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Parents Slammed For Letting 4-Year-Old ‘Explore’ A Busy Restaurant—Then Leaving A Bad Tip

Parenting can be exhausting, especially when your child is young, hyper, and not easily controlled. However, it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re acting appropriately in public and removing them from the situation if they’re not. Unfortunately, a dad who wrote in to Slate’s “Parent & Feeding” column this week didn’t seem to get the memo.

The man, who signed his letter as “It’s Hard for a 4-Year-Old to Sit Still,” explained that while he and his wife were out to dinner with their toddler, they let him “explore” the restaurant since the boy doesn’t like sitting still. Understandably, this caused major issues with the staff, who couldn’t do their jobs properly thanks to the wandering child.

While most parents would be apologetic and immediately realize the error of their ways, the dad doubles down in his letter, revealing that not only did he reduce the tip of the waitress for “giving [their son] the hairy eyeball” and telling him to go sit down, but he also spoke to her manager in an attempt to get her in trouble.

To make matters worse, he even posted about the situation on Facebook and was shocked by the “judgy responses” he received.

Nicole Cliff, who runs the advice column, was having none of this dad’s nonsense, however, and wrote him a scathing response, admonishing him for his rude and rather clueless behavior.

“Yeah, this is your fault. It’s hugely your fault. Of course it’s hard for a 4-year-old to sit still, which is why people usually stick to fast-dining establishments while working on restaurant manners,” she wrote. “It’s why one parent usually responds to a fidgety kid who wants to ‘explore’ by taking him outside the restaurant, where he can get his wiggles out while not taking laps around servers precariously carrying trays of (often extremely hot) food and drink.”

She continued: “A kid ‘exploring’ a restaurant is not a thing. When you did intervene, it wasn’t to get him back in his seat. It was just to instruct him to “stop running.” You weren’t parenting, so a server did it for you. She was right. You were wrong.”

“Your son is not ready to eat at a medium-nice restaurant again until he is capable of behaving a little better. You can practice at home. You can practice at McDonald’s. You can try a real restaurant again with the understanding that one of you may need to take him out when he starts getting the urge to run an obstacle course.”

Cliff ends her response by urging the father to “return the restaurant, apologize to the manager for complaining about your server, and leave her a proper tip.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the story quickly made the rounds on Twitter as well, prompting outrage at the entitlement of the letter writer. Something tells me he won’t change his ways anytime soon, unfortunately.