I have always brought the girls up to say please and thank you and be as polite as they can possibly be. As a family we very rarely eat out because we just simply can not afford it; to be honest, it grieves me that one meal out is normally the equivalent of half a month's food shopping. However on Sunday evening we decided to have a little treat out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We headed to our local branch of a well known pizza chain.
We were pleasantly surprised at how few people were in the restaurant, but saying that we had arrived at 6pm so maybe that was one of the reasons why.
We were seen to very quickly and shown to our table; we sat down and started looking at the menu and discussed what we were going to have. We always give Ruby a choice as to what she would like to eat when we go out for dinner; this time she decided on dough balls, then pasta, followed by chocolate fudge cake. Do you let your children pick their own food? Phil and I feel it's good for Ruby to have choices. It allows her to have some independence too.
Whilst waiting for our meal, a family sat next to us who had two boys who I would guess to at least eight and 10, had just had their food brought to the table. Both boys were incredibly restless and the parents just seemed so ignorant of the fact that their children were misbehaving. I am not just talking about being a little bit excited but they had appalling table manners. They did not stay seated at the table, instead going to the toilet several times, playing games and chasing one another around the table. They were also climbing over the furniture, standing on it and generally being very rude in my opinion.
It got me thinking, do manners really matter? I believe they certainly do, but what has changed in the last 10, 20 or even 30 years? Some children appear to be parenting their parents and calling all the shots, whereas I personally feel its time to go back to old fashioned basic manners.
But how do we do this? I believe by leading by example is the key. If children witness good behaviour and know what is expected of them then they learn manners and boundaries that won't just help them, but also what they learn will be passes on to their own families.
In preparing for this article, I have spoken to the pizza chain's head office about their policy on seating families and couples. They inform me that they do not have a policy in place to discriminate against any particular group, however from my own experience, families were placed in a completely different part of the restaurant to couples. Should this be the case?
Personally I don't agree with this. Why should my family be labelled and made to sit next to family who's children appear to be showing very little manners? Surely we deserve a relaxed enjoyable meal out, as for us going for a meal is a very rare and special treat. I would love to know your thoughts on this. Do manners really matter? What has changed in recent years and would you be happy to be profiled because of badly behaved families and segregated from the rest of the diners?
Kimberley is in her late 20s and lives with her young family in Leicestershire. Kimberley enjoys voluntary work and is particularly passionate about raising awareness of women's issues; she is currently preparing to fulfill her dream of becoming a midwife.
Blogs at: Ruby + Lottie