually yelling at the child, so the boy started crying. His mother then came over to the table and told him off for yelling at her son and said he was just a child who was playing. He told the mother he wouldn’t have had to say anything if she had controlled him, to begin with. Then a staff member came and asked what had happened. The mother told him he had just yelled at her child, and then he told his side of the story. The employee said to let it go for now and just let the restaurant staff manage the situation next time. He says the mother was fuming, and they left.
His friends told him he was ‘screaming’ at the child, but they were also annoyed and planned to complain to management. He believes that would have been the better route to take but wants to see if he handled the situation poorly.
The Online Community Responds
Some readers said because he decided to yell at the child, he was definitely wrong.
“Your friends told you you were screaming at a child, and you still don’t know if you were an AH? You threatened him with being left outside all alone until he cried, and you still don’t know if you were an AH? Just complain to the wait staff next time and have them deal with it.”
“Nope. The kid’s mom was negligent, but OP (original poster) took it out on her child, not her. That takes it straight into YTA territory for me. He had a horrible reaction and took it out on a kid who apparently hadn’t been taught better yet instead of the adult responsible for him.”
But some readers supported him and didn’t believe he was wrong to tell the child to stop misbehaving.
“Why put the burden on a stranger because the wait staff/hostess did nothing and did not call the manager; and the mother knows it is her responsibility to take care of her kid but did nothing; the table mates did nothing; then call the stranger an AH? Sometimes there is nothing like a loud voice to make kids stop and to finally get the mother to belatedly be a parent.”
Some were trying to decide if a child that age should take any blame for their behavior or if they were still innocent because the parent didn’t appear to be teaching them manners. If everyone sucks in this situation, should that include the child?
“The kid does suck, though. At what age does someone lose the excuse of their upbringing? It might be older than the age of this child, fair enough, but the existence of an excuse doesn’t make the behavior any less crappy.”
“At that age, the kid is still learning how to act appropriately at restaurants. He is still completely dependent on his parents for teaching him the correct behavior. Had he been like 12-13 or older, there’s not really an excuse for not acting appropriately. “
“If this is a school-aged child, they learn what is and isn’t appropriate behavior. Mom sucks, OP sucks, kid sucks.”
What Do You Think?
Was he wrong for yelling at the child? Should he have approached the mother or the restaurant staff first to complain?
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