@keesl: No offence, but where are you eating?!
I eat out a lot at a range of restaurants and can honestly say I have never been disturbed by a loud, drunk adult, and have never seen someone wet themselves… The times I’ve been disturbed it’s without exception been children. However, if I did feel someone was too loud/drunk, and they were disturbing my meal, I would complain, and it is very likely they would be spoken to. The same does not happen with children in my experience; people are hesitant to complain because of the inevitable sh*t storm that will ensue when the irresponsible, selfish parents allowing their child to misbehave in the first place are asked to actually (gasp!) parent.
I get particularly frustrated when we are disturbed by children as we make an effort to eat at times when children should really not be there: for example, a week night at 9pm. Children should really not be up at that time full-stop in my opinion, and certainly not on a school night. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect that children would not be there at that time.
I am extremely courteous, and I am not someone who expects to never encounter a child; but in my opinion, some places are simply not appropriate for small children, and parents should exercise courtesy and common sense.
If I go to a water park, or theme park, or the zoo, or certain restaurants, or to a matinee performance at the theatre, I expect to see children. I go knowing that there might be children getting excitable, babies crying, etc.
If however I go to a weeknight evening performance at the theatre, or a high-class restaurant, or am dining out at 9pm on a school night, no, I don’t expect to see children; and yes, I WILL get annoyed, and comment on their behaviour and the idiocy of their parents. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
Some parents these days seem to think they can have it all, and that they are somehow ‘owed’ something by society. Well here’s a wake up call: you can’t have it all. If you chose to have children, you should have been prepared to make some of the sacrifices that come with it.
And let’s think about this rationally: it’s not like being a parent means you can never eat at certain restuarants again, or never go to the ballet or the opera; it just means that you have to organise a baby sitter, or choose restaurants that are family friendly, or go to the weekend matinee performance rather than the weeknight evening one. Those to my mind are pretty small sacrifices; yet it seems that increasingly parents are not prepared to make even those small allowances, instead believing that everyone else should bend over backwards to accommodate their children 24/7. As I said in my first post, it is, quite frankly, utterly ridiculous.