If you replace the word "kids" with literally any other demographic of people in most of the replies in this thread, you'll see what I mean about respect.
Nobody here would reasonably advocate the physical assault of or total control over any entire group of people. Same with children. Kids, like every other human being, crave autonomy, respect, and compassion, but most of society believes that they should neither receive or deserve any of that.
Yeah. Seth and I have great kids. My son, and I assume Seth's as well, is very respectful in public and private. And, while Noah is in no way "controlled" by us, he is easily corrected. This is because we treat him with the same respect we would anyone else. Part of that respect is that we've always been aware of and attended to his needs.
Children throw tantrums because they need something and can't express themselves. They have no control over their lives or actions, and many parents do nothing to help them. Instead parents punish, discipline, scold, or ignore. It never occurs to most people to help their child fill the need, identify what they're feeling, and learn a better way to express themselves. And that's most definitely more work than yelling. Trevor and I have made a conscious and dedicated effort to do this. So has Seth. That's why our kids are "good".
If parents respected their children as people instead of viewing them as little things needing to be controlled like a puppet or trained like a show dog, I think we'd see a lot less of these incidents. But our society views children as less than, so instead it's become praise worthy to allow unstable people to berate them publicly.
This is all true, and I am NOT a parent. That said, I think it is also important to remember that children also need to learn boundaries, limits, and to learn to respect authority, as well as others. You sound like an attentive parent based on your description, so my issues are not with parents like you. Nor am I advocating treating kids like things, or to be "seen, not heard." That is obviously not healthy, either.
My issue is with parents who are inattentive, or literally have an attitude of "F You" to the world, and their kids can do what they want, when they want, and to hell with anyone who wants to say something to their kid, or to them. The parents in this story are exactly the type of parents I am talking about. In that situation, they should have immediately removed the kid to calm him/her down, and if that did not work, get the food to go. Or better yet, how about not be a cheap ass, and hire a baby sitter, if they want to go out for dinner?
Now, I am not defending someone who gets up in a baby's face and screams at the baby for making noise, but by the same token, I think when multiple customers complain, the business owner or manager has both an obligation and the right to refuse service to parents who refuse to get a handle on an unruly kid. No screaming on the part of the business owner or manager needs to happen, but they should be allowed to eject said parents for no other reason than to ensure their other customers have a good experience.
For example, Harkins Imax theaters have (fairly recently) instituted a zero tolerance policy on movie goers who have noisy children, cause noise themselves, or are on smart phones, and if said people don't comply, an usher will warn them. If said people still don't comply, they are asked to leave the theater. In fact, prior to each movie playing, they send a manager out to explain this policy to the audience, and most of the time, to the delight of a large part of that audience. People are sick and tired of going out and spending a lot of money and wanting to have a good time, only to have it spoiled by a few bad apples, or people who fail to discipline their bad-behaving children. And I think it is about time, past due in fact, that more businesses institute similar policies.
Here's what we did:
1. At home, tantrums resulted in him being put in his room until he decided to throw said tantrum, and he was ignored outside of being told he couldn't leave his room.
2. In public, such behavior resulted in immediate removal to our car with one of us.
ALL KIDS throw tantrums. It's not because kid are ****ty, it's because developmentally, that's what they do because they don't have the tools to communicate or deal with emotions yet and it's frustrating. Some kids are most definitely worse than others.
That said, other people shouldn't have to put up with it so you remove them.
The former Mrs. Driver/Tank and I had a lot of solo meals while the other waited in a car. But it worked. Most times, he was excited to be at a restaurant so the threat of removal often made him chill out.
Such events happened every now and then for a few years, then they stopped.
No whacking was ever required and he's very well behaved and adjusted now. No restaurant managers ever yelled at us. Any dirty looks thrown our way were brief when they realized we were going to rectify the problem.
And this is exactly what I am saying needs to happen. I am not sure if you learned how to do this on your own (to be sure, with the help of your ex-wife, and I assume your current s/o), or if you guys researched this, but Driver you have a very thoughtful and well-planned way to raise your child, and if other people who fail to actually raise their kids to be respectful of others did half as much as you do, it would go a long way. This is very praiseworthy.
I was raised in a different era, and I DID get whacked, so knowing how that feels, I would never advocate that.