Family pubs are a godsend, especially when they have a spacious beer garden and provide dishes your kids might (miraculously) want to eat.
But while at one such pub with her kids, one Australian mum spotted two children from another family using iPads – and wasn’t happy about it at all.
Writing on Kidspot, Donné Restom recalled how her own children became distracted by the devices, which made her “really, really mad”:
“They’re no longer interested in playing anymore and they’ve stopped caring about dinner,” she wrote.
“All they care about is those bloody screens shining in the middle of the beer garden.”
She eventually pulled her children away – after which, tantrums ensued.
“My initial reaction was to judge – and judge harshly – the woman that brought those screens into the pub,” she wrote.
“‘Stop it!’ I screamed in my head. ‘Stop dulling your children with these f**king devices just because it’s easier!’
“In the short term those screens may quieten our children, they’ll sit still and behave and eat dinner without a fight.
“But they’re not present or engaged AT ALL. You’re turning them into zombies because it’s an easy way out. STOP!”
And once it was posted on Kidspot’s Facebook page, it sparked a fierce parenting debate online: is it really fair to criticise another parent on how they choose to entertain their kids?
“If you had to leave a restaurant or bistro because YOUR KIDS were so unruly they wouldn’t leave other kids alone, that is not the other mum’s problem,” one Facebook user wrote.
Another said: “That was infuriating to read. You are the problem in this story.”
One mum encouraged the writer to see things from another perspective:
“And I’m the mum who would have been annoyed because my kids would see your kids having ‘a bite of dinner then running off to play then coming back for a nibble’ because I make my kids sit and finish their meal before they go play,” she wrote.
“And the point? Deal with your own kids and stop worrying about how other people parent their kids…. none of your business! Same as your kids running around would be none of mine!”
Others, however, have said they feel similarly about kids using technology:
“How awesome is going to the pub with kids – I remember when I was a kid how fun it was because you got to play, make up games with other kids, eat, watch mum and dad looking relaxed and having a good time,” one commenter said.
“Where the hell does an iPad fit into all this awesome pub dining? It simply does not!”
And others have agreed about using technology in this way – but don’t necessarily think it’s right to criticise another parent for their choices.
“Wow… I hate kids on iPads in public places,” wrote one mum. “I think they are missing out on so much.
“I also might silently be judging your parenting, but, the key word is SILENTLY.”
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