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Should Restaurants Give Discounts for Well-Behaved Children?

One restaurant in Washington did, but some people say it just rewards people for behaving how they should.

An Italian restaurant in Poulsbo, Wash. made the news recently when it took $4 off the bill of family dining there because the children were well behaved.

According to Fox News, the mom posted the receipt on Reddit with a note that reportedly said  “If only all restaurants did this for people with kids.” She added that not only did she get a discount for her well-behaved kids, but the server also gave them a free bowl of ice cream to share. Fox News reports that the children were ages 2, 3 and 8. The mother reportedly said that she teaches her children that they don’t need crayons and iPads to prevent them from being an unpleasant distraction for other patrons – she encourages conversation between them instead.

The mother reportedly got some positive response to her family’s good fortune, but also those who complained that it was ridiculous to expect a discount just for behaving like you’re supposed to behave.

So what do think? Would it be a good idea for restaurants to give discounts to families with children who behave, or would that be unfair to people without children? Is it wrong to reward behavior that is expected anyway?

John B February 10, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Tammy: We lived in a very different culture when we were kids. Parenting was pretty much the same and most kids were respectful because it was expected...or else! Problem today is good behavior is the aberration and bad behavior quintessential...that's ass backwards....that's why I said in an earlier post that we are circling the drain if we need to reward good behavior that should be expected.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Yep. You are right! And it's what's wrong with our culture today.
Beth February 10, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Good behavior should be expected and not rewarded. Hitting a child should not be accepted either. So many other ways to discipline without having to hit a child that hurts alot worse. I know....it takes being consistant and patient and alot of parents don't take the time to discipline in the correct way and we wonder why there is so much violence in children today. By no way am I a liberal either so don't start screaming that!
the Big I.D February 10, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Then you would have been an even better person if he had only beaten you more, or more severely. I guess if he had just taken you all the way out, you would have been perfect.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Beth, some children never need spanking, but there are some who do. There is an appropriate way to do it and a time and place for it. My kids probably had very few spankings in their entire lives due to my having done it early enough with the right amount of everything else they needed. I had one child who had only one in her life because she was so compliant and had a sensitive conscience. My son, it never worked because I think he grew callouses on his hide so I found something else that worked beautifully. One though, was so strong willed that spanking was the only thing that calmed her down. It was if she got herself so out of control that it comforted her to know that someone else was bigger and in control. She is now a pastor's wife, and still strong willed, but a bulldog for the right things. lol Each child is different and you have to find what works for them individually. But by no means use spanking as a one size fits all (like my parents did), but don't discount it or throw it out either (which is what's wrong in society now). I think that's the key - know your child and what works and be consistent.
Marne M February 10, 2013 at 06:25 PM
The restaurant can choose to do whatever they like, but I agree with the earlier posters who have said that good behavior should be expected and not rewarded. That said, I try to make it a point never to judge other people on their parenting skills. You never know what kind of day a particular parent has had, or what they might be dealing with in their lives at the time you see them in a restaurant, or at a store, or anywhere else. Nor do I know the circumstances of the particular child. Maybe they are mentally challenged in some way I don't know about. I have three children. I do my best to discipline them and instill good manners and good behavior, and I correct them when they misbehave. However, I would hate it if people were to judge me only by my worst parenting moments. By and large, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that people are doing the best that they can with the resources they have.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 06:31 PM
John B. I have worked with kids who should have been appropriately disciplined earlier in life. Kid never got a spanking, yet beats the hell out of his mother and dares anyone to lay a hand on him. Can't blame his violence on the spanking at that point because according to his mom, he never got one (she "reasoned" with him). I don't buy that argument at all. You reason with them after they understand the line of authority in the home and that the one in charge loves them and wants what is best for them at any cost. Better a little temporary pain on the bottom than all the pain they feel from having crossed lines in society while sitting in a jail cell (because they nver got a clear understanding of boundaries). .
John B February 10, 2013 at 06:54 PM
yup...no doubt. I learned those lessons, boundaries at an early age and it was quite effective.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Marne - we have all had those parenting moments. Lord knows, I did. I've walked out of many a grocery store or restaurant with a kid under my arm and two dragging behind - lolol. I was in a restaurant once where some kids apparently needed a nap, and the owner asked them if they'd like a different table in a more private place and also that they would save the table if they needed to step outside for some air. I think the restaurant can help tremendously by being compassionate while still being considerate of others. But having said that, I think it becomes obvious at some point which are having a bad day and which are having a day that is the norm (oblivious parents vs parents that look frustrated). I think that's where the lines can and should be drawn by the owner of the restaurant. It can be done with tact and grace. I'd hate to be in their shoes, though - lol.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew February 10, 2013 at 09:43 PM
It’s a business decision to do so, just like some establishments offer a cash discount to make a sale. Besides, considering the indirect and sometimes direct expense the little terror types can cause, having good children present improves overhead cost numbers. Creating an incentive for and return of cost effective clientele, it’s all just a good niche business.
Steach February 10, 2013 at 09:51 PM
It is not that one should expect to be rewarded for doing right, but don't we all appreciate an encouraging "atta boy" here and there?
Mr. B February 10, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Wow Tammy. Your father actually struck you? Today, that would get you arrested for abuse and the kid would learn the valuable lesson that they can get away from anything. My kids didn't get too many spankings. The first one or two was enough to remember. When my youngest was about 17, a highly recruited high school athlete, cute kid with all the girls chasing him and all the guys wanting to be his friend, he challenged me one night when I refused to let him leave the house and hang out at the mall. I invited him to join me at the gym and put on boxing gloves with the winner making all the rules from then on. He turned down the opportunity because he knew that killing me was the only way I would lose. He apologized and we never had another problem. Now, with kids of his own and a wife that believes time-outs are the best punishment for kids, he complains to me how out of control his kids are. Oh well.
Darcey Bailey February 10, 2013 at 10:28 PM
I think there is a clear line between a child who is misbehaving and a child who is a "problem child" - ALL kids will misbehave from time to time. That's part of being a child and growing up. I think we've all had those days as parents where you were somewhere with your child and you wanted to crawl into a hole because of something they did or said. However, that's when they are toddlers. Once they hit 7-8 years old there really is no excuse for some of this behavior. I think the key is the parents. When I know my son is in a bad mood or not feeling good I don't try to take him out to dinner. We will pick something up if we want take out food that bad and eat at home. But you have to know your own kids. If they are tired or hungry they may act up more. So just DON'T try to take them to places like that. But - you also have to take into account kids that may have ADHD, Autism, etc. It really is a grey area. Depends on the behavior.
Mack February 10, 2013 at 10:37 PM
@ Mr. B When my daughter was about 15 and WE talked to her she stated that if we did anything to her that she would call the police and have us arrested. Told her when she did that she better not be here when i go home. She called, Police came. She told the Police to arrest me for threating her with a spanking. The Police laughed and told her that there was nothing they could and We could not be arrested for that despite what she heard in school. The only way they could arrest us is if we beat them. That is it and they left. Never had another problem until she left here. Do not believe in 'Time Out" never works. Spanking is the last resort. Worked for us when we were kids and if more parents would use it there may less problems with these kids.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Mr. B, not in the state of Ga. I wish more people would find out what is legal here. A spanking applied to the blessed assurance is not against the law. Beating and leaving bruises (among other things) is. Here is a link: http://kidjacked.com/legal/spanking_law.asp#georgia In my case, I got my butt whooped. Walking into an unfinished wall was my doing - lolol. I'd been hanging around with my friend too long. I'd seen her get away with it so many times and was surprised when my dad didn't agree. But once I realized I was not on Fantasy Island, but MY HOUSE I took off running - right into a wall. LOL
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Actually Mr. B, that was the link to the Georiga section. To read state by stae go here: http://kidjacked.com/legal/spanking_law.asp
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 11:31 PM
You know, until I read all of these replies, I had not thought about how difficult it might be to take an autistic child into public. I work with them and they are very sensitive to noises (so make a few of their own). Wow. I wonder what parents of those kids do? Unfortunately, the general public just isn't all that understanding of kids with disabilities. Maybe restaurants can do as one poster said, divide the restaurant into sections, offering one without kids. That's a thought.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew February 10, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Blessed Assurance... I work along side a few of these - thanks for the new perspective!
stacey jaxon February 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Parents should take control and be responsible for their children.
Tammy Osier February 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM
LOL R, yeah, they'll never know what you're talking about. I'm not sure where the term came from in referring to the hind quarters in such a manner, but I always assumed that it meant that "Bless it, by golly, it is assured that it won't happen again!"
Sharon Swanepoel February 10, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Although I definitely got my share of "whippings" I know I was never physically abused and I was in no doubt that my dad loved me. He died when I was in my 20s and I still miss him. But I also knew that he was the supreme leader in my house and I would never cross him - the whippings were always for when I thought I could slip something by him and got caught. Challenging his authority was just never an option. We respected authority back then. But I'm never quite sure whether it is the fault of the younger generation now that it no longer respects authority or whether the respect was somehow lost by the generation that is now supposed to command it.
Tammy Osier February 11, 2013 at 12:02 AM
That's a good question Sharon - when did the disrespect begin to slip? Amazing that slipperly slopes are just that- just slippery enough that we don't realize what is happening until it's too late.
Tammy Osier February 11, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Mack, I'm with you on the time out crap, but there is one time out that works. When my son grew calluses on his butt and spankings no longer worked, I had to use psychology. I'd had it with him in the grocery store. I told him I was so mad at him that I had to think about his punishment and let him know by 5:00. We got home and I let him go out to play football in the front yard with his friends. But at 5:00, I called him in. He told his friends goodbye, and that's when the psychology began. I told him they didn't have to go home. They didn't get into trouble. I made him sit on a stool at the front window (we had one of those big old fashioned ones) and "watch" his friends play with "his" football as long as they wanted. He cried, pleaded, to no avail. And to rub salt in his wounds, I took "his" box of popsicles out of the freezer and passed them all around to his friends. He was about 10 at the time. What made it worse, is that I only went to the store once a week. He'd have to wait another week to get another box. I was also the mom who at 17, did not park his truck in the driveway. No siree. I DROVE his truck for two weeks. He knew how hard I was on brakes and it was pure torture for him the entire time. Once, I smashed all of his CD's, and he informed me that some of them belonged to his friends. I said, "Well, that'll teach them to loan YOU anything, won't it?" I believe in making kids THINK. lol As my grandmother always said, "There's more than one way to skin a cat!'
jim armstrong February 11, 2013 at 04:56 AM
A good business would be to rent well behaved children to folks who's kids are unable to behave in public, OR provide cages for parents to put their uncontrolled children that are in soundproof rooms, aside from the dining area, no need to feed them, kids don't appreciate grownup food anyhow. OR if other folks complain to the resturant management, the guilty family unable to teach their children what unacceptable behavior is, that they be removed and banned from said resturant until the children are either taught how to behave, or grow up enough to be arrested for disturbing the peace in resturant. nuff said
Ben February 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM
What about the Drunks in the Restaurants also, I have my share of them also,This looks good to the children, who the Parnets are teaching the children to behave. Kids are going to cry in restaurants some times, mine did, but they did not cuss, call out four letter words or say things that the adults say
Harnett Hawkdriver February 11, 2013 at 02:37 PM
This question would not have to be asked if parents "knew" how to conduct themselves in public. Any manager should be open to demand correct behavior or refuse service. There are expected behavior norms for all public places. If you allow your kids act like your at Chucky Cheese when your at a "real" resturant then someone needs to demonstrate proper social habits to them.
Good Grief Y'all February 11, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Restaurants should do what works for them. On physical discipline, if spanking your child doesn't hurt you more to do it than it does the child to receive it, you probably shouldn't do it. When corporal punishment is carried out with anger, it's more about the parent's embarrassment and control than teaching the child a lesson or making them stop the bad behavior. Time-outs do work, so does distraction toward a new and more positive object or activity, for a toddler. Using the same discipline or punishment every time becomes ineffective. So do threats not carried out. There are also times, for a young child, when a spanking by hand and not an object may be necessary, but this should only be a last resort (and not done while angry) or when safety is the main issue. The last thing society needs is for more bullies to be created. When I see a parent snatch a child by the arm, hit, yell or curse at them in public, I wonder how much worse the child gets it at home. Love, patience, reason and time are the cornerstones of good parenting, in my experience.
Karsten Torch February 11, 2013 at 04:54 PM
The restaurant can do as it sees fit, IMO. That includes kicking people out with unruly children, or even banning kids under 10 (or some other arbitrary age, whatever) if it wants. That being said, it does seem kind of sad that rewarding expected behaviour is starting to be expected. I would agree with being able to charge more for bad parenting examples, but that's not always feasible. How can you really charge somebody over the menu price? So...you start to reward the behaviour that is desired. Simple psychology. Want the discount? Teach your kids how to act. Mine has been being taken to restaurants since she was very very little, and bad behaviour has never been accepted, so she actually behaves correctly in restaurants. Pretty simple, if you ask me. As for punishments, I think it depends on the kid. Mine you can spank until your hand falls off, she gets worse. You have to take things away from her. Me, when I was little, hated getting spanked, but you could take everything away from me and put me in a corner for hours, and I could successfully find a ball of lint to play with and entertain myself. Used to drive my dad nuts. So, I'm not against spankings, as long as it actually helps you achieve your goal in the end and isn't just a vent for your personal frustrations....
Rosemary Cantrell February 11, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Obviously a hot topic! In this case, the policy was not to always reward well behaved children. These children just impressed the manager and he chose to reward them this time. As a rule, good behavior need not be rewarded other than by praise. And it is certainly not the restaurant's responsibility to offer such rewards. At times, it is certainly appropriate for a restaurant to deal with unruly behavior that is disrupting other guests. Parents do indeed have a responsibility to teach their children appropriate manners and behaviors and to require good behavior in public. It starts at home by all eating together, practicing appropriate manners. Like others who commented, I have a very low tolerance for children who misbehave in public - and particularly parents who do not handle such situations promptly and appropriately!
Robbi McCaig February 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Are you kidding? This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. The parent/s of bratty children think their kids are angels. The decision to reward "good" kids is subjective and thus open to all kinds of charges. It would be kind of fun, though, to have the patrons of the restaurants vote on those families with those kids.

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