The other day, I was perusing my favorite news sites and came across the story of a restaurant that gave a family a $4 discount on their meal for having “Well Behaved Kids.” Predictably, the comments section was filled with parents (and grandparents) crowing about how well-behaved their children are (or were) and bemoaning how awful other parents are.
I would love to know their secrets, because, let me tell you, the only time my family would ever get a “Well Behaved Kids” discount is if the kids were sedated.
Or if the kids were simply not present at the restaurant in question.
Which is generally how it is.
Now, mind you, I love my children deeply and believe in setting consistent and readily enforced, boundaries. And I also like exposing them to new experiences and teaching them how to behave in society. But I’m also realistic about my kids. The only times they are quiet are when they are asleep, and even then, I’ve heard the little one talking in his sleep. My children don’t savor food as much as they use food as energy to fuel their next toy monster truck race. Asking them to sit down quietly for over 30 minutes in a restaurant would be akin to asking Taylor Swift not write a song about her last boyfriend: it’s simply not in their natures.
So we don’t ask them to.
Perhaps that makes me a bad mother for not forcing my kids to conform to a certain set of standards. But I prefer to see it as making the decision to not place my kids in a situation that sets them up for failure. I know my children’s limitations, and I try not to push them. I hope that when they are older, they will have developed more self-control and we will be able to eat out as a family without incident. But until then, my husband and I enjoy our well-behaved kids’ discount by dropping the kids off with the grandparents and getting a table for two.
It’s better than ordering the kids hamburgers with a side of Benadryl.