Diner Owner vs. Crying Child Sparks Disciplining Debate

You go out to a restaurant. You order your food. You wait. Your child gets a little nutty and impatient. She starts to cry…and cry…and cry. Now, she’s screaming a little bit too. You can feel people’s eyes staring at you and your table through the back of your head. You just want her to stop crying. She won’t. She apparently has another agenda today that doesn’t include listening to you. We’ve all been there. So, what’s a momma to do? Perhaps more importantly, what, if anything should people around you do? That’s the hot topic these days.

There’s a disciplining debate heating up the social media circuit after a Maine diner owner yelled at a crying toddler. Here’s the story… The owner says mom and dad ordered three big pancakes for their child, but ignored her once the food came. She says the child was crying for more than forty minutes. That’s when the owner took matters into her own hands. She slammed her hand on the counter and yelled at the girl to stop. The owner says the girl was disrupting other customers.

The owner is not apologizing for her actions despite online criticism from the little girl’s mother as well as others who are bashing the owner for how the whole thing went down. Many are saying she had no right to yell at the girl. Others are saying she was right. It’s a whole lot of drama.

But, the whole situation brings up a couple of good questions. Should parents leave a restaurant when their child is acting up uncontrollably? Do business owners have the right to speak up? Should other people have the right to discipline your child?

As the parent of two young children who have had many of public meltdowns I can tell you that I would be aggravated and angry if someone else yelled at my kids. But, I can also tell you that I would never let it get to that point. There have been plenty of times when I have left restaurants and stores because my kids were acting crazy. By leaving, I believe I’m showing them that the type of behavior they are displaying is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated. Period. Let me tell you, it has worked. When we have gone back out to restaurants and other public places, my kids know that screaming and crying is not allowed.


If I was in the shoes of that mom in Maine and my kid was crying for upwards of forty minutes, I would have taken my food to go. I don’t want to sit two inches away from my screaming child. I certainly wouldn’t be enjoying myself or my meal. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

Do you think the diner owner was right? Do you think the parents should have done something? How do you handle your kids when they won’t calm down in public?