Half-naked children in restaurants?

While out to dinner at Olive Garden tonight, we noticed something odd at another table. There was a family out to dinner, with two girls. They appeared to be about ages 2 and 5. Both girls had removed their shirts. The parents had obviously noticed, but they were allowing their children to stay in their state of undress, acting like half-naked children are a regular occurance in a restaurant, and didn’t make them put their shirts back on until they were leaving. My friend and I were of the opinion that that is completely inappropriate in that setting.

Do you think we were being too harsh?

My parents never fail to remind me that, when I was very young, I took my dress off in a restaurant when they stopped paying attention to me for a minute, but my scandalized mother made me put it back on immediately. These parents seemed fine with it.

Yes, the parents should have made the children re-dress. It’s not appropriate for anyone of any age or sex to be topless in a resturant.

It’s never too early to start teaching manners.

[Predictable retort involving gorgeous female celebrity]![/Predictable retort involving gorgeous female celebrity]

I asked a similar question here a few years ago after I saw a woman carrying a child wearing only a diaper in Fleet Farm. Dopers (including parents) pretty much agreed with my assessment of it as “trashy.” When we’re out in public, we wear clothes.

Bad taste.
When my children where younger and we had spaghetti off went the shirts. They knew that and it got to the point where on sketti nights they would take off their own shirts.
But this was at home. And not when company was around.
If the children did this on their own because it was a normal thing the parents should have had them put their shirts back on and explained the difference.

While I am strongly in favor of everyone being dressed in public, I would be slightly less bothered in a retail setting than in a restaurant. I would hope there were extenuating circumstances such as 105º in the shade.

It seems to me to point to a method of parenting that I see more and more which can barely be called parenting. “If we tell them to put their shirts on they might cry, adn we don’t like it when they cry therefore they don’t have to get dressed. And no, we don’t care if it makes other patrons uncomfortable. This dinner out is about US.”

Totally inappropriate.

You wear clothes when you’re out in public. Isn’t it a health code thing, too? A “no shirt, no service” sort of thing?

Thank god they had them put their clothes on as they were leaving. That could’ve been messy.

wistful sigh

If only, if only…

In my opinion, you weren’t harsh enough. I’d have mentioned to them that if they’re that concerned about stains, there are some wonderful laundry products out these days.

There is *never * a good reason for *anyone * to be shirtless in a restaurant. Even if they don’t care about simple decorum, it’s dangerous. Restaurants tend to be full of hot things.

In a restaurant? Absolutely not. Clothing, please, and this coming from a hippie mama who takes her kids along to clothing optional campgrounds!

A quick (I mean quick!) run into the grocery store for one item? Well, I might consider it, but I’d feel awfully Britney doing it. And, frankly, everything around here is so highly air conditioned in the summer that even if it is 105 outside, you’d probably freeze your little baby belly without a shirt inside!

At home, the baby’s shirt is often off at dinner, just because it is easier and quicker to clean - bathtime immediately follows dinner time. But I’ve never allowed it out, nor has she tried to take it off when we’re out. Kids totally get situational appropriateness (sometimes more than their parents!) and it’s not at all hard to teach “restaurant manners” alongside “home manners” and “Grandma manners”.

I think you’re all very uptight.

Nah. I’ve just raised one kid, worked as a nanny for a few dozen and am working on my second and I’ve learned it’s way easier if you’re consistent about such things. Otherwise you get whining and "But last week at Red Lobster - " attempts to bargain.

I’m not uptight, I’m lazy.

Kids with no shirts? Feh. How about kids with no pants??

A few years ago, I was waiting in a very long drive-thru line at Carl’s Jr., and happened to look over at the jimbouree (or whatever they call that kiddie play structure with all the plastic balls in it) where I noticed a young girl, about 4 years old, who was wearing a small t-shirt…and nothing else. Nada. Naked from the waist down.

There was a pair of adult women on the patio, talking and watching the kids, and it didn’t seem to bother them, nor did they appear to notice…but how could they not?? I thought about shouting out to them, but…well, that’s just an awkward situation.

I do think some people get way too uptight about kids and their (lack of) clothes, but this was going too far.

Now, if she were 15 years older… :wink:

“…awfully Brittney” indeed. that’s going to be my new term for ‘trashy.’

My kids, as babies, were often around the house in just a diaper, or a diaper and teeshirt. It was easier for me and cooler for them. But I always dressed them if we were going out. It may have been only a onesie or creeper if we were just going on a quick shopping trip, but they always had something on up top, and something over the diaper, if we were out in public.

Maybe. I prefer to call it a sense of decorum.

I get more addled when I see Mom put her diapered baby’s butt on the table or counter top.

God, what a bunch of prigs. Who gives a flip about kids that young running around topless? “Ooh, I put a shirt on my baby when I went to a store, that means I’m a good person.”

Words fail me. So :rolleyes:

Well, cut them some slack, it was a very special meal for their wedding reception …

Sorry for the double post. I see **Evil Captor ** already took care of the slack-cutting.

I’m not that uptight about it, but restaurants do have that rule about no shirt, no shoes no service, and I do feel it also applies to children. The server or manager should have addressed it with this family in a kind way.