When you take your kids to a fancy restaurant (first of all, have an award for bravery), there's bound to be a moment of "what the hell am I doing?" as your little darlings realise just how much potential for mischief the place holds.
All parents know that young kids and upmarket eateries just don't mix. Pristine white serviettes are not intended for snotty noses, and glistening silverware isn't designed for grubby little fingers. But sometimes it's impossible to restrict your children to child-friendly places — and why should you?
If your kids behave, you have the right to take them wherever you want to spend your money.
Alas, all parents also know that that is a big "if." It's just one of the unwritten rules of parenting. Your kids behave like little angels until you arrive at the place you really need them to behave, and within seconds they're acting as if they've been possessed by the devil.
One Auckland restaurant has caused a bit of a stir recently, when word spread online about its strict behaviour guidelines for junior diners. Fine Italian restaurant Prego, in Ponsonby, decided to create its own list of rules after a number of diners complained about children behaving disruptively during their meal. Some business parties even told the restaurant they wouldn't return because of the behaviour of some kids, and one review noted that children were "rolling around on the floor."
Prego's general manager, Brandon Lela'ulu, said they asked regular diners who have kids for their views, and only one mum "said she would be offended." Online, many people have praised Prego for their actions, but some have deemed the rules over the top.
It's great that Prego are trying to make their restaurant a safer, more pleasurable experience for all guests, but isn't an entire list of rules overkill? The majority of parents already know how their kids should behave and don't need to be told that "screaming, hitting, throwing is NOT appropriate." It's impossible for a restaurant to be all things to all people. It simply can't be a family-friendly place and a venue for important business meetings. The fact that Prego has an extensive children's menu suggests that it welcomes customers with kids — all kids.
Of course parents should control their children and do their best to ensure they behave appropriately at all times. But surely a short notice reminding them of this would suffice? It's hardly surprising that some parents have found the rules patronising.
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