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Redwinger

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Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Redwinger » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:15 pm

We "belong" to a Dinner Club that rotates to a different host each month. Traditionally this has been an adults only gathering, but lately two or three of the couples have asked the host if kids (generally ages 6-14) were invited. (They don't ask when we host because i'm sure they know the answer to that stupid question). I've talked to a couple of other people in the group and they are less than enthusiastic about including kids, but unlike me, are too polite to tell the people to leave the kids at home. The cost of a sitter is not a financial hardship on any of us and since we meet the same weekend each month, pre-planning arrangements for the kids should be doable.

I'm flabbergasted that people have the b@lls to even ask if kids are OK at what is, and has always been, and adult-only function. To even ask, puts the host in an awkward position IMO. What do you think?
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Mark Lipton » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:25 pm

Redwinger wrote:We "belong" to a Dinner Club that rotates to a different host each month. Traditionally this has been an adults only gathering, but lately two or three of the couples have asked the host if kids (generally ages 6-14) were invited. (They don't ask when we host because i'm sure they know the answer to that stupid question). I've talked to a couple of other people in the group and they are less than enthusiastic about including kids, but unlike me, are too polite to tell the people to leave the kids at home. The cost of a sitter is not a financial hardship on any of us and since we meet the same weekend each month, pre-planning arrangements for the kids should be doable.

I'm flabbergasted that people have the b@lls to even ask if kids are OK at what is, and has always been, and adult-only function. To even ask, puts the host in an awkward position IMO. What do you think?


Having been on both sides of that situation now, Bill, I can say that it speaks to a lack of sensitivity on the part of those asking if they haven't figured out the nature of those events. Back when Jean and I were childless and hosting various social functions, some of our friends from time to time would ask whether their children were welcome. Our response would vary depending on the nature of the event, and when the answer was "no" we would typically respond that we didn't think that the event was particularly suited for children. Since we are now parents, we now confront this question when we get invitations. At times, we won't even ask and just hire a babysitter, as we will enjoy the event more without Andrew in tow; at other times we'll ask if we are genuinely uncertain. It isn't exactly rocket science to figure out whether a given event is really suited for your child, though. :roll:

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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:46 pm

This is a big pet peeve of mine, and I have been on both sides of the issue. I have seen parents bring young, bratty kids to weddings when the invites clearly said, "adults only!" When we did more entertaining, and had children, we hosted large parties. One was a back to school party, always in Sept. after school had started. Guests were asked to dress up, I got out the best china, crystal and cooked an elegant dinner. Someone would always ask if they could bring the kids, even though the invitation said, adults only. I was not shy about saying no. I have observed that today, some folks don't seem to read or listen to what was written or spoken, and I am still not shy about speaking up. For what it is worth, my daughter in law was in a female only dinner group, adults only. It went fine for a couple of years, then one or two husbands got tired of taking care of the kids one night a month. So, some ladies started bringing kids. The group has since broken up and it is a shame because the ladies all loved it.
I have also observed that couples are less likely to get a sitter today, no one seems to trust anyone, much less taking the time to get to know your neighbors and their baby sitting age children. I don't know of any teens in our circle of friends who have actually baby-sat. They don't have to....the parents give them everything they want. Many don't even do chores at home.

Oh and a funny story...once a mother asked if she could bring her kids to our adult dinner because she did not entertain the way I did and she wanted her kids exposed to the event, so they could learn how to act, and sit quietly at the table. I looked her straight in the eyes and with a smile on my face said, "if you have not taught your children how to behave at the table, please do not start teaching them at my table." :evil:
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:16 pm

RW, My 'take' is that the parents are looking for ways to expose their children to grown-up experiences and, for that much, I applaud them. However, it is not appropriate to ask it of you in this setting because it is a group event, not yours. The question should have gone to the group at large.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:10 pm

Jeff
That was indeed a similar thought to my own.
With the right kids (or perhaps more appropriately the right parents!) this could indeed work. Indeed the Italian culture treats it as normal and it's a very rare sight indeed to see an Italian child playing up at the dinner table.
However for many cultures, children are brought up in a manner where they feel the need to be difficult just to be noticed. In such instances it can be a real battle as the kids react badly to being told off, so come back for more just because they got recognition by being told off.

I'm very much in favour of children eating at the dining table with others and indeed being given the chance to sample wine or beer along with their food. It is crazy though, to throw them into such an event without grwoing into it beforehand. They've also got to want to be there themselves, seeing it as an interesting and 'grown up' event that they'd like to be part of. With the right children (and without the wrong ones!) it can indeed work very well with everyone enjoying it. It also can give the adults a chance to let their hair down with a post meal game particularly if the child knows that game. Sometimes we need to relax and 'grow down' occasionally!

As a compromise, what about a once a year get-together with kids involved as well, where you do something like a murder mystery (including dressing up). Something a little simpler on the food & drink perhaps, but an opportunity to acknowledge that the kids can be involved (and that some parents would like their kids to be there). It might also allow you to observe the nature of the children, such that if they're of the right mindset, that they might well justify an invite to the regular crowd.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Lou Kessler » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:07 pm

I'm with Karen on this one totally. Our children are all adults now so we don't try to bring any of our grandchildren along to adults only parties. Holiday parties such as Thanksgiving, Xmas, 4th of July, etc, have always included the children in our family without having to be mentioned.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Mark Lipton » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:19 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:I'm very much in favour of children eating at the dining table with others and indeed being given the chance to sample wine or beer along with their food. It is crazy though, to throw them into such an event without grwoing into it beforehand. They've also got to want to be there themselves, seeing it as an interesting and 'grown up' event that they'd like to be part of. With the right children (and without the wrong ones!) it can indeed work very well with everyone enjoying it. It also can give the adults a chance to let their hair down with a post meal game particularly if the child knows that game. Sometimes we need to relax and 'grow down' occasionally!


I am with you 100%, Ian. From an early age, we have taught Andrew how to behave at restaurants and at others' houses, and as a consequence we have been able to dine happily with him at very good restaurants here in the US and in New Zealand and Australia without undue anxiety. That being said, we are still quite acutely sensitive to not inflicting him on others unless there is the tacit or explicit invitation to bring him. Some dear friends who invite us occasionally to dinner are not particularly interested in the company of an 8 year old, so we will engage a babysitter (sorry, Karen, but here in the Midwest kids still babysit fairly routinely) when we get an invitation from them.

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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:20 pm

am with you 100%, Ian. From an early age, we have taught Andrew how to behave at restaurants and at others' houses, and as a consequence we have been able to dine happily with him at very good restaurants here in the US and in New Zealand and Australia without undue anxiety. That being said, we are still quite acutely sensitive to not inflicting him on others unless there is the tacit or explicit invitation to bring him. Some dear friends who invite us occasionally to dinner are not particularly interested in the company of an 8 year old, so we will engage a babysitter (sorry, Karen, but here in the Midwest kids still babysit fairly routinely) when we get an invitation from them.

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I am sure they do Mark. I know there must be kids who baby-sit out here in the west, as well. I just never see it or hear of it anymore. Kids won't even work at the local burger joints anymore. They prefer the coffee shops and higher end restaurants. I also do not see the manners, politeness and willingness of today's teens that our kids had. There are too many families who have both parents working, with no time to cook much less teach some life skills.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:06 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:
I am sure they do Mark. I know there must be kids who baby-sit out here in the west, as well. I just never see it or hear of it anymore. Kids won't even work at the local burger joints anymore. They prefer the coffee shops and higher end restaurants. I also do not see the manners, politeness and willingness of today's teens that our kids had. There are too many families who have both parents working, with no time to cook much less teach some life skills.


Interesting that this was brought up. When our daughter was smaller, we had a terrible time finding babysitters for her. Some of this had to do with our neighborhood. She was one of the few children on the block at that time. There were one or two older girls who babysat for us once or twice, but it became obvious early on that they weren't really interested in it and we gave up on them pretty quickly. (In one case, we found out that the girl in question had gone out of town the evening we had asked her to sit without telling us. That nearly cost us a couple of $50 concert tickets.) We were pretty desperate for babysitters for years. Things have changed now, my daughter is 14, and there are a bunch of kids here that are in the 1 - 6 year old range. Isabella has started babysitting for these kids and should have a pretty good lock on the business for some time to come. I don't understand why more kids her age don't do this.

As for the supper, it's always a good idea to find out whether kids are welcome prior to trying to bring them to something like that. If they're not, then it's up to you to either find a way to have them taken care of while you go or to send your regrets and stay home for the evening.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Bill Spohn » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:22 am

Any such suggestion would be scotched at once in my circle with a prompt 'No!". And followed on my part by saying that I wouldn't be attending any adult oriented event that did include children. Why do these people even ask?
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:47 pm

Isabella has started babysitting for these kids and should have a pretty good lock on the business for some time to come. I don't understand why more kids her age don't do this.


Beautiful name you gave your girl Mike. When we were raising our three, we encouraged them to start earning money for things they wanted at an early age. We told them our family was a team, we did things together including work. They helped us with yard work, etc. I took each one of them through a first aid class, then a baby-sitting class our local hospital offers twice a year. They were all baby-sitting for neighborhood children by the time they were 12. The boys also did yard work for neighbors. One son had a paper route for two years. All three got good jobs while in high school and summers. No one got into trouble, they did not have time for foolish things. They got their own cars by 17 years of age and paid for their insurance. I taught our daughter to iron and she got a job doing the shirts for a neighborhood doctor. She was so busy, she had to hire a girlfriend to assist her. They also did their sport of choice...our daughter was a skater and swam. The boys did tennis, swimming and basketball. All of it was done for fun and exercise although our daughter did skate competitively. We guided them the best we could, could have done better in some areas, but all and all they are happy and good citizens. What more can parents ask?

Actually, the baby-sitting taught them a lot.They got to see how other folks lived, kept or not kept up their homes, bratty kids, good kids, kids with parents who cared and those who did not. It was an eye opener for them and one of the best life lessons they could have gotten for that period in their lives. Kids who do not work today, are missing out and learning nothing. Many are getting into trouble.
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Jenise » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:33 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Ian Sutton wrote:I'm very much in favour of children eating at the dining table with others and indeed being given the chance to sample wine or beer along with their food. It is crazy though, to throw them into such an event without grwoing into it beforehand. They've also got to want to be there themselves, seeing it as an interesting and 'grown up' event that they'd like to be part of. With the right children (and without the wrong ones!) it can indeed work very well with everyone enjoying it. It also can give the adults a chance to let their hair down with a post meal game particularly if the child knows that game. Sometimes we need to relax and 'grow down' occasionally!


I am with you 100%, Ian. From an early age, we have taught Andrew how to behave at restaurants and at others' houses, and as a consequence we have been able to dine happily with him at very good restaurants here in the US and in New Zealand and Australia without undue anxiety.


Ian expressed things well for me, too. As for Andrew, one of the distinct advantages for him of being an only child is that with mostly adult company at home you acquire social skills faster than kids in multi-child families, and as a singleton you can more easily be accomodated at the dining room table at other people's homes the way you might not be if you are one of three or four. Not that I had kids or was an only child myself, but it's pretty clear from watching the dynamics of friends with kids, many of whom come over often with their children. But they usually ask first if I don't make it clear enough that whatever it is we're doing is adult-only or a family event. We like the kids and plan a number of sunny summer day things to deliberately include them.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Mark Lipton » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:05 pm

Jenise wrote:Ian expressed things well for me, too. As for Andrew, one of the distinct advantages for him of being an only child is that with mostly adult company at home you acquire social skills faster than kids in multi-child families, and as a singleton you can more easily be accomodated at the dining room table at other people's homes the way you might not be if you are one of three or four. Not that I had kids or was an only child myself, but it's pretty clear from watching the dynamics of friends with kids, many of whom come over often with their children. But they usually ask first if I don't make it clear enough that whatever it is we're doing is adult-only or a family event. We like the kids and plan a number of sunny summer day things to deliberately include them.


I'm certain that your observation is correct in many cases, Jenise, as averse as I am to broad generalizations (as opposed to generalizations about broads). As an only child myself, I know that I was trained to set tables, make salads and coffee and serve food from a fairly early age and wanted to mingle in adult company, viewing it as a badge of honor (which, in retrospect, it was). And we see it with our own friends, most of whom have multiple children. In a surprising (for me) number of cases, the parents dine at a separate table from the children at social events. While that makes perfect sense with large groups, I find it weird when the total number of people involved is 8 or less. Frankly, if we didn't want to socialize with Andrew, we'd get a babysitter and leave him at home, but as two working parents we don't get that much quality time with him to begin with, so our free time on weekends is rather precious.

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Re: Dinner Club...Is it OK if I bring my kids?

by Jenise » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:29 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Jenise wrote:Ian expressed things well for me, too. As for Andrew, one of the distinct advantages for him of being an only child is that with mostly adult company at home you acquire social skills faster than kids in multi-child families, and as a singleton you can more easily be accomodated at the dining room table at other people's homes the way you might not be if you are one of three or four. Not that I had kids or was an only child myself, but it's pretty clear from watching the dynamics of friends with kids, many of whom come over often with their children. But they usually ask first if I don't make it clear enough that whatever it is we're doing is adult-only or a family event. We like the kids and plan a number of sunny summer day things to deliberately include them.


I'm certain that your observation is correct in many cases, Jenise, as averse as I am to broad generalizations (as opposed to generalizations about broads). As an only child myself, I know that I was trained to set tables, make salads and coffee and serve food from a fairly early age and wanted to mingle in adult company, viewing it as a badge of honor (which, in retrospect, it was). And we see it with our own friends, most of whom have multiple children. In a surprising (for me) number of cases, the parents dine at a separate table from the children at social events. While that makes perfect sense with large groups, I find it weird when the total number of people involved is 8 or less. Frankly, if we didn't want to socialize with Andrew, we'd get a babysitter and leave him at home, but as two working parents we don't get that much quality time with him to begin with, so our free time on weekends is rather precious.

Mark Lipton


You mean there's room for the kids at the adult table, but the children are still kept separate? That I've not seen; strikes me as odd unless the children truly preferred it that way, or for whatever reason were eating a separate meal. As one of four, I was no stranger to kiddie tables myself but really hated it; would have much preferred to sit with the adults.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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